Friday, 26 January 2007

Slaves and Masters

Dr. John Lange, professor at Queens College of the City University of New York has written a series of books under the pen name John Norman. The stories are set on Counter Earth, more commonly known as Gor. That which is peculiar to Gor and what fascinates most readers, I believe, is the social organisation of said planet. Women, on the whole, are more dependant on men than in our everyday life and one expression of that is the frequent enslavement of them. In fact it is the main theme of the books and Norman does elaborate at length on the details and practices concerning female slavery.

When these books are discussed, it is quite common to state that they are misogynous and badly written. I can understand that they are perceived as misogynous and to a certain extent they are but they are not badly written. Norman is actually, in my mind, quite good at describing his world and the adventures there. On a more critical note, it can be said that he tends to be a bit tedious when it comes to lengthy descriptions of the locks of collars and the different ways of tying a woman to a yoke or things like that.

Still Gor is a fascinating world where women often find themselves naked and in chains at the feet of strong men. A slave girl is an animal that can be bought and sold at the leisure of their owners. Norman maintains - at least in his books - that this is an expression of a natural order where the the dominant male submit the female to his wishes and where female slavery is the socially accepted extension of that. You may have all sorts of objections to that but the fantasy about female slavery does not cease to attract.

The first book I read was, I believe, Vagabonds of Gor, the 24th in the series. I was attracted to the books by their covers (see the lovely painting by Boris Vallejo, above, although it is not for that book!) and was, truly shocked when I read it. There is a sequence at the beginning when the hero rescues a woman in the marshes. It is nothing unusual about that but instead of being the perfect gentleman, he keeps her naked and bound to his raft and generally treats her badly. She is his captive and he is not lenient with her. As you may gather, this excited me immensely and I enjoyed how the author broke the rules of ordinary adventure books.

I do have fantasies about that world or about worlds inspired by it, where I have to kneel before my captor in the way slaves do on Gor, with straight back, hands on my thighs and my knees spread wide. In this way you open up your body, and your sex, to your captor and offer it to him. And, of course, you are naked when you do it.

1 comment:

Simon Kade said...

Those books were quite a welcome discovery in the days before the internet.