Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby raisindot » Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:46 pm

I'm kind of surprised that, unlike the witches books, (as far as I know) it's never been adapted as a play. With imaginative backdrops and props, and perhaps puppetry (or ventriloquism), it could make for great, thought provoking theater. You get the broad comedy of the Brutha/Om relationship, the terror of Vorbis, and the great ending.

Or maybe is has been adapted?
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:05 pm

The BBC Radio adaptation of the book was very good. :)

I do wish the silly Beeb would sell these adaptations on CD. :roll:
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby TimBou » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:18 pm

As to how it was received - generally much amusement at the pinpoint nature of his satire, joy at the wonderful humour that is always lightening things up, and amazement at how he slips such profound and moving insights in in such a way that you don't even notice what he's doing. His humour when on the subject of religion is just brilliant, he's obviously had a religious upbringing inflicted on him somewhere along the line. I wonder if he had a particularly devout grandmother in his family? Organising the roster to stone the adulteresses... :-)

Our priest quoted Brutha's question to Om in the desert about needing to know what it is like to be human in her sermon the next day so there is no risk of my being summoned before the Quisition just yet...
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby TimBou » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:26 pm

Tonyblack wrote:The BBC Radio adaptation of the book was very good. :)

I do wish the silly Beeb would sell these adaptations on CD. :roll:


Yes I was trying to find that BBC production to help prepare for the storytelling as the bits I could find of it on YouTube were much closer to a storytelling mode than the standard book reading available on ITunes. But as you say, no luck!

I did find that there was an amateur production done of Small Gods last year in a country far far away from the Last Continent where I live: http://www.durham21.co.uk/2011/02/ooook ... pratchett/. I guess they did the script themselves. The radio controlled stuffed tortoise sounds interesting...
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:43 pm

Sounds like you all had a marvellous time and it was a great success. :D

Congratulations - let's hope you've made a lot of converts. :lol:
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby JamesB » Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:21 am

Hello, I'm new to the forums.

'Small Gods' was my first Discworld book and first experience with Sir Terry Pratchett. I have seen people recommend different orders of reading to familiarize with the Discworld setting, but chance and dumb luck threw 'Small Gods' at me first. I have read almost every book authored or co-authored by Sir Pratchett now, and I have to say that 'Small Gods' is still my favorite. It is actually my favorite book from any author. It moved, reshaped and changed the way I look at the world in a way that no other book has come close to, and I'm no stranger to books. I ended up creating an indie band under the band name smalltortoise and I develop amateur indie games under the developer name smalltortoise games. When I say amateur, I am not just being humble. Not even Brutha could help me out there, but it's OK because it's fun.

There's a lot of things I do these days that some would have you believe should only be left to the pros. I've gotten into tinkering with DIY projects, electronics, programming, painting, poetry, other arts, and even tried my hand at being a stuntperson in an indie movie for a short film competition (entirely on a whim). I've been more outgoing over time, traveled the world more in the past years than in my whole life, met new people, and generally tried new things more than ever before. Largely, I've enjoyed celebrating other cultures and others' passions in religious and spiritual views even if I do not adopt them myself.

And I owe quite a bit of my new adventurous spirit to 'Small Gods.'

In reading and rereading the book, I introspected what each character and event reflected about myself. What I took away from the book was life-changing for me. I know that the bulk of the book has major religious tones, but that's not all I took from it. Religion's everywhere, so there were definitely great things to think about interpersonal intelligence related to religion and spirituality, and I enjoyed the references to various iterations of religion throughout history. However, I also took a lot from the book about living life more fully, when to put the garden tools down and go "carpe diem," the power of determination, the responsibilities associated with shared confidence, and compassion for others (even the intolerant and hateful).

