Strawchick and the other slave maidens realize they're at a port town. They look out and see the world around the city of Laura.
Because giving a city a girl's name in a book that is about misogyny--and don't fucking pretend it is not, Mr. Norman, I am totally on to you here--is a normal and natural thing. Like slavery!
Oh, and let me address the most horrific thing about the book. It's not the slavery, the whippings, the implied rape, the bullshit that makes Hubbard's ten-inch-penis look tame. Oh, no. It's the horrific murder of the gentle, placid comma that occurs on every single fucking page. Hide the children, kids. This is ugly.
I saw a slave girl, in a brief brown tunic, regarding us. Where the tunic parted, at her throat, I caught the glint of a steel collar.
Families of commas died for that sentence, my friends.
Now, to some of you this sentence may look passable. Well, it is not. The lovely website Reasoning with Vampires has taught me well. There are a few acceptable ways to employ a comma in writing. These are:
1. To separate two complete thoughts. These two thoughts belong together, so you can't completely sever them.
2. To separate items in a list. Apples, orange, pears and bananas go in the same catagory. Commas do not.
3. To create what the lovely Dana calls a commathetical pause. The comma, which isn't really happy about this, preforms the same job as a parenthesis without actually having to use a parenthesis.
In the case cited above? Obviously, neither one nor two apply. Three could apply, but let's take a step back and apply logic here. I know, I know, this is Gor, and we shouldn't, but it's kind of asking for it.
John is using these commas as commatheticals. But they don't need to be commatheticals. Commatheticals describe something extra, something that isn't quite part of the same thought but that for some reason needs to be there anyway. I've been scratching my head for a good example, and I decided to fall back on my own writing. Not, mind you, because I think my writing is perfect (It's self published. It's imperfect by definition) but because I edited it, I know why the commatheticals are there, and more importantly I know where they are. Anyway, this is a "good" commathetical pause:
Adrienne couldn’t help but gape, and she was no small-town girl, or Rim-world colonist, to be stunned by a shiny building.Why is that bolded part in there? Because it breaks into the sentence to provide you with information the sentence wouldn't have otherwise, It's a pause. An aside. Something whispered into a cupped hand while the real play is still going on. In the Gor example? The girl's clothing and the location of her collar are things that you just plain observe. No commas needed. And also? Where the fuck else would that collar be? On her thigh? Would it be HIGH on the THIGH, Mr. Norman?
They are transported into Laura, worldbuilding occurs, Strawchick is demeaned, and then...
There must be someone in Laura who could return me to the United States, or who could put me in touch with those who could!
And then they find male slaves who are being demeaned because, OH NOES, they were captured by WOMEN. Oh dear, what kind of brute could be captured by WOMEN? And better yet, they're the panther girls, wild women who live in the forest without men.
And then John gets his stupid on. Again.
“Some were doubtless once slaves,” said Ute. “Others were once free women. Perhaps they did not care for matches arranged by their parents. Perhaps they did not care for the ways of their cities with respect to women. Who knows? In many cities a free woman may not even leave her dwelling without the permission of a male guardian or member of her family.” Ute smiled up at me. “In many cities a slave girl is more free to come and go, and be happy, than a free woman.”Yeah. Let's refer to black/white relations in the deep south pre Civil War for a minute, shall we? Black men weren't equal to white men, but when they were free they were treated with respect. Also? You can't sell a free man to somebody they hate who will treat them badly if they are free. How the fuck can a slave girl leave her house without her master's permission? Second verse same as the first.
Also? This is basically the Taliban with dancing slave girls. This is not free anything.
Ute tries to convince Strawchick that all she really wants in life is a
I'm gonna have a fucking meltdown before this book is over.
Scratch that. Before this chapter is over. Because you remember that part back in chapter three where I said Norman got something right? And he ruined it? He must not have thought he did a good job the first time, because he just backed up and went Clara Harris on its ass:
“In your dreams,” she asked, “what sort of man is it who touches you, who binds you and carries you away, who takes you to his fortress, who forces you to do his bidding?”
I recalled how, outside the penthouse, hurrying to the garage, a man had looked at me, and had not looked away, and how, fleeing, branded, frightened, helpless, I had felt, for the first time in my life, vulnerably and radically female...I recalled the brief fantasy which had passed through my mind of myself, in such a band, marked as I was, naked in the arms of a barbarian.
You know, it is completely acceptable to have rape fantasies, but what you're fantasizing about is not being raped. It's being held down by somebody hella masculine while you're having sex. Being raped is being made to have sex when you do not want to. And it does not feel good. It's why red-yellow-green exists in bondage play. Fuck, John, even Fifty Shades of Gray got that part right. And the bigger problem here? Ute is asking "What kind of sex do you fantasize about?" and Strawchick immediately remembers a violation. It's like dumping salt in your coffee without knowing it. Then we go back into a fantasy. Sorry, kids. That part in the middle has nothing to do with consensual sex at all.
