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Small Gods Three Times a Week - Ridiculous to Sublime - Lee Moyer (icons) & Seanan McGuire (stories)

Cogswell – The Small God of Steampunk

He was, until very recently, having a moment.

One of those moments that makes a small god think they might be moving up in the world, might be getting ready to become a medium god, or even—Zeus be willing—a large god. The kind who gets temples and tributes and childhood books on mythology written about them.

One of those moments that seems perfectly preordained and inevitable while it’s happening, impossible before it happens, and meant to be eternally lamented once it’s over.

He was, until very recently, having a moment. And now he’s having a half-off sale on hot glue guns and random, useless gears. He’d be willing to throw in a velvet top hat or two for the right buyer; just ask him.

Just ask.

Just remember he exists.

He was, until very recently, having a moment. Moments, he has learned to his chagrin, end.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

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Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

Hieronymous Bosc – The Small God of Things Going Pear-Shaped

Everyone makes mistakes, that’s what they say.  Everyone screws up. Everyone gets it a little off the mark.  But not everyone fucks up so profoundly, so completely, so utterly without room for discussion or dissent, as to call down the attention of Hieronymous, who appears on the scene only when the situation is past saving.

He circles first, silent, unseen, a few seconds to the left of time, where only temporal gods and gods of fortune—either good or ill—may have a chance to see him, even in passing.  He walks the scene, taking in every detail.  None is too small to escape his notice, for in this moment, before his manifestation, he is of unsurpassed power and focus.  He sees all, he knows all; he forgives nothing.

But he walks, and he observes, and he sees the oncoming train, the inescapable consequences of the actions of a thousand well-intentioned fools, and when there is nothing more for him to see, he steps back and passes judgment.

“Well, that’s proper cocked-up, isn’t it?”

The words, once spoken, inform the universe of what is to come, and time crashes down, its path now firmly set, its consequences chosen.  And Hieronymous is there to watch every terrible cascading second, judging each according to its own merits, eternally happy at the devastation, equally happy to call it all back again if circumstances should somehow change.

Pears are a delicious treat when not falling from a great height onto the windshield of your car, after all, and Hieronymous can show mercy when the situation manages to somehow allow.  He simply prefers not to.

What’s good for the juice is best for the gander, after all.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

Sir Tunty of Chants – The Small God of Custom Game Dice

Small gods are not like large gods in power or potency, but they are exactly like them in the same way they are exactly like poison ivy, or like mushrooms: there is no point at which they decide who they are going to be.  They find a source of nourishment and grow from there, feeding on fertile soil.  They can remain small for centuries, if not millennia, until their circumstances change.  Like all other things, they grow according to their environment and the resources it contains.

Sir Tunty came into being four thousand years before the beginning of the current calendar, his temples sculpted from bone and rock, his symbols etched by hand, and for a very long time, it seemed he was destined to be a very small god indeed.

And then in 1974, the Great Guy Gax appeared as some small gods do: all at once, already in the height of his power, calling forth his creations from the firmament.  He built of earth a dungeon, and filled it with such great beasts as he could summon out of his imagination, dragons and more.  And he invited all the people into his temple, and so many of them came that they overflowed the halls and spilled off to form temples of their own, temples of starships and vampires and beloved television properties and superheroes and cartoons.

And in all those temples, Sir Tunty was present, ready to roll, ready to give his gifts and his misfortunes to the faithful.

The Great Guy Gax waned, as those who make the biggest of entrances must often do, and in his place rose other gods, and when the vasty Bee Yawned appeared, Sir Tunty rose to his greatest prominence yet, crafted in thousands of homes, coveted and pursued, random and rolled as ever.  He is proud of what he has done, and will always remain so, but he takes nothing for granted.

After all, as his acolytes will gladly remind any who asks, anyone can roll a one.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

Tumblrhttps://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

Bewariel – The Small God of Not-So-Little Mermaids

SG11 mermaids

All gods of the sea are gods of hunger in one way or another.

Gods of drowning.  Gods of the deeps.  Gods of thirst—for who, surrounded by saltwater, can find a single drop to drink?  Gods of everything but plenty.  The sea is the greatest cornucopia the world can even know, filled with fish and seaweed and salt enough to season the sky, but nothing there is free for the taking.

Once upon a time, in this glorious feast of silver and salt, there was a sea king whose daughter fell in love with a human prince and followed him to the shore, where only death, despair, and the dry death of the unwanted waited for her.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who loved a boy, a girl who was a dream of a man who loved a man, and both found themselves voiceless in the face of their futures.  And one was real and one a dream, but as time went by, it became harder and harder for the world to know which had been which.  And the man was glorified and had all his rough edges sanded away by the sea, and the girl was given the happy ending he could never have given her, until his original creation faded away.  Like seafoam.

