Somebody—and I’m not saying who but it’s one of my followers so YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID—sent me, in a spirit of impish mischief, one of the Gor novels by John Norman.
I’ve been aware of the existence of this series for years, and via cultural osmosis I already knew that they were both poorly written and sociological sludge, but I’d never actually read any of the books. I have, however, read some of the parodies like “Houseplants of Gor” and made the naive assumption that the parodies were written in an exaggeration of Norman’s style.
The biggest surprise so far has been that the parodies are not an exaggeration. If you’ve read any of the parodies, go no further. This is actually how Norman writes. It is the most amazingly easy style to ape. Imagine trying to counterfeit currency, then suddenly realizing that the original design is so laughably simple that you’re actually printing piles of real money. It’s like the Orwellian Newspeak of style—sentences that clatter forth from the fingertips with only minor intervention from the higher language centers. It is the ultimate stylistic crash-course for writers with no concern for prose. And I’m not entirely saying this to make fun of it. This is an accomplishment. God knows there have been times in my life when I hit my conclusion 8000 words into a 10,000 word essay and found myself thinking, Gee, I wish my hands could just carry on typing without me!
I read two chapters—which is honestly as far as I could get—and I am now perfectly prepared to rap out fifty pages in the Norman style. And so can you!
If the themes of female submissiveness and sexual slavery is the only thing that steered you away from these books before, fear no more. It is possible to become so entranced by the sheer monotony and predictability of the prose that you will be blissfully unaware of anything that actually happens in the story. The book I was given was titled Slave Girl of Gor, since plainly my alleged “friend” wanted me to get the worst out of the way right from the start. I was expecting little more than blatant flesh-peddling from the word go. In fact, it was only by covering one eye that I was able to realize that anything remotely sexual was happening in this book at all.
Hand to God. I am not exaggerating this even a little. The technical quality of the writing itself is so impossible that you will not notice anything else.
I’m flabbergasted. I came away from this thing feeling that I’d been baptized into some strange new cult of sentence structure. And honestly? I’m a little impressed. You have to have supreme confidence in your narrative to rely this heavily on what is possibly the worst stylistic device I have ever witnessed.
I cannot recommend these books enough, if only because this is something that you absolutely must experience to believe.