I wanted to try something new for the time being. As I've been working on other projects, I've been reading a lot. I've shared a few reviews on GoodReads, but with one of the books I've been reading recently, I realized that I'm probably going to have my review censored. Why do I think that? I had initially published my review for Bodom on imdb and it was rejected. I figure that putting my reviews on my own website is a better idea. This may or may not be the format I use in the future, but we'll cross that bridge as we come to it. Without further ado.
Tarnsman of gor by John Norman
I know that I'm being a bit of an idiot about it, but the weirdos on the Internet are seriously complaining about 80s metal artwork. I'm not going to pretend that I understand the current climate or anything. Heck, I recently had a girl telling me that I'm a sexist pig because I like the cover of Midnight Priest's Aggressive Hauntings.
Still, I figured a book that reads like an 80s Heavy Metal album might be fun and a bit trashy. I also expected the series to be full of sex and bang maids. I also figured the main character was going to be an author insert. That's not what I got.
Yeah, I did receive my 80s Heavy Metal album aesthetic, but the story was more like John Carter of Mars in that an average man goes to a fantastical world. The world is full of giant birds and dinosaurs that you can ride on. Holy hell, this is even more Heavy Metal than I was anticipating. The Internet weirdos tend to ignore the fact that not all women are slaves. In fact, the free women are dressed in burkas. How's that for progressive, you weirdos?
The story is about Tarl Cabot, a ginger teacher who likes fencing, going to visit his birth father on the planet Gor, a planet that rotates counter-Earth. That's why we've never seen it. Tarl is trained by his father in the art of being a tarnsman (a dude who rides giant birds for a living). However, in a final trial to prove himself, Tarl is charged with bringing back the homestone of Ar.
By the way, a homestone is just a stone that every town has. Basically think of it as capture the flag.
Unfortunately, Tarl's quest is thwarted by the Princess of Ar, Talena. On their quest they meet a giant spider and a group of raiders riding on tharlarions (the dinosaurs). Norman's writing is captivating and left me wanting to know more of this world and what the fate of Tarl and Talena was.
Tarl is a fine character but Talena is definitely my favorite. It's easy to see how the series was inspired by John Carter of Mars. However, unlike Dejah Thoris, I get the feeling that Talena can take care of herself. Talena attacks Tarl as he's trying to steal her country's homestone. She nearly falls to her death trying to stop him. After Tarl saves her life, she's not "you've saved my life, I'm eternally grateful." No, Talena tries to kill him.
Finally, we reach the sex and bangmaids. What sex and bangmaids? There aren't any. At least not in the first book. The closest we get is some light bondage play. Seriously? Fifty Shades of Grey was on the New York Times best-seller list and this is what weirdos on the Internet find offensive?
In conclusion, I thought Tarnsman of Gor was a fun read. I'm already more than halfway through the sequel Outlaw of Gor, so look forward to that one in the future.