Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tarnsman of Gor, part 1

Along with The Hobbit, Dragon Riders of Pern and some Nancy Springer novels, Tarnsman of Gor was one of the earliest building blocks of my pulp fiction reading and fantasy role playing hobby. The tales of Gor or Counter Earth are a combination of Conan meets John Carter of Mars. The hero, Tarl Cabbot, is an earthman who is abducted to Gor and finds adventure in a barbaric culture controlled by a small group with highly advanced technology which is, of course, called magic. (This, high tech culture controlling barbarians with their “magic,” is a plot element common in many a pulp fantasy novel, including Fritz Leiber’s Gather Darkness.) The books over flow with magic, sword fights, scores of alien creatures like the Tarns, science fiction and, with an added appeal to adolescent boys, slave girls.

I believe there are twenty-eight novels in the Counter Earth series and they’re all supposed to be in print. I never see these books available at used book stores but I’ve been able to find a few copies of the books through Paperback Swap dot Com. I will be posting a recent publication copy of Tarnsman of Gor for trade through this service,, right away. I noticed that on the new copy of the book, the artist bio is as nearly as fictitious as the contents of the story. I’ve also noticed many comparisons to other works of pulp fiction and I think I’ll feel inclined to continue this book review when I complete my reading.


  1. I've never read any of the Gor books. Curiously like you I never see them at the used bookstores either.

  2. Hey Chris, they've all been reissued with rather risque covers - here's the link to Amazon's entry for Tarnsman.

    I first encountered them when I found copies in the school library. Yes, I said school. It was the liberal seventies.

  3. I don't think i've ever read one of the Gor books. Apparently, even if I had, i'm not supposed to admit it ...


  4. These are good, light hearted, pulp fantasy novels. Really, I shouldn't have mentioned the slave girls. (But they are right there on both book covers!)