Episode twice-the-number-which-must-not-be-spoken (i.e. sixteen) takes us inside the Church of Om for a story of faith, religion and truth as we’re joined by the Reverend Doctor Avril Hannah-Jones to discuss Terry Pratchett’s 1992 Discworld novel, Small Gods!
Brutha is a lowly novice in the Omnian Citadel, dismissed by his superiors as a simpleton whose only notable talent is an extraordinary memory. He’s the last person expecting to hear the Voice of the Great God Om, though Brutha has his doubts: Om is supposed to manifest as a mighty golden bull or pillar of flame, not a one-eyed tortoise. Om’s not happy either: this isn’t how he planned his return from the celestial realm, and no-one but Brutha can hear him. Before god or novice can figure out what’s happening, Brutha is recruited by Deacon Vorbis – head of the feared Quisition – for a mission to nearby Ephebe: a nation of heretics, democracy and philosophers, one of whom has dared to pen a treatise describing the world as a flat disc which travels through space on the back of a turtle…
One of the few truly standalone Discworld novels, Small Gods focuses on how humans of the Disc create gods, rather than the other way round – for good and for ill. Drawing on the best and worst traditions of monotheism, Galileo’s defiance in the face of Catholic censure, and big philosophical questions, Small Gods still manages to be full of Pratchett’s trademark humour and humanism, and a long-time favourite for many fans. Do you rate it amongst the best Discworld novels? Would you recommend someone start with it? We’d love to hear from you! Use the hashtag #Pratchat16 on social media to join the conversation.
Our guest, the Reverend Doctor Avril Hannah-Jones (she/her), is a Minister in the Uniting Church and an all-round wonderful human being. Always a geek, Avril rose to fame in 2011 via Adam Hills’ ABC comedy show In Gordon Street Tonight with the foundation of the Church of the Latter Day Geek, which for some reason got more attention than any of the work she has done advocating for LGBTIAQ+ rights or asylum seekers. Avril also appeared in the “Seven/Religion” episode of Splendid Chaps (mostly in part two, but you may also want to listen to part one), and on Doctor Who and the Episodes of Death. You can read about her adventures at her blog, Rev Doc Geek, follow her on Twitter at @DocAvvers, or head along to a Sunday service! She used to be in Williamstown, but since 2020 you’ll find her at North Balwyn Uniting Church.
You can find the show notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
It’s been a big year already for the Pratchat crew: we’ve launched our subscription service – a huge thank you to all our supporters! – and Liz and Ben will be appearing at both Speculate 2019 in mid-March, and Nullus Anxietas 7, the Australian Discworld Convention, in mid-April! Plus Ben will be performing a new show, You Chose Poorly, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from April 1-7.
Next month it’s back to the Ramtops as the witches return home in Lords and Ladies with writer, critic and editor Nadia Bailey! ! We’re recording that episode hot on the heels of this one’s release, so get your questions in via social media before February 16th using the hashtag #Pratchat17.