Aug 15

I'm too sexy for my hair!

Good Show Sir Comments: “Squawk. Hey, where did you get those arrow feathers!”

Thanks to Ryan for sending this in!

Published 1972

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 5.81 out of 10)

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31 Responses to “Tarnsman of Gor”

  1. Steve S Says:

    It clearly said 8G Medium Honey Blonde on the bottle.

  2. Tor Mented Says:

    If this is about hawk bondage, I don’t even want to know.

  3. Francis Boyle Says:

    My only problem with this is it’s a bit to good for a Gor book.

    (Though I would like to know where they found a picture of a middle-aged John Lydon in 1972.)

    Depends if it involves Michelle Pfeiffer. (Just for the record Michelle-Pfeiffer-related fantasies have never involved bondage.)

  4. Tor Mented Says:

    @Francis: Wikipedia says that the 1987 movie “Gor” is loosely based on the 1966 novel “Tarnsman of Gor.” It didn’t have Pfeiffer, but it did have Rebecca Ferratti, whom Wikipedia says was a Playboy Playmate of the Month.
    It also has Oliver Reed and Jack Palance at notable low points in their careers.
    I haven’t seen it, but I did see the sequel, “Outlaw of Gor,” when it was on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

  5. fred Says:

    Twas my copy of this, can’t remember a damn word.

    Back home we got a barber man. He gonna have a heart attack when he see what I brung him.

  6. Ryan Says:

    The idea of an archer being able to accurately strike a target more than twenty feet away while coursing through the air upon an avian mount makes me laugh.

    But I also feel like Old Man Sting on the cover there exudes the rough experience and self-confidence that may make it possible to suspend disbelief. And the theme song will be terrific.

  7. Emster Says:

    I’m getting a David Lynch/80’s Harkonnen vibe from this – it’s the oddball nature boy nephew you don’t hear about.

    Also, can you imagine how disgusting all those buildings/footpaths would be with the accumulation of giant falcon droppings – ew….

  8. Tat Wood Says:

    Hawk-Man says: if you must sniff solvents, don’t make it a full can of red paint.

    That was a public information film. (Although not as absurdly specific as this one: )

  9. GSS ex-noob Says:

    Proustian flashback! This is the cover I read it in at the dentist’s office. He had a pediatric practice, so not sure it was entirely appropriate. Right there next to Highlights magazine. This one might not have been as kink/squicky as the later books?

    @FB: It was the first one, so still trying to be respectable and have better covers.

    Artists have always done pictures of people as they’d look when older, so maybe … but no one knew who Lydon was in 1970, since Wiki tells me he was 14 and still in England. Maybe it’s a relative?

    @Tor: I have been blessed to see neither of the movies, not even the MST3K version. Though I might watch that one.

    @Emster: it’s is a bit Lynch’s Dune. And agreed about giant plummeting bird crap. Maybe they train them to only poop on women.

    @Tat; That ad is… quite something. It’s like she never heard of tape on the back of rugs. Or rugs what are textured underneath.

    I recall a mug shot of a huffer where the lower part of his face was bright silver due to what he’d been inhaling.

  10. Leak Says:

    @GSSx-n: so they finally got a mug shot of Captain Disillusion? Figures…

  11. JJYoyo Says:

    Could be wrong…I could be right….but he does look like Johnny Rotten and the city towers in the background could be out of the video for “Rise”. He needs a gray suit though.

  12. Bruce A Munro Says:

    As a Tarnsman of Gor, he had to adopt the traditional “bird’s nest” hairstyle.

    @Emster: perhaps they hire the people who deal with the previous cover’s giant litterbox.

  13. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Leak: the huffer had it concentrated around his mouth.

    It’s kind of hard to search, because so many huffers do this and show up that way, but I found him. My memory was wrong, he’s got gold paint. And an expression that says the high has definitely worn off.

    @JJYoyo: I thought the tower looked very “British high-rise public housing” too. Although Gor is sooo not punk. Maybe Johnny’s pretending to go along with it till he can start the revolution. Imagine what fun he’d have had with a giant bird, crapping on palaces and such. Anarchy in Gor!

    @Bruce: GSS! for both.

  14. Emster Says:

    @Tat: slippery rug is not the first thing I think of when I hear the term “man trap” so was very amused. I’ve never seen a PSA on the dangers of polished floor before, over here it’s more about chainsaw safety and not fishing below dams…

  15. Tat Wood Says:

    @ex-Noob, Emster: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Anyone raised in 1970s Britain saw unannounced* Public Information Films (on BBC) at random in between popular programmes or (on ITV) when someone hadn’t stumped up for an advert slot. The Central Office of Information hired a generation of keen young film-makers to remind (i.e. scare) the public. As this site gets hiccoughs if I paste in more than two links at once, I’ll limit myself to a selection someone made before the friendly celebrity in one of them became more terrifying than any of the menaces and then one that explains why so many pensioners voted for Brexit

    When ‘The Omen’ opened in Britain, a lot of us thought it was a Public Information Film about adopting the Anti-Christ without due care.

