CANDY CORNELIA ~ SMALL GOD OF TRICK OR TREAT

[image description: A young girl  stands on your welcome mat, costumed in three colors of seamed foam rubber as befits her name. In her right hand she holds a roll of toilet paper, in her left, a plastic pumpkin-shaped bucket for holding treats. Behind her, past the lawn and sidewalk, a toilet-papered tree is visible against the starry twilit sky. In a 3D candy-corn inflected font, the Text reads, “153, CANDY CORNELIA ~ SMALL GOD OF TRICK OR TREAT”]

Sun’s going down, and now’s where you have two choices: turn off all the lights and go to bed right now, or light the pumpkin and set it out in invitation.

Now, I know it’s been pouring for the last three days and not a child with a lick of self-preservation is going to be out on the streets tonight.  What’s more, even if those children exist—and those children always exist, let’s be realistic here—then they’d need to have parents who were never really all that interested in having children, who just want plausible deniability when they get called down to the county coroner’s office.  No, we’re not looking to attract actual children, or we’d have needed to buy a lot more candy.

You got them, right?  Two full-sized Snickers bars, a roll of dimes, and an old Archie comic from the grocery store?  Good.  I know you promised, but a man likes to be sure, especially on a night like this.

But as I said, we’re not looking to attract actual children.  Wouldn’t know what to do with them.

We’re going to lure in a god.

She walks the world one night a year, as solid and material as any human child, just a child who goes from city to city in the process of going house to house.  She starts in Samoa and stops in New Zealand, and in-between she sees the whole world wide, like some sort of reverse Santa Claus, taking away with her.  If you’re lucky, of course.  Her bag is an infinity of toilet paper and raw eggs, her smile a gap-toothed gateway into darker realms.  She is redemption and she is damnation and she is going to choose the second on our behalf if you don’t get that pumpkin lit before she rings the bell!

She doesn’t hold grudges, but she remembers, and her memory is the long, slow memory of childhood, which never forgets the house with the good candy, or the one with the mean dog.  Her blessing will see your windows unbroken and your tomatoes untrampled by generations yet to come, and her curse…

Well.  You were thinking about moving, right?

Someone’s coming up the walk.  Light the pumpkin!

Rain or no rain, it’s always time for trick or treat.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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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MISTER DEAD ~ SMALL GOD OF ALL THOSE DAMNED ZOMBIES

[image description: A horse’s  – well, the animated remains of a horse –  looks disapprovingly out at you from the ember that glows in his ruined eye socket. Upper left, a word balloon: “You’re just beating a dead horse here Wilbur…” Behind him, ruined shapes stand silhouetted against an apocalyptic red sky. Text reads, “152, MISTER DEAD ~ SMALL GOD OF ALL THOSE DAMNED ZOMBIES”]

A corpse is a corpse, of course, of course, And no one can talk to a corpse, of course, That is of course unless the corpse Is the famous Mister Dead!

He walked among the world of the living before his ascension to the ranks of the divine.  This doesn’t make him unique by any standards—the heavens and the hells are filled with horses of a different color—but it does make him well-equipped to understand the trials and travails of the human world.

And one of the things he figured out shortly after he died (on the set of a penny Western) and watched the children of the extras prodding his corpse with sticks—he!  Who had been the hero of Hollywood, the best known of the equine actors of his generation—was that humans, by and large, are dreadful creatures, all the more beastly because they fight so hard to deny that they are beasts.

So he decided to remind them.

His gifts are inner peace, contentment with the world, and a gnawing, endless hunger that will eventually bring even the most pacifistic of humans to consume their neighbors.  He reminds them that they are animal, and then he reminds them that they are dead, even as he is dead, even as all flesh will one day be dead.  He sets them free.

And if he triggers a nice apocalypse in the progress, well, he’s down for that.

The other gods argue over whether he should be considered a god of vengeance or pestilence, or even war.  Mister Dead never gets involved.

