Sunday, October 01, 2006
Book Report: Nomads of Gor by John Norman (1969, 1973)
This is Book IV in the Chronicles of Counter-Earth saga. In this book, Tarl Cabot (formerly of Earth) goes south to the land of the vicious Wagon People to seek the egg of the Priest-Kings. While there, he meets and impresses the Ubar of the Tuchuks (leader of one of the wagon people), participates in the siege of an unconquered city on the Southern plains, and saves a recent arrival from Earth who was destined to become a slave girl.

This book, unlike the preceding one, goes on a bit more about the slave nature of women and takes place over a longer period and amongst mere men, so it went more slowly than the preceding book. These paperbacks clock in at 350 pages of small print, so they're longer than the average paperback of the era, but as I mentioned in the review of Priest-Kings of Gor, they're deep, richly-textured books with a lot of expository information to impart. The exposition doesn't get in the way of the voice too much as it's an educational, study-like narrative of the events on Gor, but it does make for some long reads.

The voice of these books, by the way, is very satisfying and fitting for the study they provide. Although Cabot is a storied warrior, he spends much of the time watching the natives in action and occasionally participating to slay a dozen men or something. As such, Cabot retains his link to normal men, making the character approachable and contextual to readers that he would lack if we were a native of Gor or if he were quite the centerpiece of the stories. Instead, the centerpieces tend to be the titular characters and the world they know.

I've two more Gor books, number V and VIII; I'm going to shelf them for a while and get on with other things.

As an interesting side note, I tend to leave books out on the end table by the sofa where I read most nights. A couple of times I noticed that I had to dig through magazines and other books to get the book I'd laid down atop the stack the night before. I challenged my wife on it, and my suspicions were confirmed: she was actively hiding the Gor books so people in our homes wouldn't get the wrong idea about us.

Books mentioned in this review:

To say Noggle, one first must be able to say the "Nah."