BOOK REVIEW - JOHN NORMAN – SLAVE GIRL OF GOR. 1977. Star Books W. H. Allen.
Eleventh book in the appalling series of twenty plus Gor novels, and one of the first to introduce the new deeply sexist and misogynistic attitude towards women demonstrated by the author. Earlier books, from Tarnsman of Gor (the first in the series) onwards, dealt with an alternative world and the adventures of an Earthling, Tarl Cabot. The books have always been highly derivative of the much superior works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
While the early work was fairly straightforward sword and sandal, hero V monster and pirate, the later works took on a new dimension, the slavery and subjugation of women becomes the central economic and sexual driving force of all life on Gor.
The Slave Girl is Judy Thornton, a college student from Earth who finds herself kidnapped and transported to Gor, where her clothes fall off and she is immediately taken as a slave to a caravan of men and their slaves. Judy goes through a series of tests, trials, futile escape attempts, raping, and lashings, before she finally begins to accept that sexual slavery is actually good for her. She recognizes that the brutal men of Gor are actually more virile and happy than the bleeding heart feminized, men of Earth. Here men fight and subjugate women, who are happy to serve their masters in return for more rape and dominance.
On Gor the strong woman is one who knows her place is to serve a strong man. Feminism, emancipation, etc, are futile values.
There is a feeble plot as such, involving a slave collar and secret efforts to over-power the Priest Kings of Gor, but essentially, the story is about Judy learning her place in the sphere of things, and accepting her role as a BDSM slave to her new masters who treat her literally as property and an economic commodity.
The sheer repetition of the passages in a Gor novel renders them barely readable. If a character kneels we are told this five times over as if telling us once might mean we miss the point (as if it was that important half the time anyway). The pace of the action is incredibly slow, as it frequently stops and starts and recaps on previous points.
Early Gor books were less demeaning to women. Exotic and erotic storytelling is something I welcome, but the Gor books are devoid of any genuine sexual chemistry; the dominance is hateful and embittered. It reads like the author’s contempt for women who he couldn’t seduce in real life.
The books have created a language and a cultural attitude that has influenced real life BDSM sects, and John Gordon has written books and articles in support of the culture. A sex cult operating in Darlington, England was recently exposed in the media as having been influenced by the Gor novels. See /cults-darlington.gor.bdsm.sect.htm
It is scary that anyone could find these mind numbingly dull books entertaining enough to want to copy in life at all.
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