Nomads of Gor is the fourth installment in John Norman’s series about Tarl Cabot, the professor from Earth who is now a warrior on the planet Gor (the Counter-Earth). In the last book, Priest-Kings of Gor, Tarl was instructed by the Priest-Kings to find their egg — the last hope of the insectoid Priest-King race. The egg is in the keeping of the wagon people, a fierce group of nomadic tribes. Tarl needs to find these people, infiltrate their society, get the egg, and escape.
Gor is an impressive world full of diverse and fascinating geographies, races, languages, cultures, and economic systems which John Norman describes in loving detail. This world-building is the best part of the Gorean Saga. But amongst all this diversity, one thing (surprisingly) remains the same wherever Tarl Cabot goes: every society he encounters captures pretty girls and uses them (branded, chained, and collared) as pleasure slaves.
John Norman’s favorite trick is to turn a beautiful, independent, and feisty woman into a slave. At first she’ll resist and scream “Never!”, “I hate you!”, etc. Then she is subdued by her master and made to learn her place. Soon she is happier than she’s ever been in her life because she’s learned to give in to her natural desire to be dominated by a man. (Yet, if she’s so content, I’m not sure why she still has to wear a leash.)
This is my fourth (and last) Gor book and I’ve had an epiphany. All this time I’ve been wondering why these “spirited” women don’t get together, rise up, and revolt. They walk around doing chores together, so it’d be easy to plan a night where every fiery female slave stabs or poisons her master. Now, I’ve finally realized what their problem is… they’re all idiots.
This is how it goes:
Man: You are beautiful and feisty so I want you to be my slave, wench! I will have you!
Stupid Wench #1: No way! I am a free woman and my birthday is in a few days. Then I will get my inheritance and become the richest woman in the country. I will never be your slave! NEVER! NEVER! I hate you! NEVER!
Man: Stop kicking me and punching me with your tiny fists, feisty wench! You will be my slave!
Stupid Wench #1: No! Never! And just to show you how much I hate you, I will now ask this other warrior to challenge you in a duel and I will make myself the prize. You will never have me! NEVER!
Man: Actually, I changed my mind. You are not worth fighting for.
Stupid Wench #1: What? Am I not beautiful? Don’t you want me?
Man: No, not really. I’ve got Stupid Wench #2 over there and she’s way better than you.
Stupid Wench #1: What? She has fat ankles!
Man: Her ankles are sturdy. See how well she runs next to me when I’m riding on my horse.
Stupid Wench #1: I am better than her! Fight for me!
Stupid Wench #2: I am first girl, you stupid wench! We don’t need any other stupid wenches around here. I can do all the washing, cooking, cleaning, animal grooming, poop scooping, kneeling, groveling, and man-pleasing all by myself. You will not outrank me! NEVER!
Stupid Wench #1: I am prettier than Stupid Wench #2! My ankles are not fat. Don’t you think I’m pretty?
Man: You are not worth much.
Stupid Wench #1: Fight for me! Fight for me! Put your collar on me, Master!
So Man wins Stupid Wench #1 (who loses her inheritance since she’s no longer free), outfits her in shiny new handcuffs, ankle rings, and collar, drags her by her hair, throws her across his saddle, and rides off. Stupid Wench #2 is trotting along at his side, sweating and resting her head on his thigh occasionally. Once Stupid Wench #1 is branded and settled in, she and Stupid Wench #2 jealously jostle for position — taunting each other, sneering, calling names, and sometimes even kicking, biting, and pulling hair… And yet, according to the Gorean philosophy, they’re now complete women because they have submitted to a man and are in their proper place…
This is just insulting. Not the part about women being willing to submit to men, but the fact that these women are valued only for their beauty and “spirit,” are so easily beguiled by these men’s transparent manipulations, and then are encouraged to jealously compete with each other for the man’s affections. Norman wants us to believe his women are wonderful because they’re fiery and spirited. But no, they’re not. They’re all just a bunch of idiots. I say they got what they deserve.