Sir Pratchett opened me up to an entirely new world full of positive experiences with 'Small Gods.'
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Fri Jan 10, 2014 5:19 am

Welcome to the site, James! Small Gods is still my favourite as well. :D
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Jan Van Quirm » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:21 pm

Mine too - quite passionate about that in fact! :D

Welcome to the site James - enjoy posting all over ;)
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby The Mad Collector » Fri Jan 10, 2014 3:51 pm

Welcome to the forum. Small Gods is near the top for me as well. Not one I'd recommend someone to start with as it is quite different in style and tone to the other books written around the same time but definitely a great read.
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Mixa » Wed Jul 01, 2015 9:49 am

I’m surprised by the reactions “Small Gods” has on people. For my part, the first time I read I absolutely enjoyed it, and I can honestly say for me is the best stand-alone novel of Discworld and one of the most poignant and magnificently ideated.

On the other hand, when my mother read it for the first time, found it quite confusing (as some of you have also experienced). Nevertheless, these days we have both reread it and I have ended up telling her: “Didn’t I tell you?” She loved it and so did I!

Knowing how to deal with the thorny topic of religion and creating a master criticism out of it is very difficult, but I think only Pratchett could have done it so well. Moreover, as any other novel written by Sir Terry, it hides a lot more than it seems: I completely agree with you, James (when finishing the book my mother and I were crying with emotion).

This novel is full of pearls of wisdom, but these caught my eye over lots of other quotes:

“Fear is strange soil. Mainly it grows obedience like corn, which grows in rows and makes weeding easy. But sometimes it grows the potatoes of defiance, which flourish underground.”

“Life in this world”, he said “is, as it were, a sojourn in a cave. What can we know of reality? For all we see of the true nature of existence is, shall we say, no more than bewildering and amusing shadows cast upon the inner wall of the cave by unseen blinding light of absolute truth, from which we may or may not deduce some glimmer of veracity, and we as troglodyte seekers of wisdom can only lift our voices to the unseen and say, humbly, ‘Go on, do Deformed Rabbit… it’s my favourite.’”

“Gods never need to be very bright when there are humans to be it for them.”

“Besides, the Ephebian garrison commander had declared somewhat nervously that slavery would henceforth be abolished, which infuriated slaves. What would be the point of saving up to become free if you couldn’t own slaves afterwards? Besides, how’d they eat?”

“‘Yes, lord,’ said Brutha. ‘But, lord, I cannot be a bishop, I cannot even…’
‘I assure you the job does not require much intelligence,’ said Vorbis. ‘If it did, bishops would not be able to do it.’”


“The central spire of Cori Celesti rises up from the mountains at the Hub, ten vertical miles of green ice and snow, topped by the turrets and domes of Dunmanifestin. There the Gods of the Discworld live. At the least, any god who is anybody. And it is strange that, although it takes years of effort and work scheming for a god to get there, once there they never seem to do a lot apart from drink too much and indulge in a little mild corruption. Many systems of government follow the same broad lines.”

But overall remember… Here and now we are alive!

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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby Tonyblack » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:19 am

Some great quotes from the book there, Mixa. I used to know someone who was very religious and Small Gods was their favourite Discworld book. They would even read passages from it to the congregation at church. It's not a book that says that gods are wrong, it's more a book that explains why people think they need them. And people needing them is important for a god, because, without believers, a god ceases to exist. When the Bible says:
The Bible wrote:God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him . . .
- it was exactly the opposite of what really happened. Man created God in his/her own image.
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Re: Small Gods Discussion *Spoilers*

Postby RathDarkblade » Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:42 am

I love SG. Some of my favourite bits...

"...Do you know how gods get power?"

"By people believing in them," said Brutha. "Millions of people believe in you."

Om hesitated.

All right, all right. We are here and it is now. Sooner or later he'll find out for himself...

"They don't believe," said Om.

"But---"

"It's happened before," said the tortoise. "Dozens of times. D'you know Abraxas found the lost city of Ee? Very strange carvings, he says. Belief shifts. People start out believing in the god and end up believing in the structure."

"I don't understand," said Brutha.

"Let me put it another way," said the tortoise. "I am your God, right?"

"Yes."

"And you'll obey me."

"Yes."

"Good. Now take a rock and go and kill Vorbis."

Brutha didn't move.

"I'm sure you heard me," said Om.

