As a child of the 70′s and 80′s, I remember going into the “Waldens” book store at the mall from time to time and looking at all the sci-fi and fantasy books. This was in an era when Frank Frazetta art was all over the place and Chevy vans were like as not to have airbrushed wizards and dragons on the sides (the 70′s were crazy).
Somethig I clearly recall were the “Gor” books of John Norman. At the time, they were omni-present in book stores. But I never read them; most of my early reading was library books, and the libraries never seemed to have them. And then sometime in the 1980′s they vanished, like the fever-dream of the Carter era, never to be seen again.
But then in 2008 I have a brief stint in Maryland. And like the Carter era reborn under Obama, the Gor books returned… or at least a whole bunch of ‘em at a hole-in-the-wall used bookstore near Elkton, MD. They were cheap ($.50 each, IIRC), and looked like cheap mindless entertainment, so I bought ‘em and started reading. They started off pretty much as I expected… a goofy mis-mash of sci-fi and fantasy tropes… aliens and magic and swords and barbarians and such. Not in the slightest good literature, but decent enough mindless entertainment.
But after a couple books, a disturbing trend began to become apparent. The author started to work into the story details about the system of slavery used on the world of “Gor;” in and of itself that’s not a biggie, as slavery is a pretty much inevitable result of fantasy (or pre-industrial or non-capitalist reality). But it became clear that the author thought that slavery itself was a pretty good idea… and that it was the natural state of women. A woman unslaved and unbeated was, it seemed, a great tragedy. Sado-masochism, all that weirdass stuff. This soon became the over-riding theme of *all* of the books, overwhelming what had previously been adequate Edgar Rice Burroughs-style cheapo fantasy. Bad as the whack-you-upside-the-head-message became, the writing became boring. My stubbornness was defeated by the books awfulness and I gave up after a small fraction of the books.
I suppose maybe I shoulda Googled ‘em before reading them. Shrug. Live and learn. Well nearly fifty years after the first Gor book was written, John Norman is apparently still plugging away at them; the most recent having been published in 2013. Somehow I seem to have managed to fail to buy the newer stuff since that original purchase of old paperbacks in ’08.
So imagine my surprise to find these “unpublished Gor books” that almost seem as if they might be entertaining…
More such books at the link.
And because why not: