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Tarnsman of Gor

(Gor #1)

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  4,090 ratings  ·  378 reviews
Tarl Cabot has always believed himself to be a citizen of Earth. He has no inkling that his destiny is far greater than the small planet he has inhabited for the first twenty-odd years of his life. One frosty winter night in the New England woods, he finds himself transported to the planet of Gor, also known as Counter-Earth, where everything is dramatically different from ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Wildside Press (first published 1967)
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[…. The following was discovered by investigators at the scene of the Tarnsman Incident in late April, 2011. The narrative report is reproduced in its entirety and a transcription of the audio recording made by Officer Honcho is reproduced to the extent possible...]

OFFICER: Mike Honcho
DATE: April 29, 2011

NARRATIVE REPORT (Draft only....not for official release)

At approximately 06:15 am, I was shaking down hookers on routine patrol on Robert
Paul Johnson
Jul 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic-sci-fi
There seems to be 2 types of people reviewing this book:

1) Those who have read it many years ago as a teenager but are afraid to give an honest review as they have teenage kids now and spouses who may not like what they really thought about it at the time.

2) Those with an agenda - as this book was a controversy back in the bra burning days...

It seems as though women can read historical romance novels full of sex scenes and tight corsets and restrictive clothing that was nothing less than a lac
J.G. Keely
The first of the infamous S&M fantasy series of the world of Gor is a rather unremarkable adventure book. Taking cue from Burroughs' John Carter of Mars, Norman gives us an Earthling sent to survive on savage, alien world. However, instead of John Carter, a cowboy and Civil War vet right out of Wister's 'The Virginian', Norman's hero is a mild-mannered British professor.

His transformation from comical figure to unrivaled warrior is swift and inexplicable. Such a man might learn to become a soldi
Jul 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I can't remember these books very well other than they were horribly sexist and I had to hide from my Mom when I read them. I think if I went back to read them again I'd be shocked and horrified, so I will leave it to my teenage affection and not sully the memory of enjoying the smut. ...more
Peter Meredith
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Fifty shades of looking at things from the flip side!
Ok this was just a bit of a joke review. My fifteen year old self gave this five stars. I mean look at the hottie on the cover! What more does a boy need? Now thirty years later, it's only four and half stars. Now that's a little something I like to call maturing.
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Ah, yes... the Gor series. At first it was just sort of Nietzchean-Burroughsian sword-and-sandal escapism with an overtone of sexist-pigotry, but then he spun off into porno world-building. Not that I don't like porn (I do), but the series became increasingly bizarre and the author's sexual obsessions got more and more obvious as the series progressed. It is kind of like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

If he'd written them as porn, he would have been long since forgotten; I'm still pretty ama
Mark Lawrence
I read these in the early 1980s as a young teen. I have very little memory of them but I do recall that although the series is infamous for being a misogynist S&M epic, that's something that develops over the course of the first 8 or so volumes. This first book, as I recall, has almost none of that, other than the fact that many women in this society are enslaved.

My memory is that the writing delivered the story in an engaging manner and it was a decent swords & technology (but mainly swords) ya
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Once upon a time (1994 to be exact) an adolescent boy and his brother, both fond of reading, were taken to a second hand store by their mother and pointed to the used book shelf where paperbacks were sold for only .25 cents a piece. The youngest of the two boys, who was eleven at the time, searched through the books until he found one that snagged his eye... "Tarnsman of Gor." When he presented his choice of reading material to his mother he was promptly scolded and told that that book was posit ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ok...this one was surprisingly good.
Like. GOOD.
Yes there's a lack of real description, character emotions, and the pace was fast. But dammit, I LIKED it. It was short and refreshing.

I know lots of readers are like "boo slavery of woman", etc, and I can't agree. We're comparing our own morals to that of the counter earth, where it's morals are much countered to ours. And Tarl admitted it was unseemly, and pret-ty sure that he didn't keep a slave himself, if not only faking it for the woman he
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This was my secret indulgence and, boy-oh-boy, how my fantasy consumption had suddenly gone wayward, from Tolkien to Lloyd Alexander to John Norman? Indeed! It's like a well-bred Catholic schoolboy (which I was) was suddenly found loitering outside the local canteen bumming smokes.