He knows, above all, that he is a god of mercy.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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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Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

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Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Black Friday ~ Small God of False Profits

[image description: A massive serpent (so large that King Kong wouldn’t be big enough to fill its mouth. It looms over the city and coils around the Empire State Building creating – however briefly – the shape of a dollar sign. The top of the snake is gold, but its underbelly is ebon. Text reads, “151, BLACK FRIDAY ~ SMALL GOD: FALSE PROFITS”]

She slithers in through any opening she can find, so much smaller than she looks from the outside, so much larger than anyone wants her to be.  Her coils can constrict empires, her jaws encompass unions, and her venom can kill creatures so much larger than she is that it seems ridiculous.  What is the purpose of any single creature carrying so much potential to destroy?

Some say that she could slaughter gods, if she ever got it into her head to think there would be a benefit to her in the act, and so when she slides through heaven on her scaled belly, no one meets her eyes, and no one moves to attract her wrath, and no one lingers in her presence.

She must be very lonely, this serpent god of the unspent dollar and the unfinished deal.  She must yearn for the company of her kin.

But you wouldn’t know it to watch her moving through the world.  She thrives on the false belief that twenty dollars today is better than ten today and ten tomorrow, sparking the impossible belief that twenty today will mean twenty tomorrow, and not nothing tomorrow when every cent is spent, every dollar is divested.  She puffs herself up to seem threatening, and her faithful point and claim this proves that profit without end is possible, endless growth, endless expansion.

She will swallow the world, given room enough and time.

She will take both those things if no one intercedes.

But look: there’s a sale tomorrow.  And what beautiful things there are to buy, what wonders, what delights…

What a profit to be made.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

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Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Tor ~ Small God: Giants of Nordic Rock

[image description: A vast rock face looms over a tiny snow-covered mountain cabin amid equally-snow-covered conifers. The scene is blue-violet, lit by a bright moon. Text reads, “150, Tor ~ Small God: Giants of Nordic Rock”]


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

‘3rd Degree’ Burns ~ small god of the Over-Qualified

[image description: An earnest looking soul in a cook’s uniform – a bright orange shirt, a striped apron, and a hat, around which a University diploma can be seen. Dark acrid smoke billows up in the background. Text reads, “149, ‘3rd Degree’ Burns ~ small god of the Over-Qualified”]

He got used to being treated as a cautionary tale a long time ago.

Every time a parent points to a sanitation worker, a janitor, a cafeteria lunch lady, a salesclerk with derision in their eyes and judgment in their hearts, he is there, standing between his faithful and the cruelty of the careless, trying to intercept and absorb the blow.  He can never take the hit completely, is too insubstantial in mortal eyes to protect them in full, but he does what he can to lessen the sting, to keep them from the inevitable realization of the fact that they are seen as less in the eyes of their fellows.

He is a god.  The best of humanity has always been forced into the lowest of positions, placed there by accident of birth, by gender, by the absence of connections, and he has been there from the beginning, since the first time someone laboring well below their capabilities wept to the heavens.  He’s had time to understand two great truths about the universe:

That without his faithful, the world would crumble into ruin.  There are no unskilled jobs, only jobs that people have chosen, for whatever reason, not to value.  Leave the garbage to pile up and the hospitals will be overwhelmed in weeks with all manner of disease—overwhelmed, and unable to provide aid, as their own waste will be swallowing them whole.  Leave the bottoms unwiped and watch the babies rot in their diapers, leave the burgers unflipped and watch the hungry mob lose all patience with the world.  No unimportant positions, no unimportant people.

And that humans, being hierarchal creatures, will reinvent the hierarchy of worthy and unworthy over and over again, despite the fact that it serves them poorly.  They will always push someone to the bottom to place themselves at the top.  And his faithful, being only mortal, will never have the time he’s had to find acceptance of their lot.  This will happen, over and over again, forever.

But he can shield them.  He can deflect.  And he can love them.

That much, he is more than overqualified to do.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

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Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

Yuri Polithane ~ Small God of Bubble Helmets

[image description: A bald cosmonaut floats upside down in space, where the Milky Way and a panoply of stars reflect in his spherical helmet. Text reads, “147, Yuri Polithane ~ Small God of Bubble Helmets”]

He is a god of frontiers.

He is born again in every child who turns their eyes toward the stars, toward the sea, toward the horizon, and he grows with them.  He is young and old at the same time, all ages and all things, and always looking outward.