More world building occurs while we're moving on to Laura. There is an incident on the docks where a guy touches Strawchick, and instead of feeling offended she is proud, because nobody tried to touch her rivals. Right. And then we get the next wall of stupid John Norman wants to slap us with today.
“It is hard for a white silk girl to be beautiful,” said Targo.Yes, guys. Elinor "Strawchick" Brinton, who manipulated her way through college via the power of her va-jay-jay, who was a professional model and who has been in the hands of slavers for over a month now, is a virgin. We are expected to buy that this manipulative, bitchy, stupid girl kept her legs crossed and never accidentally ruptured her hymen pole vaulting or bycycling or something. Strawchick has never had sex. All of her problems with men and her resistance to slavery boils down to she never had sex.
Dude, You're John Norman. You're writing a novel series about bondage sex slaves. There is absolutely no reason for you to have a fucking virgin/whore complex. Or is this the same whore/virgin whore thing Hubbard had going for him?
The girls get taken to some compound, where there are lots of other girls and...hey, everybody in this book is white.
...yeah. I'm not touching this one with a ten foot pole. Moving on.
Compound. Lots of other slave girls. Long conversation about hair braiding and girls wanting to touch other girls. Torgo is here to buy some of these other girls, and he chooses women who respond to being manhandled a certain way. Apparently this indicates the inner slave, and suddenly I'm having a Yu-gi-oh "heart of the cards" flashback. But hey, Strawchick, we haven't heard from your pride in a while:
I thought, however, that none of them had responded as I had responded.
Thanks. We needed to be reminded our narrator is a bitch. Also, she gets to feed the woman that was kidnapped last chapter. How does she treat her fellow unwilling captive?
I was given the task of feeding her. When I first unhooded her and removed the gag, she had pleaded with me that I help her escape, or tell others of her plight. What a fool she was! I would be beaten for such an act, perhaps even impaled! I told her, “Be silent, Slave!”
But Strawchick! Maybe she could help you get back to the states!
Moving on. Strawchick gets something called the "Stabilization Serums" which I guess is the bug-eyed alien elixir of immortality. It hurts. We go into great detail on this. After these shots are over, her guard almost rapes her, and then backs down because she is a virgin--I'm sorry, "White silk" and must be protected.
I repeat this: virginity is like the pop-top on a jar of pickles. It only has value to the consumer.
Strawchick is coming to terms with her captivity, and even begins wanting a master. Because, you know, Stockholm Syndrome does not exist in this world. And paragraph after paragraph just makes me want to hurl.
I was so beautiful that they would settle for nothing short of having absolute power over me. I smiled to myself. I had been found interesting enough, and beautiful enough, to enslave!Yeah. No.
But because she has accepted her fate, she gets a promotion: She'll be the eleventh girl on Torgo's chain. Given that we're down to sixteen other girls, this is heady stuff to our Strawchick. This means that she is almost beautiful. She's honored.
They also find out they're being taken to Ko-ro-ba (I am writing that as Koroba from now on) to be trained as pleasure slaves. Also, the kidnapped woman?
This time, when I fed the new girl, the former Lady Rena of Lydius, I permitted her to eat at her own pace, and gave her the water bag more than once.
When she had finished she looked at me. “May I speak?” she asked.
I saw that the hood, her gag and the bonds had taught her slavery. “Yes,” I said.
“Thank you,” she said. I kissed her, and then regagged and rehooded her.
Stockholm Syndrome has set in there as well.
Then the girls have to serve food to a bunch of men. And beg permission to serve them. And then they're thrown meat as part of a game, and Lana dances, and I am SO READY for this chapter to be over, and it isn't. And you have no idea the HUGE number of info dumps I have jumped in trying to get even this far. A guard wants to have sex with Strawchick, and she doesn't know if she wants it, but she is white silk and WHY IS THIS CHAPTER NOT OVER YET and then Strawchick says this:
I did not want slave fires to be ignited in my belly. I sensed how fiercely they might burn, how needful they might make me. I did not want to be so owned, put so at the mercy of men. I recalled how the small man on Earth had assured me, when I lay bound before him, on my own bed, that I would learn to crawl and beg.Okay, one more time, and this is the last time I swear: BEING RAPED DOES NOT MAKE YOU WANT MORE SEX.
And then the camp is attacked. Thank fucking God. Only it's panther girls here to humiliate the men, they don't give two shits for the women, and the chapter is not over yet.
The lead panther girl is called Verna. She ties all the slave girls to the feet of their masters, and gives this little speech:
How beautiful she was, and proud and fierce, in the brief skins and gold ornaments. She was beautifully figured and she carried herself arrogantly before them, taunting them with her beauty, and spear.
“I am Verna,” she told them, “a panther girl, of the High Forests. I enslave men, when it pleases me. When I tire of them I sell them.” She walked back and forth before them. “You are tarsks and beasts,” she told them. “We despise you,” she said. “We have outwitted you, and captured you. We have bound you."
You wanna bet what's going to happen to her in a couple chapters?
We're gonna find out. They take Strawchick with them into the forest and THANK YOU GOD, the chapter ends.