Friday, June 27, 2014

'small gods'

"Small Gods" is Terry Pratchett's rather humorous and insightful take on the relationship among gods, religion, and their worshipers.

Pratchett is a humanist, as becomes obvious to anyone reading his critique of gods and religion; but he's also a gifted humorist, as anyone familiar with any of his Discworld novels will know. Set on his fantastical Discworld, "Small Gods" tells the story of the Great God Om, now incarnated as a turtle with only one worshiper. It is a far cry from the days when he appeared as a raging people trampling the infidels.

Problematically for Om, is that as he has diminished, the Church of Om has grown. People flock from all over the region, from among his own people and from among those whom they have conquered, to pay their respects.

The puzzle of how a god can be so well-known and have such a mighty church but have so few actual worshipers is one that will challenge both Om and his simple-minded worshiper, and change the way things work in Omnia.

Like his other Discworld novels, "Small Gods" is a book that satisfies at many levels, and always leaves the thoughtful reader with something to consider, even after multiple readings.

Copyright © 2014 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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