Rough edges and unwanted girls must go somewhere.  No story is ever truly, totally forgotten.  And in the shadow of all the voiceless ones, the ones who yearned to be remembered, the ones whose love had been denied, she formed.

Bewariel, small god of not-so-little mermaids.  She has the teeth and claws her charges do not; she has the power to defend herself, and them.  She hears the prayers of the voiceless, and she comes, on fins of sapphire and silver, to do what must be done.  She is the answer and she is the question and she is all that remains of a girl who loved not wisely but too well, who shattered in the shadow of the sea.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

Professor Claws – The Small God of Polar Questions

SG10 Polar Questions

Not every question is a binary one.  Some questions have infinite possible answers, infinite ways the conversation should go.  “What should we have for dinner?” has as many answers as there are recipes in the cosmos.  “Would you like to join me for dinner?” has at least four answers that spring immediately to mind, and no doubt far more than that that could occur after a little bit of thought.  “Can I eat you for dinner?” not only has a limited number of answers, but it can be argued that there is only ever one right answer for any given person, even as that answer may change with time.

The most polarizing of those questions, the ones which must be answered correctly, lest they lead to death traps, or to teeth and claws are screaming, are the domain of Professor Claws.

He is not cruel.  He is not kind.  He is one of the countless states between the two, and he is entirely and absolutely himself at all times.  It’s just that there is one question which, when asked of the Professor, must always be answered in the affirmative.  Specifically:

“Is that a bear?”  Yes.  Yes, that is a bear, and like all bears, he is almost certainly hungry at any given moment in time.

“Is he hungry?” is a binary question, and sometimes the answer is “no,” usually because the answer was “yes” the last time someone decided to ask the question without running away.

“Will he eat me?” is, again, a binary question, one to which the answer is either “yes” or “not right now.”  It is never, sadly, “no,” because the Professor is, again, a bear.

We do not recommend lingering overlong in his company, as even the most well-satiated of bears will hunger again, sooner than later, and if you are in the Professor’s company, the nearest source of protein is sadly, almost certain to be you.

Should I run?

Probably, yes.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

Gabby Gallowglass – The Small God of Inappropriate Laughter

SG9 Innappropriate LaughterB

The funeral is quiet, solemn, as befits a place of mourning.  The hymns have been sung, the psalms read, and the pastor calls upon the family to rise and give their final goodbyes.

It is the man’s widow who first notices the problem.  Her granddaughter, even as she stands, appears to be choking on something, some small inconvenience or unwanted spot of phlegm.  But she does not cough, does not clear her throat, only continues to make the same small choking noise over and over again, until finally her lips part and gales of laughter issue forth, bright and merry and contagious.  In moments, the whole funeral is laughing, bodies shaking and eyes tearing up with something other than sorrow.

Gabby Gallowglass has arrived.

No one knows when she first became codified, called, as all gods are, from the misty fields of human need.  Some believe she was originally a minor Muse of some form of comedy, less powerful than Thalia, but equally as persuasive.  No one has ever been able to prove her origins one way or another, and those who try are likely to become consumed by a knock-knock joke and find themselves walking into passing traffic.  Gabby Gallowglass is a vindictive goddess, when she needs to be.  Her hand guides the pen of scribes and artists alike, tucking jokes into places where no jokes belong, whistling past the world’s graveyards.

But for all that she compels laughter where there should be none, steals away consent and intrudes on private moments, those she visits are unlikely to complain.  Most say that without Gabby, they would never have been able to bring themselves to reveal painful, punishing truths that would have sat and festered in their hearts until they inevitably came to light, in a much less merciful manner.

She rarely visits the same heart twice.  All those who have known her adore her. All those she has touched remember, and very few resent.

………………………………

Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

Tumblrhttps://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

O.R.B.O.T. – The Small God of Tiny Robots

SG8 Tiny Robots

He is not a new god, for all that many would treat him as such.  He has been with us since the very earliest machines, when tinkers would stack wheels and simple boxes and press them into children’s hands.  He grows more sophisticated year upon year, but no more powerful, for he does not yearn for power; he has allowed ownership of drones and nanotechnology to pass into other hands, hands which may be less gentle than his own rounded pinchers, but which hunger for new things to hold.

