Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The divine order of Discworld is put under the microscope by Terry Pratchett in “Small Gods” as we follow focus of Omnian religion, the Great God Om, and his only believer, Brutha. Pratchett takes on not only organized religion, but also atheism, philosophy, and how militaries find a new technology and turn it into a killing machine.
The main story of the book is about the once powerful Om, who once had thousands upon thousands of followers but now only has one, Brutha. Both Om and Brutha discover that while many claim to be worshipping Om, they don’t believe in him because their religious experience is basically the rituals of the Church. These rituals are alright to one Vorbis, Head of the Quisition (the Omnian version of the Inquisition). Vorbis thinks only fundamentally about religion and not belief, just like Brutha’s grandmother does which if he succeeds means that Om will find himself cast into the desert with other failed gods. All the while, many professed Omnians believe that their world is not a sphere circling the sun but a flat disc on top of four elephants standing on top of a turtle moving through space. These atheists have their own plans, especially after discovering the creator of their philosophy who seems to be put off by the whole semi-religious movement based on his writings of fact.
This Discworld installment does not seem as humorous has previous books, however because “Small Gods” is satire Pratchett’s humor is more finally tuned to suit the genre. Its only after you’ve read the book that you get the overall metaphysical discussion Pratchett has just had with you in a fun way.
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