Series: Chronicles of Counter-Earth #4
Published: 1969 Genres: Science Fiction
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In Nomads of Gor, the red-headed Tarl Cabot travels to the desert to seek the egg that could save the Priest-Kings’ race. The desert is populated by the Wagon People, a wild and fierce group of herders/warriors. Tarl quickly befriends Kamchak, leader of the Tuchuck tribe. Tarl travels with their group and is transplanted into its culture and politics.
The whole sex slave thing is a bit more pronounced in Nomads of Gor than in earlier volumes in the series, and for the first time, we see what happens when a woman from Earth is transported to Gor. Elizabeth Cardwell, a secretary in New York, goes to a job interview and wakes up in the Gorean desert. Tarl Cabot is the only one who can understand her language, and she quickly ends up as Kamchak’s slave. Elizabeth adapts strangely well, taking the name Vella and becoming pleased with her new role. Norman explains that women on Earth aren’t any freer, and sees the modern lifestyle as it’s own form of slavery. While I wouldn’t go that far, I will say that at least Gor doesn’t have government shutdowns.
If you can get past the slavery thing, Norman lovingly creates a rich and complex world. The Tuchucks are a combination of Native American and Mongol influences, and remind me a bit of the Dothraki in A Game of Thrones. Courage and honor are highly valued, but intelligence even more so. The Tuchucks rely on trickery and wit as tools to help protect themselves and defeat their enemies. They’re also an irreverent lot, worshiping nature rather than the Priest-Kings, which makes them immune to the religious politics that emerge in the cities.
Even though I know that objectively these books are godawful, I can’t stop reading them. They’re a guilty pleasure for evenings when I want to escape to a world where life is simple, heroes are brave and honorable, and there’s always something new to discover (but in a slightly overplayed pulpy way).