Anyhow... there it was. TARNSMAN OF GOR. Sitting on the bookshelf, beckoning me to pick it up. Earth man Tarl Cabot is transported to a fantasy world where he rides flying tarns, duels with swords, and protects beauti
Kat  Hooper
Jun 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

While walking in a New Hampshire forest, college professor Tarl Cabot unexpectedly receives a strange communication from his long-lost father. Suddenly he is whisked away by spaceship to Gor, the Counter-Earth, a planet which we never see because it lives on the other side of the sun. Its powerful priest-kings have been able to shield it from even our theoretical view and, though the society seems primitive, its aloof rulers seem to be hoarding and selecti
All right, I admit it; I read these books (the first few, anyway) when I was a teenager. John Norman's "alternate-Earth" is one of those series that every SF/fantasy fan (or at least, every guy) has probably read, but no one wants to admit it, or else you have to layer lots of disclaimers, like I'm doing. Yes, they're horribly misogynistic, cheesy, and just badly written, for the most part, and the most memorable thing about them is the Frazetta covers.

That said, the first three or four books we
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
The Good:
The setting is detailed and quite interesting. Action and adventure abound. There were some cool ideas but this book is over fifty years old, and I’m sure they’ve all been done either before or since.

The Bad:
I’m not one to jump on the latest fashions in political ideas but the portrayal of women here is indeed cringeworthy. There is a frustrating amount of simplistic philosophy, and the implausible protagonist lacks charisma.

'Friends' character the protagonist is most like:
Tarl Cabot is
Stephen Robert Collins
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Before George R R Martin had lifted a pen was The Gor books now classed as Bondage fantasy sexist books but back when I was 13ys old I never heard Master & Slave these highly sexist books were good fun & don't care what anyone says they were just the thing after Conan or Edgar Rice Burroughs.
I have not seen any floating around since 1990s but I am sure if look around they be available. As for been erotic it's no worse Than 50shades but if it's to sexist you can always not read it.
Over 34books
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sword-and-planet
I never intended to revisit the Gor series--there are certain things that shouldn't leave one's awkward adolescence--but the copy brazenly offering itself at the library book sale (that flesh-pit of wayward pages) got me wondering. Is it apparent from the onset what direction the later books would be going? Is Norman's freak flag flying here, or is he still busy toiling away on it in his basement?

These are questions that utterly ruin a reading of escapist, possibly disposable, literature. The re
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
The Gor books have a bad rep for being horribly sexist, and many of them are. However, the entire series doesn't deserve to be slammed with that label, and some of the books are quite good heroic fantasy.

Tarnsman of Gor is the first one in the series and has very little in it about slavery, certainly no more than is mentioned in other Sword & Planet novels. This book gets Tarl Cabot transported to Gor, the Counter-Earth, which rotates around the sun exactly opposite of Earth and is therefore nev
Jason Pettus
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
These last three months of 2016, now that CCLaP is finally caught up with all the outstanding books from others we've promised to review, I've decided to take some time to do nothing but some extremely self-indulgent personal pleasure reading before we start accepting submissions again in 2017; and among this self-indulgent reading, I've decided to finally tackle John Norman's infamously sexist series of "Gor" S&M erotic fantasy novels, which I first developed a fascination for in 2006 when I sp ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is my third time reading this book.

Tarnsman of Gor is everything a high fantasy book should be. Much along the lines of Conan, Death Dealer and such, Norman captures high fantasy extremely well in this novel. Men are men, lots of swords and action, and beautiful women are everywhere for the taking. This is one of the tales that young boys cut their teeth on when they want to get away from reality, and older men read to escape their boring existence pushing paper.

Norman does a good job tel
Wing Kee
Apr 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
The Asylum version of the Barsoom series.

Okay so I could not help myself. I know there are issues nowadays with the Barsoom series that range from gender, race and a boat load of other issues. But growing up, I loved this series, it was a pulpy rip roaring adventure (as was Tarzan). So Sword and Sorcery and it's adjacent SF stuff comes around it's my guilty pleasure (just like Lovecraft...who was INSANELY racist). So this Gor series by Howard has been on my radar for a while not because it was i
Benjamin Thomas
Yes I read all of the Gor books as they came out, back when I was a teenager. My older brother and his friends who were in High School at the time passed them around and made a lot of Gor-related inside jokes among themselves. I really liked this first one, having already read quite a bit of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and found the plot similar. The first Gor books were pretty interesting for me, especially the political landscape that the author developed. Of course most people concentrate on the fe ...more
David Monroe
Aug 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tarnsman of Gor was the first in the Gor series. It's been so long since I read these books. I remember raised eyebrows and judgmental looks from the librarians as I checked these out. They are a product of their time. They're sexist and a bit silly, especially in later books.

