Filler of Gor (Nomads of Gor — Review)

My reviews of Gorean Saga books 1-3 can be found here.

Recently, I finished Nomads of Gor, the fourth book in the controversial Gorean Saga, and I have to say that it’s a colossal letdown. There is far too much padding, much of it having little to do with the plot. To make matters worse, the slave girl scenes the series is infamous for receive much more prominence here, and it’s not good at all. And this is from someone who cares little for feminism!

In this book, Tarl Cabot travels to the plains of the wagon peoples to seek the egg of the Priest-Kings. Along the way, he encounters a fellow Earth woman named Elizabeth Cardwell, who is rapidly enslaved. However, Safra, a devious merchant from the neighboring city of Turia also desires the egg so that he may sell it at a high price and become even richer.

Unfortunately, the action and adventure so omnipresent in the first three books is much reduced here. Instead of questing and action, we get detailed explanations of wagon nomad culture and extended scenes of slave girl abuse, to the point where it stops being sexy fun and starts becoming a bit disturbing. Indeed, it’s so bad that the main plot doesn’t begin until halfway through the book — and then the plot goes over like a lead balloon when it ends on an anticlimactic note; Tarl wins by a stroke of luck, not by any skill or cunning on his part.

The only bright spots were Kamchak’s mind games and Elizabeth’s struggle to understand Gorean culture. Those added good touches of character to an otherwise tedious story that went nowhere, but they were ultimately of little relevance. There were no new ideas explored, either, quite unlike the first three books. When a book fails even the popcorn test, there’s a big problem.

I thought the disappointment wouldn’t set in until Book 7, but it has come right now, exposing its flaws for all to see. It could’ve been so much better had they focused on the implied heist plot instead of discussing the different ways to mess up a slave girl. It felt like an anime’s filler arc, where dull episodes are made to pad out the length. I expected something better than this.

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6 Responses to Filler of Gor (Nomads of Gor — Review)

  1. Ingot9455 says:

    And yet you will find that it is one of the most beloved of the books and one many refer to as their personal favorite.

    • Rawle Nyanzi says:

      That’s…very odd, to say the least. So far, my fave is Book 2.

      • Ingot9455 says:

        I think it’s for a few reasons:

        1. Everyone would always like to be perfect and always one step ahead of the game like Kamchak. They idolize him, to the point where the SCA for many years had ‘Tuchux camps’ at their big Pennsic Wars. A quick search tells me they’re even still around: https://www.reddit.com/r/sca/comments/5lvnv4/who_are_the_tuchux/

        2. This book is less about the action adventure than it is about a cultural study, as you will run into in a number of books hence. The struggle here turns out to be for Tarl to prove himself to the Tuchux, as opposed to any particular fight. When I reread this book as an adult, I was able to see the tightness of the plotting of that particular point much better (second reading+memory).

        Somewhat obviously, this is a romanticized view of the tribal Arabic/Bedouin dashing raider – and there’s a reason Rudolph Valentino was huge in his day in his modified version in The Sheik.

        • Rawle Nyanzi says:

          Thanks for that insight into the fanbase. I only picked up this series last year, and I realky haven’t delved into its fandom.

      • Ingot9455 says:

        In any case, I think you will greatly enjoy book 5. If I recall aright, it’s far and away my favorite.

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