Review: Small Gods

Small GodsSmall Gods by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second time reading this book. I dropped the rating from 5/5 to 4/5.

As usual, Terry Pratchett uses the fantasy of Discworld to shed light on reality. This book is less whimsical than other Discworld book although it does have its humor and does get a bit silly with the philosophers in the Discworld equivalent to Ancient Greece. He takes the same concept as (future?) collaborator Neil Gaiman’s American Gods– a god’s power is relative to the amount of believers it has – and uses it to provide a withering look those who go along with the excesses of the church without even truly believing in their god. Om, god of the Omnians has been reduced in power because he has only one believer left. This despite Omnia being a theocracy with enough pilgrims to keep the Omnian Dibbler working and a large Inquisition that everyone is afraid of. People are essentially operating out of fear (of the system) and habit. Even more than when I first read this 10ish years ago, this just makes me think of the American Christians who are super Christian when it comes to hate and yet forget Christ’s own words when it comes to caring for the poor, sick, defenseless or turning the other cheek or giving up all your riches to follow him (looking at you, Prosperity Gospel Preachers).

This is a book I often recommend to folks if they will only read one Discworld novel. Like Pyramids, it’s mostly divorced from the other 34ish books in the series. Unlike Pyramids, anyone can understand what Pratchett is trying to say and it doesn’t get too weird in any places. If they enjoy it, then I tell them to go back to the beginning and watch as the Discworld evolves and the characters come into their own and it really makes the Discworld novels much richer. Especially any book that involves Vimes and The Watch or the Witches.

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