Is the 11th in John Norman's (real name John Frederick Lange) series of science-fiction-cum-BDSM novels known as The Chronicles of Gor.

Now. I should explain that, for reasons best known to myself, I have actually read the first 14 Gorean novels in their entirety. To be fair, the early ones aren't all that dreadful. The first one, Tarnsman of Gor, published 1967, is engagingly stony. How else can you describe a novel where the protagonist, an English Literature lecturer turned bare-chested Boris Vallejo painting come to life flies on a giant eagle to an enemy city to kidnap the emperor's daughter and the city's sacred pebble, sorry, Home Stone, is shot down, and crashlands in a swamp where he discusses philosophy with a talking spider. Numbers two to about six or so are similarly weird and the villains include the queen of a city where everyone wears a mask, a million-year-old hyperintelligent eight-brained praying mantis, a corrupt merchant with poison teeth, and the man who fancies himself as Ubar of Ar. They fall into a nice rhythm of "Tarl Cabot goes to (subject land of Gor here) where he meets the (subject fantasy counterpart culture here) and kills the big bad and swives several quintillion chained naked slave girls." To be fair, they're not all bad as long as you're prepared to overlook the predictability and pandering. and are expecting them to be suitably and entertainingly awful.

Then this one came along. Oh Gods. This one, Slave Girl of Gor, is not only horrible but it's the exact moment where Mr Norman realised his core audience was no longer yearning virgins playing Dungeons & Dragons but fetishists and BDSM enthusiasts. And it shows.

Executive Summary

Straw feminist shown, at increasingly tedious length, the error of her ways.

A bit more detail, if you wouldn't mind?

Judy Thornton is an English major and poetess (which she repeats many times over to ensure we've got the message) who is otherwise an ordinary college student and she reckons she's the most attractive lass on campus. Apart from possibly that bitch Alicia Nevins. Until one day, she wakes up naked under an alien three-mooned sky chained to a big rock and with large barbarians talking incomprehensibilities to her and kicking or slapping her when she fails to understand. Upon where another large barbarian, this one clad in a sort of Roman legionary outfit, fights the other large barbarians to the death for her.

(Hmmm, reminds me of a party I had when I was at the Sorbonne...)

She's not rescued though. Oh no. Ooooohhhhh no. Within minutes, before this other large barbarian even knows who she is or before she's even learnt a few words of Gorean, she's, erm, how do I put this delicately? Made to show her gratitude. Yes. In the way that she describes it - "I was well used."

It just gets worse from here on in.

Needless to say, in short order she's put in with all the other chained naked slave girls in this barbarian's, whose name is Clitus Vitellius, retinue, given a fresh name, Dina, and every so often taken out and mildly raped. Which, naturally, she comes to enjoy. I believe the term "betrayed by my body" is used.

Okay. Here's a challenge for you. Go to your local university and find an English major and poetess that makes your motor hum. Kidnap her, strip her, chain her to a rock and brand her, then keep her in your back garden and every so often have your sick way with her. Then keep track of how long until she starts thinking you're the greatest thing since sliced bread and she starts to cream herself just at your shadow being cast over her oubliette. If it's before you get arrested, charged, sent down, and suffer a stairwell noncebashing in the slammer that leaves you quadraspazzed and on a lifeglug, I will pay you up to thirty pounds.

There's also scenes where Judy, or Dina, or whatever she's called, finds herself with other chained naked slave girls including one "long legged, sensuous, hot-eyed slut." This animosity allows the author to then insert gratuitous catfight scenes between tasty nude slave girls in cages. Ain't life grand.

This then goes on for four hundred or so pages. There is actually a plot, alarmingly, but it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I should explain that the Gorean novels actually, against all odds have their own mytharc which involves the Priest Kings (interplanetary logic-bound giant hyperintelligent praying mantises) battling in secret the Kurii (big bloodthirsty interplanetary yetis) for control of the Solar System, with Gor, and Earth, as the prize. It transpires that Judy Thornton, when taken to Gor, was implanted with a secret message in her brain and her enslavement is some overly complicated scheme by one agent of the Kurii to get her into the house of another agent of the Kurii and, by being told to string a bead necklace together, she will trancefully relay this message. The message? "Half Ear Arrives."

Fhat the wuck.

Some bloke therefore went to the time, effort, and expense of a return interplanetary voyage of around 186 million miles to kidnap Judy Thornton from Earth and key her brain with a secret message of little import that tells someone on the SAME PLANET HE ORIGINATED FROM that a Kurii general has landed on that planet. Is it just me, or does this make absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I mean, what was wrong with just getting a trenchcoat and a briefcase full of secret documents, meeting in a dark alley, and murmuring "The sparrow flies at midnight" to passers by until someone replies "Ten of clubs on ace of spades" and a brown paper bag is handed over in a really conspicuous manner.

And before someone says, well, they can flog off Judy Thornton for the party coffers, no, they can't. It probably cost them more to arrange her interplanetary abduction than they would ever get for selling her. Startlingly beautiful English majors and poetesses are ten a penny on Gor, we're told.

Then there's the prose. It's stumpy and involves lots of digs at feminism every so often. I am glad to see that the War on Straw was alive and well even in the 1970s.

As I said above, this novel was the turning point where the core audience of the Gorean novels became, for better or worse, BDSM enthusiasts. As such, the plot and mytharc went right out the window and the novels basically became endless scenes were series protagonist and all round Gary Stu Tarl Cabot went to another far off land and shagged all the women systematically. Who were all so won over by his irrepressibly manliness that they couldn't get enough of him. (Funnily enough, when the 13th volume, Explorers of Gor, arrived off Amazon where I bought it for £0.01 plus £2.75 p&p, it just happened to fall open at the page where he swives three chained naked slave girls in excruciating detail all at once.)

You may then be wondering why I'm singling out this particular Gorean novel for criticism when there are 29 others (yes, he's still writing them - volume 31, "Conspirators of Gor" is approaching next year, allegedly followed by volume 32, "Pension Fund of Gor") to snark at. Well, the answer is this. Most of the others are shite, but compelling shite, and you can flip over the increasingly tedious shagging. Also, I quite like the occasional read which is just non-stop action and sex. They also fail to take themselves seriously. In volume 4, the Big Bad has a man-eating jelly in his cellar that he throws his enemies to. In volume 5, Tarl manages to save the city from Cernus of the House of Cernus by winning the chess match against an expy of Bobby Fischer, the chariot tarn race, AND the gladiatorial combats, AND then escapes to expose Cernus and rescue his obligatory lust interest who is suitably grateful. In volume 8, he manages to, erm, tame, the chieftess of a tribe of nude lesbian amazons. In volume 12, there is an exchange where Tarl explains to a woman of Earth who has fallen into his hands that she's on Gor, and she knows what that means, and when she begs, "take me, Master," his response is, "I don't take orders from slaves!!". In volume 14 there is the immortal line, "Were you, Jason, given permission by some free person to engage in slut sport with that lascivious wench?". Amongst other things. The novels stumble, in the most part, from compelling shite to self parody and back again, and it is rather easy to not take them seriously. But this one... this one isn't. It's just constant, wall-to-wall unpleasantness for its own sake. If you take a shot every time Judy Thornton is well used, you will probably die of alcohol poisoning. You can't even skip over the increasingly tedious scenes in which she is well used and describes in detail her training for the 63,454th time because that is the entirety of the novel.

In short, this book is horrific even by Gorean standards. It says something when even 4chan will consider you too big a creephat if you refer to it.

Finally, chapter 19 is called "I Bead A Necklace, And Am Used For Wench Sport." This sums up the entire book, pretty much.

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