Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #25 Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
If there was a quintessential Discworld book, Small Gods would for it. Pratchett’s satire is at its peak. While it is the 13th book in the series, it can easily be read as a stand alone book.
The story follows the (formerly) great god Om as he makes his not so triumphant return to the Omnians. Every so often he checks in with his followers, picks a prophet to kick it with for a week or so and goes back to smiting from on high. At least, that’s how it’s suppose to go. Om winds up in the inglorious form or a tortoise and it turns out that no one in Omnia is a true believer anymore. Well, there is one – novice named Brutha with a photographic memory that crowds out any hint of a personality in his brain. For everyone else, though, religion is now just a force of habit. Or in the case of Vorbis and his Quisition staff, an outlet for sadistic tendencies.
The books has several parallels between the Old and New Testament God from Christianity. Om was the great and terrible back in his beginning, taking a more active role in the lives of his followers, smitings and such. When he gets transformed into a tortoise, he get in touch with the mortals once again, as his our mortality is threatened by the lack of faith in the Omnians. However, the focus of the book is really lampooning religion is general. It’s no surprise that Om’s one believer left if someone that learned religion by rote and has never had one original thought of his own.
I have found that, in general, Sir Terry’s “stand alones” are bit more serious in tone. Not quite the yuk-a-minute of, say, the early Watch books. And tho’ the Sam Vimes helmed Watch books have become more thematically relevant to our times, the Guards themselves are still hysterical. I usually recommend readers new to TP start with “Men at Arms” and “Guards, Guards!” If we could get more people to read TP, the world would be a happier, more peaceful, if sillier, place.
Totally agreed on both counts! His stand alones also don’t have as much play on words as his others, which is possibly my favorite Pratchettism. And the world needs to be a bit sillier.