The thirteenth novel in the Discworld Series
UK hbk: Victor Gollancz, 27,700 copies on 21 May 1992 (0-575-05222-8) reprinted once, then reissued, 2,500 copies (of which 1,500 for BCA had gloss laminated jackets and were without foil stamping) 6 August 1998 (0-575-06579-6)
Book proof: 100 copies
Discworld Collector’s Library: in ‘The Gods Collection’ (hbk, cover engraving by Joe McLaren): Gollancz, 9 January 2014 (978-1-473-20015-9)
Pbk: Corgi, 213,500 copies on 27 May 1993 (0-552-13890-8), reprinted 1993 (thrice), 1995 (twice), 1996, 1997, 1998 etc
New issue, with black/gold photographic design cover, on sale at same time as Kirby edition, July 2005 (0-552-15297-8)
Reissued B-format with modified Kirby cover: Corgi, 2013 (978-0-552-16751-2)
Book club: BCA, 12,000 copies in 1992 (CN 1871), repr. 1993, 1994
BCA’s Unseen Library: c.3,500 copies in January 2006 (CN 142974)
Deluxe slip-cased edition, illustrated by Omar Rayyan, bound in crimson velveteen covered boards and colour printed paper label on front cover, gold blocking on spine, the black slip-case printed in gold without lettering, Folio Society, September 2016.
USA: HarperCollins (jacket design by Michael Sabanosh), 12 January 1994 (0-06-017750-0)
On some copies of the first printing the metallic blocking on the spine was gold instead of the more coppery colour used on the front cover, and normally on the spine. The fourth, possibly the third, and later printings had printed covers without foils.
(The first four HarperCollins titles – Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, Men at Arms, Soul Music – were not issued in the same order as in Britain. They used a star photo from Optical Artists/Westlight as a background on which Sabanosh’s design and lettering was superimposed. Whether or not the cover illustration and/or design is by Sabanosh, I think his lettering has been used on all subsequent titles.)
Proofs: issued, but no information as to quantity.
Pbk: HarperPrism, 9 September 1994, HarperTorch (15th printing) 2003 (0-06-109217-7)
Premium pbk: Harper Premium, 29 October 2013 (978-0-06-223737-8
Library hbk of Premium pbk: Turtleback ?November 2013 (0-613-57275-X)
US book club: Science Fiction Book Club Selection, April 1994 (Jacket art by Michael Sabanosh), ?March 1994 (ref.02889)
Brazilian: Pequenos Deuses, trs. Alexandre Mandarino, Bertrand Brasil, 30 March 2015 (978-85-286-1696-5)
Bulgarian: 1. Малки Богове, trs. Mirela Khristova, Vuzev, 10,000 copies in December 1995 (954-422-039-9)
2. Retranslated (with same title) Vladimir Zarkov, Vuzev/Akhont-V 2,000 copies in ?August 2001 (954-422-068-2)
Czech: Malí Bohove, trs. Jan Kantörek, Talpress, 10,000 copies in 4/97 (80-7197-084-0)
Double volume with Lords & Ladies: ills. by Paul Kidby, Talpress, 2011 (978-80-7197-435-2)
Dutch: Kleingoderij, trs. Venugopalan Ittekot (pseud. of Ruurd Groot), Het Spectrum, 5,000 copies in 1995 (90-274-4543-5)
Reissue: Mynx, 2008 (978-90-225-5125-7)
Estonian: Väikesed Jumalad, trs. Allan Eichenbaum, jacket illus. Hillar Mets, Varrak, 12 July 2003 (9985-3-0698-8)
Finnish: Pienet Jumalat, trs. Mika Kivimäki, Karisto, March 2004 (951-23-4492-0)
Pbk: Karisto, January 2008 (9780951-23-4978-4)
French: Les Petits Dieux, trs. Patrick Couton, L’Atalante, June 1999 (2-84172-102-7)
