Oh, the story is there. I know it's there. I'm confident in my abilities. There is more of a story to Gray Fox today than there was yesterday, and I'm confident that I will have the full story, plot and all, by Tuesday. Which is also when I figure I'll be done with it.
The good news? After this, it is on to Project: Dragon, which has been languishing in this special hell for about a year and a half now. If I can reshuffle the plot points in Gray Fox, Project:Dragon has a hope of survival. Which I am glad for, because I heart that book so very much.
My point? I'd rather review Captive of Gor and be enjoyably drunk than muddle my way through Casey's confrontation with (CENSORED). And that in itself is sad, sad, sad shit. Which will be better tomorrow, when I am not tired from work, and I have properly assimilated that my job? As The Writer? Is to fuck with you.
Something that John Norman has never quite grasped.
Where were we?
...right. Strawchick being confronted by big animal...thing. This is why I've been avoiding this book like it has plague.
She cowers in front of the chained up animal that had entertained her not too long ago (I am not looking up how long ago this damn thing appeared in the book. You cannot make me. There is not enough booze in the world) and realizes that Dude In Clown Paint (seriously. There is a dude talking to her, and he is in clown paint, and we are supposed to be intimidated, and not thinking about Insane Clown Posse) (Who I have never listened to in my life) sounds familiar. Oh, noes! HE IS THE MAN THAT KIDNAPPED HER BACK ON EARTH! What does this dastardly, dastardly man say to her, having reaquired his chosen Earth-slave?
“Hello, Cookie,” he said.I swear to God in heaven, I copy-pasted that directly out of the Kindle. This part, too:
“You’re a pretty little cookie,” he said.
I am shaking in my baby-seal skin leather boots. (/Megamind awesomeness) (and awesomeness in general)
So then the Cookie-man suddenly goes all Gorean "Kneel, bound slave" on Strawchick, and of course she just sits in the grass like a good little pleasure slave, because All Women Are Slaves For Realsies.
Oh, and this happens:
I now, commonly, knelt immediately, naturally, appropriately, gracefully, pleasurably, not thinking about it, in the position of the pleasure slave, but I did not do so now, for I was terrified.
One of the "rules" of writing is that every word you attach to a noun dilutes all the other words attached to it. So if you say it is a "stormy day", well, nothing happens to "Stormy" because there's nothing to dilute. "Gray, stormy day" is passible, but not as clear as "Stormy." "Bland, hot, gray, ugly, stormy, wonderful day" has no meaning whatsoever, and neither does "immediately, naturally, appropriately, gracefully, pleasurably, not thinking about it" because by the time you get to whatever it is on the end of the adjective chain, you've forgotten who the fuck is talking. The whole book is full of this shit, but this is the one that jumped out at me. It's a little like reading "whack-a-mole".
Okay, one more and then I promise I'll start recapping the goddamn book:
“The proud, arrogant, rich Miss Brinton,” he remarked, speaking in English.
“No, Master,” I whispered, in English.
“Are you not Miss Brinton?” he asked.
“Yes,” I whispered, “I am Elinor Brinton.”
“What is she?” he asked.
“Only a Gorean slave,” I said.
“I never thought to have you at my feet,” he said.
“No, Master,” I whispered.
“It is not unpleasant,” he said.
“No, Master,” I whispered.Wish fulfillment much, John? Also? If you have a giant hell beast on a chain, and your hand is on the lock? Bet your ass I'll agree with whatever you say.
Cookie man gives Strawchick a bathrobe from her old apartment, to drive home that she owns nothing, I guess. For some reason I'm remembering the horrendously racist book Calico Captive that I read when I was a kid, where the main character spent most of the book mooning over a pretty dress the indians had taken away from her, and the rest of the book hating the French who were being so nice to her because They Were French, Goddamn It. (I loved the book as a kid but I kind of hate its guts now)
Anyway, she offers him anything if he'll take her back to Earth. Money? Phhh, not enough. What about Gold? Diamonds? Not enough...but maybe...OH NOT THAT! Yes that. Okay, well, maybe...Oh, nevermind ugly slut. Also, Strawchick remembers that somebody tried to pay her a hundred dollars for a kiss and she considered it. Didn't do it, but considered it because selling a kiss is like prostitution only, you know, not, and oh fuck, I think I just broke my italics.
And then...oh, for fuck's sake, John.
Besides I did not kiss men.The one place that practially screams "COMMA ME GODDAMN IT", and you don't put one? Did you use them all up on that monster adjective tail? DID YOU KILL ALL THE
So I chilled the fellow with a look of utter disdain, turned about, and left him behind me. “Please, Miss Brinton,” he called out plaintively, “don’t be angry. I apologize! It was only a joke, a joke!”