    (*On BBC1they used to have a continuity announcer say “that was a Public Information Film” just afterwards, as if we hadn’t guessed.)

  16. Max Bathroom Says:

    You’re right: the first four or five Gor books are straightforwards pastiches of John Carter, of the sort that was quite popular during the ’60s and early ’70s, although they’re nowhere near as good as Michael Moorcock or Fred Saberhagen’s take on that stuff, never mind Leigh Brackett or Jane Gaskell.
    Even after some early sightings, the thrill a minute feminist material doesn’t really get going until a novel from ’72, which has a model from Earth getting spirited away to Gor and undergoing the least erotic S&M training ever. It’s wrong to mock, but apparently the main reason there are still clades of the BDSM community obsessed with Norman’s dodgy fiction even now is because he spends a lot more time on slave etiquette than anything that can be profitably read one handed.

    And might it be Alex Harvey (of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band) rather than Lord Rotten-Lydon or Mister Sting? I think the SAHB were at the height of their powers in ’74, and a man who did Delilah onstage might be relevant to John Norman’s funny attitude towards women…

  17. Francis Boyle Says:


    Those old British public information films are masterworks of comedy\horror. Almost as good as “Salad Days by Sam Peckinpah”!

  18. Tor Mented Says:

    @GSSxn: The “Outlaw of Gor” movie is pretty wretched. All of the sets look like they’d fall over if someone bumped into them. Jack Palance returned for the sequel and wears one of the goofiest hats in cinematic history.
    I saw it on its initial MST3K broadcast. During the commercial breaks, they had a pair of radio personalities providing pre-taped commentary. This movie was also released with the title “Outlaw,” and these guys kept referring to Jane Russell. They were thinking of the Western movie “The Outlaw.” No one caught those mistake before the episode aired.

  19. JuanPaul Says:

    Red Headed Rick and Two Crows. Any Rick and Morty fans out there?

  20. Tat Wood Says:

    @Max: if that’s SAHB, then it’d be a logical step for Mr Cleminson to adopt an eagle mask after the shame of being mistaken for one of last week’s cover-stars ( Then they’d do a Jacques Brel cover and maybe “Jamie’s Awa’ in His Time Machine”.

    @Francis: as usual, Python was more or less a documentary about everyday life in 70s Britain (specifically, in that case, public reaction to Ken Russell doing ‘The Boy Friend’). Here’s another grand-guignol disguised as a sitcom, as Ivor Salter and Deddie Davies give stunt performers more work. There were a whole load of these made That poor 1100 seems to be the same one Basil Fawlty assaulted.

  21. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @JuanPaul: well, being heavily intoxicated is probably helpful in getting through a Gor novel…

  22. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Emster: Me neither. I think of a bodacious babe luring in an unsuspecting male, or else that Star Trek with the salt monster.

    If you were, in fact, caught by a bear trap because the rug was so slippery, couldn’t you scooch along the floor to get to some tool to open it, or — more likely — ring emergency services?

    Look, I lived through the 70s and we had plenty of rugs over smooth floors, and nobody I knew or heard of ever slid dangerously. Not even my friend’s cousin’s in-law’s neighbor.

    Nowadays it’s power tool/electrical safety or when you should get a Covid test.

    @Tat: How much of a hazard was rabies back then? It’s not common even here. I’m not sure traumatizing a generation of children was the best way to warn them of dangers. Those were a bit OTT.

    @Max: That’s probably where I stopped reading the series. You used to see the occasional Goreans at conventions in the 80s, where they squicked people out, even the ones who read the books. I haven’t seen any of them publicly in 30+ years. Nobody I’ve heard of who is into BDSM does that. Even though they’re mostly geeks/nerds and the older ones would have read the books. And there are still chainmail bikini women here and there.

    My favorite 80s Worldcon graffiti, on the butcher paper set up just for that, read

    “Coming soon: Clint Eastwood in LENSMAN OF GOR!”

    @Tor: I did find it streaming, but they wanted me to pay for it. No way.