"But he'll... he's... the Quisition would---"

"Now you know what I mean," said the tortoise. "You're more afraid of him than you are of me. Abraxas says here: 'Around the Godde there forms a Shelle of prayers and Ceremonies and Buildings and Priestes and Authority, until at Last the Godde Dies. Ande this maye notte be noticed.'"

"That can't be true!"

"I think it is. Abraxas says there's a kind of shellfish that lives in the same way. It makes a bigger and bigger shell until it can't move around any more, and so it dies."

"But... but... that means... the whole Church..."

"Yes."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The inquisitor, whose name was Deacon Cusp, had got to where he was today, which was a place he wasn't sure right now that he wanted to be, because he liked hurting people. It was a simple desire, and one that was satisfied in abundance within the Quisition. And he was one of those who were terrified in a very particular way by Vorbis. Hurting people because you enjoyed it... that was understandable. Vorbis just hurt people because he'd decided that they should be hurt, without passion, even with a kind of hard love.

In Cusp's experience, people didn't make things up, ultimately, not in front of an exquisitor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"You call this philosophy?" roared Didactylos, waving his stick.

Urn cleaned pieces of the sand mould from the lever.

"Well... natural philosophy," he said.

The stick whanged down on the Moving Turtle's flanks.

"I never taught you this sort of thing!" shouted the philosopher. "Philosophy is supposed to make life better!"

"This will make it better for a lot of people," said Urn, calmly. "It will help overthrow a tyrant."

"And then?" said Didactylos.

"And then what?"

"And then you'll take it to bits, will you?" said the old man. "Smash ti up? Take the wheels off? Get rid of all those spikes? Burn the plans? Yes? When it's served its purpose, yes?"

"Well---" Urn began.

"Aha!"

"Aha what? What if we do keep it? It'll be a... a deterrent to other tyrants!"

"You think tyrants won't build 'em too?"

"Well... I can build bigger ones!" Urn shouted.

Didactylos sagged. "Yes," he said. "No doubt you can. So that's all right, then. My word. And to think I was worrying. And now... I think I'll go and have a rest somewhere..."

He looked hunched up, and suddenly old.

"Master?" said Urn.

"Don't 'master' me," said Didactylos, feeling his way along the barn walls to the door. "I can see you know every bloody thing there is to know about human nature now. Hah!"
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Urn and Simony
Spoiler: show
discuss whether they should try to rescue Brutha from being roasted alive:


"They don't like it." Simony turned. "Look, Brutha's going to die anyway. But this way it'll mean something... We can make Brutha's death a symbol for people, don't you see?"

...

"You know," he (Urn -Ed.) said, turning to Simony. "Now I know Vorbis is evil... do you know what's special?... It's what he's done to you."

"What?"

"He turns other people into copies of himself."

Simony's grip was like a vice. "You're saying I'm like him?"

"Once you said you'd cut him down," said Urn. "Now you're thinking like him..."

"So we rush them, then?" said Simony. "I'm sure of - maybe four hundred on our side. So I give the signal and a few hundred of us attack thousands of them? And he dies anyway and we die too? What difference does that make?"

Urn's face was grey with horror now.

"You mean you don't know?" he said.

Some of the crowd looked around curiously at him.

"You don't know?" he said.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As a fleet of Ephebians, Tsorteans, Djelibeybians and Klatchians approaches the coast to stamp out Omnia...

Simony clenched his fists in anger.

"Look... listen... We died for lies, for centuries we died for lies." he waved a hand towards the god. "Now we've got a truth to die for!"

"No. Men should die for lies. But the truth is too precious to die for."

Simony's mouth opened and shut soundlessly as he sought for words. Finally, he found some from the dawn of his education.

"I was told it was the finest thing to die for a god," he mumbled.

"Vorbis said that. And he was... stupid. You can die for your country or your people or your family, but for a god you should live fully and busily, every day of a long life."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I like the idea of democracy. You have to have someone everyone distrusts," said Brutha. "That way, everyone's happy."
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Words are the litmus paper of the minds. If you find yourself in the power of someone who will use the word "commence" in cold blood, go somewhere else very quickly. But if they say "Enter", don’t stop to pack.

--Small Gods
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