Monday, July 9, 2012

Small Gods


This thirteenth book in the Discworld series takes on religion, hypocrisy, and the interesting and often disastrous mix of religion and politics.  Although the novel was originally published twenty years ago, the themes are certainly relevant today, and it's nice (particularly as the election year is gearing up to the point that I can barely listen to the radio or watch TV news) to get a laugh instead of wanting to scream and tear my hair out.

In this installment we meet the god Om, whose attempt to physically manifest in the Discworld turns out much differently than he expected.  Instead of a fearsome, powerful being, he finds that he is, in fact, a tortoise with no divine powers to speak of.  The one true believer he finds in the temple turns out to be a simple, honest novice named Brutha.  It takes some convincing for Om to get Brutha to understand that the cranky, bedraggled tortoise speaking in his mind is actually his god, but when Brutha is picked to accompany the powerful (but unbelieving) Vorbis, head of the Quisition, on a diplomatic mission to Ephebe, things really get interesting.

While this book did not feature any of my favorite characters, it was still funny and even moving, without ever being too heavy handed with the satire.  The more I read this series, the more I believe that it will stand the test of time and that Pratchett will list prominently in the ranks of literature's greatest satiric humorists.  The writing is delightful, the characters are believable, with even the most villainous retaining a bit of sympathetic human nature, and the books never fail to make me laugh out loud.

Books in the Discworld series
1. The Color of Magic
2. The Light Fantastic
3. Equal Rites
4. Mort 
5. Sourcery
6. Wyrd Sisters
7. Pyramids 
8. Guards, Guards
9. Eric
10. Moving Pictures
11. Reaper Man
12. Witches Abroad
13. Small Gods
14. Lords and Ladies
15. Men at Arms
16. Soul Music
17. Interesting Times
18. Maskerade
19. Feet of Clay
20. Hogfather
21. Jingo
22. The Last Continent
23. Carpe Jugulum
24. The Fifth Elephant
25. The Truth
26. The Thief of Time
27. The Last Hero
28. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
29. Nightwatch
30. The Wee Free Men
31. Monstrous Regiment
32. A Hat Full of Sky
33. Going Postal
34. Thud
37. Unseen Academicals
39. Snuff

Small Gods (#13 in the Discworld series) by Terry Pratchett; narrated by Nigel Planer (Random House Audiobooks, 2007)

6 comments:

  1. Small Gods is one of the pivotal novels that convinced me Pterry was going to be a major social satirist and not just a writer of comic fantasy. (Others: Hogfather, Night Watch.)

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  2. Curmudgn - I completely agree. They're all good, but there are some that just knock my socks off.

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  3. Ohh, dang it, I thought I'd finally caught up! (I've managed to read Reaper Man finally, did it in two days, it was great.) Guess I've got to get a copy of this soon!

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    1. Do you know what the funny thing is? I actually sat down to write a review of Lords and Ladies, which I recently finished, only to find that I'd never written the review of Small Gods. Heh heh. Glad you liked Reaper Man. I read that last part to my kids after our pet rat died, and it made us all feel a little better! We love the Death of Rats! :-)

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    2. Aw, what a great time to have this book handy. The Death of Rats was definitely one of my top favourite things about Reaper Man! And if you've already read Lords and Ladies, I'd definitely better get cracking...

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    3. Sorry, Kiirstin - I am terrible about checking my "awaiting moderation" comments (but doing it for older comments has really cut down on spam). Yes, you do need to catch up - I am enjoying our parallel read through the Discworld series!

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