It's a good read, really! JimmOD , Jul 8, They're quite bad. I have no problems with sexual fantasies in books. Specifically, BDSM doesn't bother me. But the books start out mediocre and go downward with each one published. Last edited: Jul 9, Interest rising I mean, I would never read such mindless drivel. I assume used book stores would have these types of books for sale not that I would actually read them They are a combo of being very much of their time -- stylistically for the 's, 70's and into the 80's -- and also of Norman's crazy brain.
These things weren't simply purient, necessarily, but approached as boundary pushing, just as there was a lot of cultural boundary pushing going on in society. Norman's stuff was weird and into the fringe, although the original early novels really don't have that much actual sex in them. I gather they got a bit crazier and sex-obsessed as they went on.
It's a basic portal SF novel series -- not fantasy -- with actually very interesting insectoid alien overlords. It has a lot of military action in it, which was the main purpose. Women characters beat people up, but are made slaves and enjoy being broken into submissiveness. It's sort of your basic Playboy fantasy idea of a SF planet, Playboy also being much of that time, with master-slave sex ethos and a social caste system that sort of takes off of Asia. So it's definitely a fringe series, though it's not that far off of other sorts of adventure SF around that time, and it enjoyed cult popularity as fringe in the 's.
The first few books will probably not burn your eyes; DAW published a lot of them, but dropped the series eventually for low sales in the late 's. The third book, Priest-Kings of Gor, is actually considered a decent SF novel in some quarters, but just that one. Plus, pterodactyls! But also bondage and some of the most ridiculous philosophy you'll ever hear in your life. So if that sort of thing doesn't appeal, there are lots of other better planet chomping classic SF works to read. But hey, I did read the first four; I've never hid it and I'm a girl.
Just how bad is John Norman's Gor Series?
Read them in my teens, as did a lot of teens because nobody cared what we were reading. Gor is actually quite useful for arguing, in fact, about grimness and sex in past SFF, and the idea that teens are less sheltered now in their reading than they were in the past. KatG , Jul 10, Mark Lawrence , Jul 10, I have to confess I plowed through the lot of them in my early teens as Kat says, no one was looking If you skim the endless pervy lectures and just read the actual stories which halves the length of most of the later books!
If you want a quick chuckle, google "Houseplants of Gor" for an absolutely perfect parody. PeteMC , Jul 11, Norman has at least one actual strength as a writer. He's a decent world-builder. Unfortunately, he's terrible at maintaining the narrative flow. Many times throughout the series you'll see him stop right in the middle of a tense action scene to add in a 4-paragraph digression about the Gorean compass or the Gorean calendar or the native wildlife in the area.
His actual prose stylings are an acquired taste. I actually kinda like it, but I find the stuffy, overly formal, quasi-academic style see also: H. Lovecraft, Arthur Conan Doyle, and others evocative. Even so, he still occasionally manages to make even me flinch.
by John Norman
The less said about his dialogue, the better. I will echo what others have said: The first 7 are halfway decent. They're not great , but they're not terrible either. And Book 3 Priest-Kings of Gor is indeed the best of the bunch. There's a few chapters which revolve around the BDSM angle and the feisty woman yearning to submit to a manly and virile Dom, but the bulk of the novel is a very respectable entry in the sword-and-planet genre.
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If you are curious about the books and would like to get your feet wet while sparing yourself the potentially soul-crushing process of actually reading them, I've got a chapter-by-chapter "Where I Read" thread going on over at the RPG. I post some excerpts from each chapter, add in my trenchant commentary, and other folks join in on the discussion.
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Currently closing in on the end of Book 2, so you can get a very good idea of what the first two books are like, at least. Afterburner , Oct 12, You must log in or sign up to reply here.
Slaves must strive for perfection. Gorean women retain the right to refuse slavery. First read this in the mid 70s and just finished reading it again.
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Tarnsman of Gor
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Publisher overstock copy. Condition: GOOD. Has little wear to the cover and pages. Contains some markings such as highlighting and writing.
Condition: Used: Very Good. Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Seller Inventory John Norman.
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