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Small Gods (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – October 29, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 323 customer reviews
Book 13 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Discworld is an extragavanza--among much else, it has billions of gods. "They swarm as thick as herring roe," writes Terry Pratchett in Small Gods, the 13th book in the series. Where there are gods galore, there are priests, high and low, and... there are novices. Brutha is a novice with little chance to become a priest--thinking does not come easily to him, although believing does. But it is to Brutha that the great god Om manifests, in the lowly form of a tortoise. --Blaise Selby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Surely the best novel Terry Pratchett has ever written, and the best comedy"
-John Clute, "Interzone"
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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 13)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (October 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062237373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062237378
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (323 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The first twelve Discworld books were adolescent affairs, obsessed with corny jokes, screwball plots, and bumbling but lovable characters. Enjoyable treats all, but in retrospect less substantial than they could have been. "Small Gods", to me, is Terry Pratchett's first 'adult' book. The corny jokes, screwball plots, and bumbling but lovable characters are still here, but only to service a narrative soaked in significant themes and obsessed with our place in the multiverse.
For the most part it stands on its own as a complete story. Except for a few notable exceptions (i.e., an appearance by the cousin of Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, a quick cameo by my all-time favourite Disc denizen The Librarian, and a couple of pregnant references to Ankh Morpork), you don't have to be Discworld savvy to follow the story. It's set in the previously unheard of locale of Omnia, where the Quisition, led by Deacon Vorbis (as evil a character as anything Pratchett has put on paper), tortures into its heretical citizenry a belief in the Great God Om. But the central question in the book, the one that drives the plot forward, is this: what happens when belief dissipates, and is replaced by simple routine? Following the rituals of a religion is not really the same as believing in the power and glory of a God.
And on the Discworld it's not like your wanting for Gods to choose from. There are billions of them, and they're all likely to strike you down where you stand if you insult them in any way. Great God Om used to be the greatest of all Gods, but he's fallen on tough times. The brand of belief favoured by Vorbis is not the kind of belief Om needs. He's losing true believers in the process, and has become quite ineffectual.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rough translation: I announce to you with great joy, we have a turtle God. That should have been the announcement that greeted the arrival of the God of the City of Om upon his return to Om. Unfortunately he was greeted by stunned disbelief by his sole remaining true believer. Since the size and power of any God/god on Discworld is directly proportional to the level of belief in each God's by its adherents this god is but a turtle. Out of such co-dependent relationships are small gods and Terry Pratchett's Small Gods made.

Co-dependent seems an apt term in this context. In Small Gods, Pratchett looks at organized religion through the prism of the co-dependant relationship. This theme is set against a backdrop which, if filmed, would have been produced by David Lean and looked remarkably like Lawrence of Arabia. (The Omnian attack on Ephebia and Brutha's trek with Vorbis across the desert between their cities both left me with images of Lawrence's attack on Aqaba and his disastrous trek across the desert with his youthful assistants.) Specifically, Pratchett examines the co-dependency of man and his God(s). Each is entirely co-dependent on the other. The plot, including the hilarious deus ex machina climax, has been well summarized in the product description and in other reviews so I'll confine myself to a few random observations.

No matter how deeply philosophical the underlying theme, the potential reader should know that Pratchett is an excellent writer and capable of some of the funniest lines and paragraphs you are likely to encounter in fiction.
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By A Customer on June 7, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
So maybe I'm biased. I've read all Pratchett's book at least twice. I've got both of the map books, and I even met Pratchett for Gods sakes. But SMALL GODS is, and always will be, my favourite. It doesn't have as much of the in-your-face humour of some of the others in the series, or the sly digs to popular culture (Wyrd Sisters, Moving Pictures) but Small Gods is first and foremost, a satire. Personally, I believe this is where Pratchett hit his creative peak, when he had the perfect balance of characters, wit and imagination. Not to mention a real sense of danger - how many "humorists" can pull that off?
Don't think about it. Small Gods has something to say about belief, friendship, zealotry - the whole nine yards... Kevin Smith's new film DOGMA is trying to cover similar ground, but I doubt it'll be anywhere as insightful or entertaining as this.
Just get it... buy it now, on the cheap, and I'm Cutting Me Own Throat...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Quite simply, Terry Pratchett is the funniest man alive. However, his early books are somewhat coarse, and the later books may confused a newcomer.

Small Gods is an excellent starting point for anyone. The book has new characters, a new plot, and nothing is expected of the reader. Its a wonderful book that will explain everything for someone who's never ventured into the Discworld before. Its also one of the funniest texts around.

Small Gods is also a great books in its seriousness. The book takes a witty look at the perils of making religion too organized - in worshipping the Church rather than the God. It is a book you can read, then mull over for hours - if you didn't break up laughing every two minutes.
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