The first book, despite the Frank Frazetta cover, was not really about slavery, etc. It was a good sword and sandal story told through the eyes of Tarl Cabbot. I had just started getting into the DC's multi-verse and was f
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is Gor if you can't handle it, stay on Earth and keep your Prozac filled.
JN is a philosophy PhD who combines many themes; many of which people rail against.
I say try to be as tolerant of others' views as you demand they be of yours. This is the first in the series less controversial than later entries, sort of a Gor for dummies.
Jul 16, 2013 rated it really liked it

I am setting upon a quest. I will read all 32 Gor books. Why? Because the are there. Also because I read the first seven of these books about 30 years ago. Commonly known as the "first seven," its where most people drop off and stop reading. I will start over and read/review them all. As I write/amend this review I am on book seven. I am just now reaching the point where I have no idea what comes next.

Thirty years ago my reading appetite was quite a bit less complex and I really enjoyed t
Kenton Crowther
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
We start with the matter of factness of the British academic, Tarl Cabot, camping out with his can of chili and a borrowed tent. Then there is this metallic envelope he finds by the wayside--from his father but dated 1640! John Norman creates hard-edged descriptions of objects such as this envelope that are somehow disorientating.

It's obvious Morman has read his Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tarl Cabot gets to Gor, Counter-Earth, almost as simply (and acceptably) as John Carter does in A Princess of Mar
Oct 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
I read these back in the 70's when they first came out. It's kind of a cool world & story in many respects but women are kept as chained & collared slaves. I tried to read past that, but even as a teen it was too much of a turn-off for me to really get into the series. I read the first 4 books & maybe one later one some years after.

Norman's writing wasn't terribly impressive, more like Lyn Carter than Robert E. Howard, as I recall.
Shawna Hunter
Jun 09, 2018 rated it liked it
This was an entertaining story, very kinky and creative but...unfocused. A lot of times it felt like things were just being thrown in to have stuff happen when that time could have been better spent developing the characters. Why does he fall in love with her(she's terrible)? Did he ever mention his world to the people of Gor? And so on.

The epilogue is also sad. All that...for that? I mean it probably feeds into sequels but damn.

All that said I'll be looking into the other Gor books but I'm not
Bill Burris
I read the first 7 Gor books in the late 70s, early 80s. I enjoyed them for the adventure. I did get most of the series but never did get around to reading most of them.

I was reading Edgar Rice Burroughs, Barsoom and Tarzan books in my early teens. The Gor books that I was reading in my late teens / early 20s seemed similar but more detailed and complex. Probably simplistic compared to what I read these days.
Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)
DNF at 56%

I was interested in reading this one since it's considered a cult classic, but the story was unbelievably boring. Like, it was could-not-keep-my-eyes-open dull. The writing style, the story, the characters - all of it was snooze-worthy. I was somewhat interested in the world building, but based on how the "less intelligent" people were treated - not to mention the women in this book - it's clear the author has unrealistic expectations and offensive opinions.

Now, before you come at me
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 29, 2020 marked it as to-read
I just wanna witness the sheer shitshow this book supposedly is
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

John Norman, real name John Lange, was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1931. His best known works, the Gor novels, span 31 books written 1967 to 2012, plus three installments of the Telnarian Histories, two other fiction works and a non-fiction paperback. Mr. Norman is marrie

Other books in the series

Gor (1 - 10 of 35 books)
  • Outlaw of Gor (Gor #2)
  • Priest-Kings of Gor (Gor #3)
  • Nomads of Gor (Gor #4)
  • Assassin of Gor (Gor, #5)
  • Raiders of Gor (Gor #6)
  • Captive of Gor (Gor #7)
  • Hunters of Gor (Gor #8)
  • Marauders of Gor (Gor, #9)
  • Tribesmen of Gor (Gor, #10)
  • Slave Girl of Gor (Gor, #11)

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