Reissue, with new introduction by Terry Pratchett (dated September 2014), 19 May 2016 (978-2-84172-761-2)
Pbk: Pocket, 4/03 (2-266-13048-X)
Pbk with Marc Simonetti cover: Pocket, November 2011 (978-2-266-21193-2)
German trade pbk: 1. Einfach göttlich, trs. Andreas Brandhorst, Goldmann, 30,000 copies on 1 April 1995 (3-442-41566-7)
mass market pbk: Goldmann, April 2000 (3-442-42132-2)
Double volume: Total verhext. Einfach göttlich, Goldmann, December 2003 (3-442-13334-3)
Reissue: 15,000 copies for special marketing campaign July 2004 (3-442-13411-0)
Reissue: June 2008 (978-3-442-13434-2)
2. New translation, trade pbk (with flaps): trs. Gerald Jung, Manhattan, 25 June 2012 (978-3-442-54703-6)
Mass-market edition, Goldmann, May 2016 (978-3-442-48467-6)
Kindle edition 30 October 2012 (ASIN B009X0O752)
Hungarian: 1. Kisistenek, trs. Anikó Sohár, Cherubion Könyvkiadó, c.4,000 copies in 2004 (963-9566-16-0)
2. Kisistenek, trs. Veronika Farkas, Delta Vision, 10 June 2013 (978-615-5314-50-6)
Italian: Tartarughe divine, trs. Valentina Daniele, Salani/Spagnol, May 2011 (978-88-6256-504-2)
Pbk: TEAdue, September 2012 (978-88-502-2923-9)
Japanese: [Itanshinmon], trs. Norito Kuga, Choeisha, 12 August 2000 (4-88629-506-1)
Lithuanian: Mažieji dievai, trs. Mindaugas Strockis, Baltos Lankos, 2011 (978-9955-23-477-7)
Norwegian: Små Guder, trs.Torleif Sjøgren-Erichsen, Tiden Norsk, 2004 (82-10-04935-6)
Polish: Pomniejsze Bóstwa, trs. Piotr W. Cholewa, Prószyński i S-ka, September 2001 (83-7255-927-9)
Romanian: Zei Mărunti, trs. Bogdan Mihăilescu, Rao, 23 August 2010 (978-973-54-0210-5)
Russian: Мелкие Боги, trs. N. Berdennikov, Eksmo c.10,000 copies in September 2001 (5-04-088296-3)
Double volume with Pyramids: Eksmo, printed on 15 January 2003 (5-699-02733-5)
Serbian/Yugoslav: Mali bogovi, trs. Goran Kapetanović, Laguna in their Octarin series, 1,000 copies in 2002 (86-7436-035-1)
Spanish: Dioses Menores, trs. Albert Solé, Plaza y Janés, January 2002 (84-01-32910-8)
New issue: Debols!llo, 3rd printing, February 2007 (978-84-9759-224-6)
Kiosk edition: Altaya, 2008 (978-84-487-2616-4)
Swedish: Små Gudar, trs. Peter Lindforss, Wallströms, April 2001 (91-32-32577-0)
Reissued September 2002 (91-32-32766-8)
Turkish: Küçük tanrilar, trs. Niran Elçi, Ithaki, 2011 (978-605-375-112-0)
‘Believable’ is not an epithet which can easily be applied to the Discworld of Terry Pratchett, but that hardly matters. Pratchett shares with Cherryh the distinction of working in an impoverished field – in this case humorous fantasy – and showing what can be done. His latest novel, Small Gods, displays all the features one has come to expect from a Pratchett novel: wit, wisdom and humanity are here in abundance.
The story concerns Brutha, a novice monk, who has the extreme misfortune to be the Chosen One: not the official Chosen One of his religion, but the true one, a distinction which leads to his torture by the inquisition. Having had God manifested as a small tortoise doesn’t help his case much either.
As one might expect from Pratchett, things work out in a vaguely satisfactory fashion in the end, but this expectation doesn’t spoil our pleasure at the striking home of various well-aimed arrows into the body of religious corruption along the way: as ever, the latest Pratchett can be highly recommended.
