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Kajira of Gor (Gorean Saga) Paperback – June 30, 2007
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Everybody knows the basics---but I don't always see this series of books reviewed in a way that I would consider to be accurate, or even appropriate.
John Norman is constantly berated as a misogynist gender-bashing sexist---and, if the trappings and settings of the books are to be taken in a very superficial way, then I suppose there is some merit to these claims. But I can attest to a much greater depth in these works than often meets the eye (or the psychology) of the average page-eater.
Very often, and in many ways, Mr. Norman illustrates that it is the women in this series of novels who are the deepest characters---the strongest---the most noble---the most complex---and, assuredly, the most interesting. Without giving away any of the plot elements of this book, if there is a theme that is being explored here, it is the same theme that is almost universally manifested in these stories---that the female of the species, whether they be of Earth or of Gor, is exceedingly superior to the male.
The guys in these books are grudgingly typical---boorish, power-hungry, easily led, and always adhering to a shallow "gimme gimme" philosophy that drags them through the plot as if they were the ones in chains---and not the women they so fatuously profess to "own."
But this is only a starting point for the gender-specific character development that Norman grants us. It goes much deeper than it looks on the surface.
I am not here to give my own views on these matters---but only to alert the on-the-fence prospective reader of the Gor series that these matters are here to be found and confronted and, ultimately, to be revealed in their fullest nature---which is done in ways that I, as an avid reader of these books, always find satisfying and rewarding.
As for that, it is difficult to find any living writer who has managed to delve so deeply into the dense and complicated phycho-sexual nature of today's woman. It's a tricky place to go---especially tricky to bring anything of literary value back from there---but Norman does it, time after time. And I, for one, respect and admire his work in that regard.
So don't be one of those readers who gets hung up on the flashy, trendy, superficial cinematic effects that accompany this literary journey. Look beneath it. You'll find much of value there.