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Series: Discworld #13
Published by Harper on October 29th 2013
The thirteenth Discworld novel.
Religion is a controversial business in the Discworld. Everyone has their own opinion, and indeed their own gods. Who comes in all shapes and sizes. In such a competitive environment, there is a pressing need to make one's presence felt. And it's certainly not remotely helpful to be reduced to be appearing in the form of a tortoise, a manifestation far below god-like status in anyone's book. In such instances, you need an acolyte, and fast. Preferably one who won't ask too many questions.
The first Terry Pratchett book I ever read was Good Omens, a collaboration with Neil Gaiman (one of my all-time favorite authors). After Good Omens I went on a Gaiman binge and read (almost) everything he’s published. But I never picked up a Pratchett book until a good friend threw his copy at me and demanded I read one.
Small Gods tells the story of unremarkable guy named Brutha, who stumbles upon the Great God Om as a tortoise in the Temple melon garden. Needless to say this is a very interesting little story in the Discworld series. I really enjoyed this story once it got moving. The first 150-200 pages were slow, building the plot slowly but very deliberately. The dialogue between Brutha and Om is fantastic.
“Opened my eyes…my eye…and I was a tortoise.”
“How should I know? I don’t know!” lied the tortoise.
“But you…you’re omnicognisant,” said Brutha.
“That doesn’t mean I know everything.”
Brutha bit his lip. “Um. Yes. It does.”
Pratchett plays on some great themes in Small Gods, and really opens a nice dialogue on theology, philosophy and the misuse of each by mankind. He also asks a pretty big question – what happens to the gods when people stop believing? This story is funny and sharp with its satire, which weaves throughout Pratchett’s impressive storytelling ability.