Brendan Wignall in Oxford Times
Pratchett’s satisfyingly lengthy series has made him one of the most widely read, best respected and nakedly envied writers of the century. Evening Post (Nottingham)
Small Gods is surely the best novel Terry Pratchett has ever written, and the best comedy…. Within the compass of our reading of Small Gods we are in the present tense of Eden. John Clute in Interzone
Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods extends his Discworld series even further along its comic axis. Laugh? I nearly passed my cigars around. The antics of Brutha, the Chosen One, and his temporarily embarrassed god, Om, who is accidentally marooned in the body of a tortoise, makes Charles de Lint’s leafy pagan fictions seem etiolated by comparison. If you are unfamiliar with Pratchett’s unique blend of philosophical badinage interspersed with slapstick, you are on the threshold of a mind-expanding opportunity. If you have already entered Discworld, you have another treat in store.
Martin Mulligan in Financial Times Weekend
An excellent novel recommended for serious readers with a sense of humour. Catie Cary in Vector
I have come to the conclusion that reading Terry Pratchett is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on. He seems to have developed his Discworld further and faster than I ever expected, with the result that the last few books have not only been enjoyable, funny and literate, but have also contained an undercurrent of comment aimed at aspects of the world in which we all live.
Moving Pictures took a sly look at the movie industry and provided pithy comment on the state of those poor souls whose life is spent sitting in front of a flickering silver screen and who cannot tell the fantasy from the reality of life. Reaper Man looked again at our old friend Death, and the problems caused if Death took a holiday. Witches Abroad looked at the problems of belief and the possible origins of all stories and now with Small Gods Pratchett takes the idea of belief to its logical conclusion and aims his guns at religion, faith and the existence of God – or rather gods, for there are many as we shall see.
Small Gods is the story of Brutha, a lowly monk with a problem. He, amongst all the many thousands of inhabitants of Om actually, truly, believes in their god, also called Om. And when Om comes to him in the form of a tortoise and asks for help to regain his former glories, Brutha is understandably shaken at the prospect, for he knows that Om is not a tortoise but a raging bull who will smite all heretics. But, as Om the tortoise explains, that is the Quisition (similar to the Inquisition but with hotter branding irons and more patience) whose work simply ensures that people believe in the Quisition first and the god second.
All this is pretty heavy stuff. Pratchett goes on to reveal that the deserts of Discworld are chock full of gods that no one believes in any more. To exist, a god must have belief, and the more people that believe, then the stronger the god becomes. That is why Om is a tortoise, because only Brutha believes.
Through this theological mayhem stalk several more classic Pratchett creations. There is Vorbis, head of the Quisition, Didactylos the blind philosopher and a mysterious oriental ancient named Lu-Tze. The ideas and the smiles come thick and fast as Pratchett weaves a tale of spellbinding complexity and depth. Great stuff, and watch out for the eagles! David Howe in Starburst
Terry Pratchett is among the most popular fantasy writers in Britain today. The god of this latest title is ‘OM’, worshipped by the most powerful and corrupt church. On returning from his celestial realm, he finds himself manifested as a small one-eyed turtle. His one true believer named Brutha, would rather lead a simple life growing melons instead of being the chosen one. But as the eighth prophet of ‘OM’, he must overthrow the church and its leaders, save the life of a blind philosopher who dared contradict dogma, and prevent his god from being someone’s next meal. As the 13th book in the Discworld series, it shows no sign of fatigue and will please even Pratchett’s most discerning of fans. Books
Pratchett’s invention is concerned more with religion than science. He does not speculate about interplanetary travel but he does imagine a god of lettuce. Gods have to specialise, he argues. Belief is where you find it. You just find a lettuce-growing community and hang on…..he expresses in his way a feeling common to all the science fantasy books under review [in this article]. At their core is a sense of faith. … Terry Pratchett, a constant on the best-seller lists, remains the most amusing and elegant of the writers who treat the gods as an Olympic circus. He can combine an unlikely dimwit of a hero and a god who takes the form of a tortoise and make it all convincing. Sylvia Clayton in Weekend Telegraph
His humour appeals to all ages and will not fail to please. Street Worm (Coventry, Birmingham, etc.)
And Pratchett (in the middle of all the fun and the jokes) speaks a great deal of sense on the wickedness put over in the name of organised religions. Philippa Toomey in The Times
Background illustration © and by courtesy of Marc Simonetti