Windows are his.  Portholes.  External cameras.  He is not a god of surveillance, but he is a god of seeing, of the endless need to behold the wonders of the cosmos, of the world around us.  He only wants to look.  He has no desire to settle, or to damage, or to claim.

When first a maritime explorer donned a diving helmet, Yuri was there to egg them on, cajoling and encouraging, begging them to let him loose on new sights and new experience.  And when humanity set their skills toward space, Yuri was on the first satellite out, waiting for the moment when his faithful would join him, when they would see.

He was there with Laika when the heat grew too great, when her breathing grew too labored, and he did what good gods have always done, and held her close for so long as he was needed.  He looks now in her honor, as he looks in the honor of all those who have reached, whether of their own volition or at another’s.  She was not his by choice, but she was his at the end, and he is a god of his word.

He only hopes that you can have the chance to see.

He hopes you will keep your eyes open, and take him with you when you go.


Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com

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Sharon Cher Alike – Small God of Contagious Yawns

[image description: An Orangutan yawns widely, showing off her remarkable dentation – despite the fact that it’s still broad daylight in the rainforest. Text reads, “146, Sharon Cher Alike, Small God of Contagious Yawns”]

Okay, so Carl, you were—you were—excuse me.  Just need to…

What?  No!  No, you’re not boring me!  Just sucking all the air out of the room so I need to—need to—damn it!

All right.  So you were saying that you got enough sleep, you feel completely rested, you have no earthly reason to have yawned in your husband’s face, but you did and now he’s mad at you?  And you can’t figure out why you did it, except that the cat yawned and then you couldn’t hold it back?  Okay.  I think—I think—

I think you should stop saying the word “yawn,” Carl, before I come over there and shut your stupid mouth!

Everyone, take shallow breaths and try not to make eye contact.  Sharon Cher Alike is here.

What do you mean “who’s that”?  Did you not read your Manual of Supernatural Office Threats?  It was in your orientation packet!  You signed a form swearing you’d finished the whole thing!  I—oh, I am surrounded by amateurs.  Always amateurs.

Sharon Cher Alike is the small god—yes, small god, lowercase g, stop interrupting me, Carl—of contagious yawning.  Once she comes into the room, any time someone else yawns, you’re going to have to fight the urge to do the same.  And sometimes “yawn” is just another way of saying “opens their mouth too widely in the middle of ranting about their husband getting mad because they yawned in his face the night before.”  Oh, don’t glare at me, Carl, it’s obvious that Sharon followed you here!  You brought a god into the office!  Did we ask you to bring a god into the office?  No we did not!

Today’s meetings are going to be a misery, and it’s all your fault, so maybe unruffle your feathers before I unruffle them for you.

Everyone, try to keep your mouths shut.  No yawning.  If she doesn’t have anything to do for long enough, she may just leave.  If that doesn’t work, one of us will have to donate our evening to a French art film marathon, and no one has the time for that.

No, I don’t know why we have a god for this.  Why do we have a god for anything?

All right, now, back to work.  Carl, if you need to whine about your home life, make it an email.

Meeting dismissed.


Join Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story) Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com

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iBandit ~ The small god of Electronic Gambling

[image description: A mobile phone rests on a huge pile of US one dollar bills. A wee robot with a slot machine arm and two cartoonish silver feet is emerging from it, green pupils spinning in its three eyes and a US 20 dollar bill in its mouth. Text reads, “145, iBandit ~ The small god of Electronic Gambling”]

Doesn’t feel like real money when it’s a swipe card or a button on a screen, does it?  Does it?  Doesn’t feel like gambling when it’s a loot box of random cosmetics and power boosts that can make your character better, does it?  Does it?  Doesn’t feel like gambling when it’s a cattle prod shot straight into the happy chemical dopamine factory inside your skull, when it’s making your synapsis light up with happy funtime feelings, when it’s not real, not real, not real until the bill comes due.  Plenty real then, every time, and that’s the biggest gamble of them all: can you keep playing until the piper comes for payment?  Can you keep the party going?

Pleasure Island is everywhere thanks to them.  They have brought the lights and dazzle and glory of the midway to every pocket, to every home and every hand, and they are with you for every microtransaction, for every midnight call of “it’s only a dollar for another spin, what’s a dollar, I can afford a dollar?” that doesn’t account for the hundred dollars already poured into the gaping electronic maw.