He is happy with what he has and with what he is, and understands a lesson that many newer gods have yet to learn: he understands that to expand his portfolio is to change himself to fit it, and to become something other than he is.  But he has no desire to be other than he is, nor dreams of power.  He is powerful enough in the dreams of children both young and old.

He has saved the world a million times in their hands.  Has been a towering behemoth who crushes buildings beneath his mighty treads, and a bead of living metal rolling through the veins of an unwell mother, chasing illness aside. He has been hero and villain, monster and mechanist, and he will be all those things again and again until the human heart has no more need for a friendly automaton, until the human eye ceases to seek a friendly face in the inanimate. Until that day, he is content to serve as himself, and to seek for nothing larger, for nothing larger could ever be as kind.

His domain is small and limited and merciful.  In ORBOT’s name we gather.

Amen.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

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Twitterhttps://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepagehttp://www.smallgodseries.com/

Mr. Fon Parr – The Small God of Vulcanized Rubber

SG7 Vulcanized Rubber

Your mother worships at his altar. So, very likely, does your father, your doctor, and any grandparents you may have had at one time. It is by His grace that we are spared the trauma of unwanted pregnancy, the fear of fluid contact, the spread of disease. He has done as much to save and spread humanity as any other god, even those who specialize in pestilence and its prevention.

There are some who would call his good gifts sinful temptations, but they know not how much else He does for his faithful, how many barriers and seals would be impossible without Him. They would be lost without His aid, even if they never use the greatest of His gifts.

Those same gifts pass beyond him now, into realms beyond rubber, and one day He may be forgotten. But He does not mind. There are only so many calls to the celestial orgy one can receive, and only so many desperate prayers from teenagers terrified of breakage one can receive, before a long, long nap begins to feel like the greatest heaven any god has ever known.

But until He is fully and finally forgotten, Mr. Fon Parr will be there whenever he is needed, tearing the foil, passing the sacrament.

Yes, even to your mom.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

Ka Pohaku – The Small God of Small Rocks

SG6 Small Rocks

They are the god of getting wedged in the tread of your sneakers, of children’s pockets and New Age bookstores.  They are even the god of decorative necklaces filled with tiny water-polished stones and sold at a ridiculous markup to tourists.  Hey, it’s a living.

They are a god of secret histories, for every pebble was once sheltered in a mountain’s heart, or carried in the backbone of a glacier, or rose up from the center of the world with the slow pressure of gravity and time.  A mountain may live close enough to forever, from the perspective of the smaller, faster-living domains of other gods, but it lives forever in a single place, looking out across a single land, even if the country it belongs to shifts and changes.

Ka Pohaku does not envy the gods of mountains.  Those gods receive one version of the world, and they…they receive it all.

Every secret whispered to a skipping stone is theirs to keep.  Every story told by a small child on the verge of falling asleep, struggling to keep the bed monsters at bay.  Even the proposals of countless hopeful romantics, for what is a diamond if not a small rock?

Every god has two portfolios: that which is spoken, and that which is known. The people can call Ka Pohaku a god of rocks as much as they desire, but the god will always know the truth, and the truth they know is that really, when all is said and done, they are the god of something far finer and more rare.

They are the god of small secrets.

…………………………………….

Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities:

Fishier Spooner – The Small God of Pentacle Torn

SG5 Pentacle Torn

Everything is a religious symbol to someone.

When two sticks lain across each other can carry religious significance, you know the bar has been lowered. There’s another one—the bar. Some people find faith in a simple line. It’s like there are no standards whatsoever for what carries meaning to the faithful. Rabbits and eggs, trees and stars, anything can do the job.

Which means, technically, that every action is an act of religious desecration. Eating a sandwich? You have defiled a temple of Homeslice, small god of nourishment held between pieces of bread (or bread-like substance). Walking on the beach at low tide? Beware offending Silica, small god of sand.

Even the larger gods can be offended unintentionally. All know that declawing is an offense to Bast, but how many have considered that the removal of a dead bird from the kitchen floor might carry similar weight? We are all blaspheming every day of our lives, transgressing against gods both large and small, any of whom might decide to smite at any time, striking us down for our sins.

And that is where Fishier Spooner enters his domain. His tentacles were designed to grasp and rend, his rubbery skin created to absorb lightning strikes and static alike without showing any signs of damage. In his many arms are we forgiven, in his suckers are the broken things made more broken still, until the traces of the first crack are obliterated.

Without him, we would all be dead a thousand times over, and almost none shall know or speak his name.

He is resigned to that.

He is less okay with all the calamari.


Artist Lee Moyer (The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, Starstruck) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: