Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dancer Of Gor - My Thoughts Thus Far

I've heard many things about the "Counter-Earth Saga", aka:  the series by John Norman about the planet Gor. Some saying they're awesome, some saying that they're terrible.

However, when I saw that Dancer of Gor was on one of my favorite websites for books, Thriftbooks.com, I decided, "What's the harm, it's only about $6 (shipping included!) and it sounds interesting", so I got it.

So far, in all honesty, it's not that bad. At least, not the story, anyway, in my opinion.



The book revolves around a librarian named Doreen who is shy and represses her sexuality. There are times where she feels she belongs elsewhere, like in a different time, where women like her were submissive to strong, dominant.... well, manly men.

After meeting a mysterious, dominant, otherworldly man in her library, she begins to take Bellydance classes and practices alone in the library after-hours. On one such night, she is dancing and lo and behold, there are slavers from Gor. There to take her away to their planet to become a slave (one of the slavers, actually being the mysterious man she encountered a few months before). On Gor, she is then trained and auctioned off to the highest bidder as a pleasure slave.

So far, I love the story. This is one of, if not the the only, book that I've found that blends both Bellydance *and* Bondage elements. Trust me, you don't find that often. As a general rule of thumb, alot of people think that only Ultra-feminists do Bellydance, so as a kinky Slave who *does* Bellydance, finding something that I can relate to on both of those fronts is very rare, but awesome. So, just so you all will know, I may be a wee bit biased on that bit.

That being said, I wish *SO MUCH* that I had a time machine right now. Because, if I did, I would do one of two things (or both):

1: Knock John Norman's editor over the head and take his/her place.
2: Show John Norman the wondrous beauty of things like punctuation, making large (sometimes several page long) paragraphs into more manageable chunks, and showing him that there is no need to repeat bits over and over again.

Yes, #2 shows what I do not like about Dancer of Gor so far.

We'll start with punctuation. Now, this only (so far) appears in one paragraph of what I've read, but it's enough to put it up here. It is literally a run-on sentence from anyone's worst nightmares:

Chapter 4: The Whip


I screamed suddenly under it awakening under it startled not believing it not expecting it the suddenness it was like lightening the cracking sound like the sky breaking the snap like fire my body wrenching I pulling upwards the chain on my neck I fell to my side I pulled at the chain then the snap again no no please no so sharp so loud the fire the pain I screamed I was naked the chain cut my neck "Kneel," he said, "head to the floor," I obeyed then the snap the cracking sound again the lightning I fell to my stomach "Kneel, " he snarled, "head to the floor" I sobbing obeyed.


Yep, this pic sums it up.
~Dancer of Gor; by John Norman

O.O Oh my gosh, my EYES!!! O.O

Let me break this down for y'all: there are 79 words in the above paragraph *before* even getting to any punctuation (and even then it's just to show dialogue), for a total of 112 words before even a period is used. I'll repeat that figure for you all again: one-hundred twelve words are in that sentence! That. Is. ALOT!

I think (possibly?) what Mr. Norman was trying for, was a bit conveying racing thoughts, fear, and confusion. But still, that can be accomplished with punctuation, and it makes thing a hell of alot more readable.

Now, for paragraphs. This, too, is one of those "My eyes! They BURN!!!" situations. Maybe its just me, but I think that things are much easier on the eyes when writing is split into nice, manageable bits. Paragraphs are a great thing, because of this. It honestly keeps me from just skimming over whole areas of text, it separates thoughts, and it just makes things look better, especially when it is in a novel or something relatively long (imagine this blog post with no paragraphs. Goodness O.O)

Mr. Norman, probably doesn't agree with me on that one. Right at the very, very beginning of Dancer of Gor, there is a paragraph that is SIX PAGES LONG. Yes, you read that right, six. It was so bad I honestly thought that maybe there were paragraphs, but that there was no indentations or paragraph breaks to separate them, until I got to the seventh page and saw, that yes, at the beginning of the paragraph, it is, in fact, indented. There were plenty of good places he could have split that one, long, torturous paragraph into much more smaller, but still effective paragraphs.

And then, for the other part that I'm not very fond of: the repetition. Now, I went into reading Dancer of Gor hearing about how repetitious some parts in the Gor books were, and all, and for a bit I didn't encounter any, until I got to one part, and then another.

The first was during a bit where Doreen and some other slave girls were being transported to the Auctions where they would be sold.

I then heard, it startling me, too, and frightening me, too, and even more than before, a stick beating savagely on the side of the wagon. I heard, too, the shrill screaming of a woman's voice. It was a very ugly sound...


~Dancer of Gor; by John Norman


Doreen then contemplates about the woman for a little bit, basically wonders what's up with her and all and then tries to put it out of her mind...

Until, that is, she decides to bring it up again. And again, and again, and again....

I thought again of the woman who had cried out, beating on the side of the wagon.

[....]

I was afraid, remembering the woman who had beaten on the wagon.

[....]


I was truly afraid of women such as she who had beaten on the wagon.

[....]


I thought again of the woman who had frightened me so, she who had beaten on the side of the wagon.

~Dancer of Gor; by John Norman


/Facepalm.


And then, when Doreen actually gets to the Auction:

I sat on the long, heavy, wooden platform, raised about a foot above the dirt, one of several in this exposition area, in this annex to the sales barn, naked, my feet tucked back, near my left thigh, my ankles crossed, my left hand on my left ankle, my weight muchly on the palm of my right hand, on the platform. A chain was on my neck, an individual chain. It was about five feet long. It ran from a ring set in the platform to my collar.


~Dancer of Gor; by John Norman


Alright then, nothing wrong with that, it's setting the scene (Albeit, the first sentence is a little long, but still, at least there's some commas to help a little), and like most of the book so far, in my opinion, it makes it pretty easy for me to visualize in my mind all the places, scenarios, etc.

Except it is repeated around three more times within that chapter. Each time it is repeated, there are little changes to it, like for example it talks about the lot number written on her breast, and other things, but other than those additions to the paragraphs, the text basically remains the same.

Okay, come on, Johnny-boy. We get that a woman beat on the side of the wagon (and that Doreen wasn't really fond of her). And we get that Doreen was sitting on a wooden platform and how she was sitting. I'll say it again, Mr. Norman: WE. GET. IT.

But still, other than those things, I still find it is a pretty good read, even if it is mainly for the story itself (and the Bellydance/Bondage connection). I will definitely continue reading it and will probably give updates as I go through the book.

Thanks for reading :)
Persephone

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