My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Ever wondered what happens to gods on the Discworld when people stop believing in them? Or worse, when people believe more in the religion than in the god?
This is one turtle’s fight to regain his almighty and feared status. In the meantime, the formerly Great God Om struggles to make himself heard:
The devils of infinity fill your living bones with sulphur!
fails to avoid sandled feet:
Your feet to fly from your body and be buried in a termite mound!
and very nearly becomes a Citadel dinner:
The worms of revenge to eat your blackened nostrils!
With the Om-inspired religion filled with hymns such as ‘The Way of the Infidel Is A Nest Of Thorns’ and ‘He is Trampling the Unrighteous with Hooves of Hot Iron’ it’s not surprising turtle-Om has such a mean temper.
Nor is it surprising his followers believe more in the Exquisitors who enforce His law than in Him. But now that he has perspective, Om thinks up a few changes that could make all the difference:
When he had his power again, he was going to spend quite some time devising a few new hells…and a couple of fresh Precepts too. If he’d thought of one like Thou Shalt Bloody Well Pick up Any Distressed Tortoises and Carry Them Anywhere They Want Unless, And This is Important, You’re an Eagle a few years ago, he wouldn’t be in this trouble now.
Lu-Tze the ‘sweeper’ makes his first appearance, being generally invisible while he makes just the tiniest changes to history.
Death has a siginficant role in Small Gods too, in his case it’s because the exquisitors are busy, and the exquisitors are busy not just because of general unrighteousness, but because an underground of Omnians believe the earth might actually be flat and carried on the backs of elephants on a turtle.
The Turtle Moves.
And, as no kingdom of the Discworld would function without someone to sell them takeaway food, there’s also a special appearance by:
Cut-Me-Own-Hand-Off Dhblah, purveyor of suspiciously new holy relics, suspiciously old rancid sweetmeats on a stick, gritty figs and long-past-the-sell-by dates.
It’s always nice to hear about other years besides the year of the Notional Serpent in the Century of the Fruitbat; the year of the Astounded Beetle, and the year of the Lenient Vegetable both get a mention in Small Gods.
Filled with such curses, anger, and torture, you’d expect Small Gods to be graphic and depressing but seen through Brutha’s innocent eyes it turns into a hilarious parody of heresy, inquisitions, torture, and belief.