  23. Max Bathroom Says:

    The whole Gor and BDSM thing is really weird. All of the online communities have clades of Goreans, which I’ve never understood. A lot of them seem to be all “weal and twue” types as well, which might be why the people you know who are into power exchanges and roleplaying that’s more about whips and chains than funny dice aren’t interested in that. A lot of the Goreans appear to be exactly the sort of people you’d avoid at a munch or play party: as you say, they’re well squicky.
    Historically the fuss about the Gor thing during the late ’70s and ’80s makes sense. When Norman switched his series over from bad ERB to bad Pauline Reage there wasn’t a lot of maledom slanted fiction in print, so you can see it gaining an audience over that, but there’s much more interesting stuff along those lines avialable now, and has been for decades now. The really weird thing is that a lot of the Goreans are way too young to have fixated on the books because those were the only widespread source for kinky maledom fantasies when they were at an impressionable age. The fact that all the Gor books after Captive are devoted almost solely to that stuff means the slavegirl scenes are a lot more foregrounded than they would be in a Fritz Leiber or whatever, which shouldn’t be overlooked. There’s plenty of Goreans who weren’t born until after Del Ray had told Norman to get lost, and there’d have been all of the Chimera, Nexus and what have you stuff out there rather than Gor being the only fictional source for slavegirls having their bums branded. With whole websites devoted to free BDSM fiction (and video footage, come to that), no end of better print fiction and S&M enthusiasts stating their case on late night television magazine shows, Gor really does look redundant now, so the fact that the cult following is still a thing is really weird.

  24. Tor Mented Says:

    @GSSxn: This version on YouTube seems to be free.
    It’s not one of my favorite episodes, so I wouldn’t pay to see it again, but it’s worth a watch on YouTube.

  25. Emster Says:

    GSS gang – I love when discussion about a cover veers off in amusing directions.

    @Tat: Splink! Bet the Doc had a hard time shaking that one…

  26. Caustic Lizard Says:

    I misread this as “Transman of Gor”.

  27. Longtime_Lurker Says:

    Lizard: That rumbling noise is John Norman having an apoplectic fit …

  28. Bruce A Munro Says:

    @Max Bathroom: it’s a way to own the libs?

  29. Max Bathroom Says:

    @Bruce A Munro
    Maybe so. I’ve seen bizarre rants from aggrieved Goreans about how their guru was hounded out of print by political correctness, radical feminism and the publishing industry being part of a leftist conspiracy out to suppress Norman’s libertarian politics.
    I find it great fun to ask them if that’s why nothing by Robert Heinlein, Poul Anderson, Ayn Rand or Robert E Howard is currently in print and watch the response to that. 😉

  30. GSS ex-noob Says:

    @Max: Thanks for the info on current Goreans. The mind boggles. I thought they’d all died out or at least become too decrepit. The young’uns must hate the early few that have some plot.

    No one at cons bats an eye at fetish wear. I myself owned a chainmail bikini for years — wouldn’t want to fight in it, and it’s so heavy I had to have my chiropractor figure out how to rig it up for me — and I’m vanilla. Even a little very light role-playing where appropriate is fine as long as you don’t do it where kids can see, or too loudly, or during the religious services on Friday nights or Sunday mornings. Basic manners.

    But NO ONE was comfortable around Goreans, no matter what. Most of the BDSM people I know would play at home or weekend parties and then drop that and go back to their work in cubicles or whatever.

    But not Goreans. People whom I knew had odd piercings and extensive eye-raising wardrobes didn’t approve of them. I suppose if it’s strictly online, it’s a bit less squicky, but still. Ewwww. So I’m glad they don’t appear in public any more to make everyone from asexual to greatly kinky uncomfortable.

    And good on ya for firing back at the whiny Goreans. Heinlein STILL wins awards, FFS. Do they ever reply to any of your list, or just stomp off in a huff?

    @Tor: Thanks for the YT link! Bookmarked.

  31. Max Bathroom Says:

    You’re welcome, and I’m glad you enjoyed reading that. It’s worth bearing in mind that I might have a slight anti_Gorean bias that informs my approach to those guys and their slavegirls, though. Whatever you can say against them, the fact that it’s still a thing even now makes it interesting and I suspect there’s going to be a really good sociology or psychology book about it if any academics in the soft sciences ever take it seriously. Maybe the fact that John Norman used to be a philosophy lecturer at an Ivy league university puts them off doing that out of professional courtesy or something?
    It’s just hearsay, but I’ve heard tell that SF cons used to be really big with fetishists because they were a safe, relaxed environment for kinky dressing up games before that sort of thing became a bit more mainstream back when it was still very underground. I can definitely see that, as nobody who’d ever bought a paperback with the sort of covers on this site will be alarmed by extravagant (or minimal) costumes. I’m told some the earliest sightings of Furries were at SF conventions as well.
    As for baiting the Goreans, on one level it’s a bit like kicking a puppy, but they’re so snottily self righteous and convinced that they have the one true way and everybody else is wrong that it’s hard to resist. The spectacle of some herbert who’s forever blathering about homestones and says “tal” a lot insisting to some lady who’s making a good living as a professional Dominatrix that she’s just pretending and there’s no such thing as a naturally dominant woman is just plain begging for trouble, IMO.
    And that’s nothing next to the complaining about being picked on if anybody contrasts the books unfavourably to other science fantasy and planetary romances…

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