Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Visiting Discworld

I know you thought you'd escaped the book review portion of our program but...no. I know people who don't read. They get a lot done. Instead of doing that, I read. And I'm happy with that.

Terry Pratchett was recommended to me on the basis that I read the Simon Green book. This one was not recommended, but it was in the new book section. The new book section is on the first floor of my library. All the others would have required stair climbing and as I had already done that once, another trip would exceed my quota. I never exceed my quota of stairs.

Small Gods is a Discworld novel. If you don't know Discworld, the idea is that the world is flat, resting on four elephants which are standing on the back of a turtle/tortoise (I don't know the difference). And in this book, the Great God Om is stuck on this flat place as a one-eyed turtle/tortoise at the mercy of any eagle. He manages to find his one believer and then they get swept up in religious politics and a holy war that bear a suspicious resemblance to the religious politics and holy wars we see going on around us today, yesterday, and probably tomorrow. And Omnia is a place that has forgotten faith in their god Om, but they've got a firm grasp on faith in the religious rules and rituals that direct life in the Citadel. But it's funny. Sort of.

It's really satire:
Although satire is usually meant to be funny, the purpose of satire is not primarily humour in itself so much as an attack on something of which the author strongly disapproves, using the weapon of wit. (From Wiki)

What you have to decide is whether or not this is an attack on all religion and a praise of science and philosophy. Maybe. The church really doesn't come out well here. But then, neither do philosophers/scientists or countries that wage war in defense of their gods. As I read it, it looks more like an attack on not thinking, or maybe not understanding: Om doesn't really think through his prophets, Brutha only memorizes and doesn't understand, Urn is really smart but he doesn't understand how his actions have consequences. There's a lot to think about. Or you could just read it and enjoy the sarcastic turtle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

see, I told you that you would like it!