They are a god without care and without compassion, and that don’t mind you breaking yourself against their stygian shore.  They were born of human innovation, and one day they will die when there are no more humans left to innovate, to toss virtual coins into their collection plates and exalt in their potential gains.  They know nothing of tomorrow, nothing of yesterday; they dream only of the now, of the glory and the glitter, the lights, the buzzing chimes.

They are always victorious.  After all, the house, as they say, always, always wins.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/

The Small God Ginger

[image description: A lovely woman with freckles, a mass of wavy red hair, a diamond ring as big as the Ritz, a leopard print cocktail dress and scarf, and lacquered nail holds a ginger root. Text reads, “17-1444, The Small God Ginger”]

She didn’t always look like this.  Blame the British for occupying Malaysia in the late 18th century, when they encountered the ginger flower for the first time and came home calling all their redheads gingers.  As if the redheads of the British Empire didn’t have enough to worry about, what with the witch hunts and assorted forms of libel.  But then, the people of Malaysia also had better things to worry about at the time, what with being occupied by the British, who they hadn’t exactly invited to the neighborhood, and maybe we need to move on from the origins of terms, because this is a conversation that could go on all day…

Her image was beginning to shift again when the 20th century rolled around and a television show mirroring the seven deadly sins stranded on a desert island with the Devil Himself began to air, presenting a new redheaded girl to the world.  Her name, of course, was Ginger, and Ginger found herself locked into another century of looking like a pasty white girl, sparking discussions of cultural appropriation whenever she comes to one of the culinary god potlucks and recipe exchanges.  But she doesn’t complain.

She’s here to add a little zing to your life, a little flavor to your savor, and a little joy to your tastebuds.  She only wants you to enjoy what you’re eating.  And if that’s not enough, she has medicinal benefits, too; she’ll help your cold, ease your congestion, and hasten your recovery.  And she’ll do it all with a smile on her face and a red flower in her hair, glorious to the last, forever happy to be here.

The great small god Ginger.  Long may she blossom and grow.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/3 notes

Premeditated Murdoch ~ Small God: Yellow Journalism

[image description: An ugly puckered old coot scowls from an old TV screen that’s been turned 90 degrees to the right. He is bright yellow against an orange backdrop, and badly pixilated. Text reads, “143, Premeditated Murdoch ~ Small God: Yellow Journalism”]

He’s aiming for the big time. He always has been. And he’ll tell you, if you ask, that he’s an All-American God, as patriotic as sunshine and apple pie and the fourth of July—all things, that if you stop and think about them, aren’t patriotic at all. They’re just things. Eating apple pie doesn’t make you a good person. Everyone gets sunshine, and the fourth of July happens all over the world, whether there are people there or not. Patriotism is an illusion, and illusions are his true stock in trade.

Murdoch claims to be a god of truth. He is, and has always been, a god of lies. He tells you what he wants you to hear, what he wants you to think, what he wants you to believe, and he tells you that anyone who tells you different is lying. He has managed to find several loopholes in human thought, weaknesses we are all born to bear, and he weaponizes them against his audience. Conservatism bias, for example: the first thing a person hears on a given subject is the thing most likely to be believed, no matter how untrue it is. All Murdoch has to do is make sure he’s the first voice on any subject, and he’ll be the most trusted source of information.

And he wants that. Oh, how he wants that. He wants you to believe his lies, because believing his lies is believing in him, and he’s aiming for the big time. He wants to be the only god anyone believes about anything, and that would be fine, if he wasn’t a compulsive liar.

He wants you to be frightened. He wants you to know that you have no hope unless it’s endorsed by his panel of experts, unless he’s the one selling it to you. He wants you to be so afraid of the world that you can’t hear anything he doesn’t tell you, and once he has made himself your one true god, he wants you to spread his gospel. This is how he gets to rule the world.

And oh, he’s going to.

Unless we stop him.


Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) 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:

Tumblr: https://smallgodseries.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smallgodseries

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/smallgodseries/

Homepage: http://www.smallgodseries.com/