Small Gods

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Small Gods: A Discworld Graphic NovelSmall Gods: A Discworld Graphic Novel by Terry Pratchett
Illustrated by: Ray Friesen
Series: Discworld Graphic Novels #4
Publisher: Doubleday
Published: 2016
Length: 128 pages

It’s been about twenty years since I read Small Gods, but I have fond memories of it. I still consider it one of my favourite Pratchett novels, and although my memory is quite hazy on the plot, I can still vividly picture an enraged tortoise bouncing up and down and screaming threats of smiting by thunderbolts. I love the idea that the power of a God is determined by the strength of the faith of his believers, which in this case results in the Great God Om manifesting as a tortoise when he comes back to anoint the next prophet.

I was excited to read through this comic, if only to remind myself of the story, and it was fun for that. I had forgotten the basic structure of the novel, and this works as a sort of Coles Notes. Ray Friesen artwork was great, I thought. It’s unique a quirky and fits the tone very well.

I wouldn’t recommend this to a new reader, however, as you don’t really want the Coles Notes version of a Terry Pratchett novel. This has some of the story elements, and some of the humour, but it’s hard to encompass any novel-length story in a short graphic novel, let alone one from the Discworld series. Part of the joy of a Discworld novel is being dragged along at breakneck speed on the back of a ridiculous plot while constantly being smacked in the face with branches of irreverent wit and cutting satire, and you obviously lose quite a lot of that when you convert a 400 page novel to a 128 page graphic novel.

It was fun to revisit, but I think I need to re-read Small Gods now.

2 thoughts on “Small Gods

  1. Ruthiella

    I have never read any Pratchett. I wonder if I would have even ever heard of him were it not for the internet and blogs/vlogs/etc. I do have three of his books that I bought at a library sale. I am a little paralyzed by thinking (a) should I just read what I have or (b) should I try and start with one of the “recommended” books to start with instead.

    1. Rob Post author

      He’s a fantastic author, really worth a read, but it is tricky to know where to start. His first books, while fun, have very meandering plots and aren’t quite as put together as his later books.

      Most of his novels are standalone stories, with reoccurring characters and settings, so I think it’s probably good to start with the first novel of one of those character arcs. This is a guide that gets passed around a lot. It’s a bit confusing, but I think starting with any of those orange starter novels would work well (although I would start with Small Gods over Pyramids).

      My girlfriend has started reading them with The Wee Free Men, which I think is also a great place to start. It’s the first of his young adult novels featuring a clever young witch.


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