I get it now. This is what she did. This is what motivated the writing of this god-awful book. You know, John? I probably would have turned you down too. First, because I'd be fucking offended and...uh...becausekissingsquicksmeoutandIreallydon'tlikedoingit
We get more "But on Earth I was this!" and "On Gor, I am this!" and "I am Elinor Brinton!" and yep, I'm bringing this out YET AGAIN:
She must, at so little as the least word or gesture, provide subtle, lengthy and complex delights, gratifications and pleasures to a master, rendering him services in her bondage of which a free woman could not even conceive.”I don't know which is more disgusting. The concept expressed by that sentence, or its basic structure.
Ya know what? I'm going with structure. Norman couldn't actually fix the concept, you know?
We're now deep into this chapter, kids, and I have yet to find a fucking point. I've learned how she was branded, and that it worked like a light switch, and that salve was involved, and that they really did sneak into her bedroom after she passed out to put a collar on her, and then leave. She's also had time to smoke two cigarettes.
And hey, remember when I said how her being "chosen" back in chapter one was kind of rapey?
“It may interest you to know,” he said, “that you were marked for abduction at the age of seventeen. In the intervening five years we watched you carefully, maturing into a spoiled, rich, highly intelligent, arrogant young woman, exactly the sort that, under whip and collar, becomes a most exquisite slave.”
I drew on the cigarette, in fury.FUCKING. EW. Also, I DARE you to "draw on a cigarette in fury". Go ahead. Smoke, as an expression of fury.
And hey? Chapter Ten? Hello? Can we have some sense here? I'm not going to ask for, like, a fucking PLOT or anything, and I rather like all the fail we're having, but a point to all this? It'd be kind of nice.
Okay. So it seems they had some nefarious purpose in kidnapping Strawchick, hence all the elaborate-ish-ness with her kidnapping. And apparently this purpose is best served by a virgin, because heavily veiled references to sex are used.
What IS it with shitty pulp writers and this mincing around that word? It doesn't even have four letters. You can use it and it won't burn your book down. Nobody has slept with Strawchick, and this is good for Cookie-man.
And then, RIGHT WHEN WE ARE GETTING TO THE POINT OF THIS CHAPTER, we're interrupted by a "sleen" outside. Because cutting right to the point would make John Norman's head explode. Then Cookie Man beats Strawchick for being insolent. And whatever satisfaction I derive from this is completely ruined by how far off track we've gotten. The good news, however, is Norman finally uses the word "virginity" in the text, instead of dancing the dance of seven silken veils around it. The bad news is, the text then implies that to kneel as a pleasure slave is probably not work-safe, and I really did not need the mental image of Strawchick's altogethers. Cookie man symbolically burns Strawchick's robe, and the point, oh, my lovely readers, the point is SO FAR AWAY right now...
Oh! It's on the very next page!
“It is our intention,” he said, “to have you trained as a slave girl, to give exquisite pleasures to a master. And then you will be placed in a certain house.” “Yes, Master?” I asked. “And,” he said, “in this house, you will poison its master.”...what?
you will poison its master.”Yeah. That's what I thought you said. And it doesn't make any more sense now that you've said it. You're serious? THIS is the only girl you could use for your assassination attempt? Strawchick? The dumbest sack of estrogen I've seen since my grandmother's hormone therapy? STRAWCHICK is your secret weapon? STRAWCHICK?
DUDE. She's more likely to EAT your poison than give it to Tarl. This girl makes rocks look smart. Okay, maybe she could have pulled this off if you hadn't told her, but now? No way. She'll fuck it up. No matter what you do for her, she'll find a way to screw the pooch. Or else she'll just tell Tarl Cabot about it, and he will kill your ass. Oh, I'm sorry. Am I spoiling the end of the book for you? No? Because it's predictable?
And then the wall explodes! The sleen attacks! Cookie-man's pet monster kills and eats it. And then, because everything up to this point has made something approaching sense, Norman drops acid while he's writing:
“Stop!” cried the man. The beast looked at him, eyes blazing, its face drenched in blood. “Obey your master!” I cried. “Obey your master!” The beast looked at me. I shall never forget the horror I felt. “I am the master,” it said.Nothing in this book has indicated that animals can talk. Nope. This is just sprung on us. It's like "My mother poisoned my dog". Nothing leading up to it. Nothing to foreshadow this turn into WTF land. Nope. Norman just drops it right on us. Strawchick runs out into the darkness, and the chapter ends.
Next chapter? Uh...I think Norman woke up after the LSD hit, looked at what he'd written the night before, and made a blood pact with his typewriter to never speak of this again. Because we go STRAIGHT to Planet (slave) Girl! and we NEVER find out how she gets back with Torgo.
There. Chapter Ten is reviewed. I'm going to go curl up in bed with a raspberry beer.