So, here I am, riding the kind of high that I can only get by basking in the awesome that is Kira Nerys, when I spy with my little eye from theantijoss_on_IJ that Gor of Losers is making a comeback.
Thanks to Dark Horse.
My irony meter just went off the scale.
Not to mention that I now have whiplash. From Kira to Gor. I need a frigging neck brace.
I tried to read a Gor book. Once. In junior high. (Although I'm very sure that if my dad knew, he would've had a heart attack. No. Make that a zillion heart-attacks.) I'm pretty sure that Gor pretty much planted my aversion-to-writing-smut seed. That shit was just ugly, yo. Me not a big fan of slave games, even consensual slave games. Although if it floats your boat, go and float, says I. Just don't make me wear the ball-gag and nipple clamps and we're cool.
But even with my relatively innocent eyes, I could damn well spot a rape fantasy. Rape fantasies in and of themselves aren't bad, per se (even if it gets my squick running so hard that my knee starts jerking, if you get my drift). But this was a rape fantasy of a whole 'nother color. This was a rape fantasy for men. It's the really, really ugly shit where all women want it, all women deserve it, and all women will get it in the end. Failure to accept rape as a way of life is a brutal death sentence.
Because "no" ain't an option for women in Gor-world. Not when they're branded. Not someone chunks a slave collar on them. Not when they get assigned the role of "pleasure" slave, "reserve (virgin)" slave, or "scut work (not sexually attractive)" slave. Not when they get chained to a stone floor because they try to say no. Not ever.
Quick question kiddies: What's the difference between someone who's free, and someone who's a slave?
Answer: It's one word. "No." The power to say it. The power to think it. The power to act on it. One. Word.
Hunh. Guess the Gor books were edumacational after all. Who says the series is a total waste?
Well, actually, I do. Not even Dianetics comes close in the worthless books sweepstakes.
I remember my Bordersverse days rather fondly. I remember most of the customers rather fondly. I remember most of my co-workers rather fondly.
Know what I don't remember fondly? This one regular customer. He was a white male, always impeccably dressed in semi-expensive clothes. Glasses. Loafers. Sandy hair bordering on brown. About my age, more or less. Clean-cut. He looked like the type of guy who was involved in community service, or volunteering for some political organization or another.
Shit. I remember exactly how he looked, despite the distance of some years.
I also remember that he had this vibe. Long before I ever talked to him, I got the "something is just not right with that boy" radio signals so loud that my one tooth filling rattled every time he walked through the door. Straight ladies, gay men...I don't have to explain that whole serial-killer-in-disguise vibe to you, do I? I'm sure you've all had it once or twice. It's a feeling you don't forget. For the rest of you who don't know, the best way to explain it is as if someone's shadow just passed over your grave.
Anyway, I'd seen him around off and on for several months (and I always made it a habit to be elsewhere when he was looking for help). One day I didn't move fast enough and he got me.
Guess what our boy was looking for?
If you didn't say Gor books, then you haven't been paying attention.
Right. Needless to say, my brain went to DefCon 1 so fast that it's a wonder the word "tilt" show up on my eyeballs. Having no choice, however, I had to help Gor-man. A quick look into the database showed that we actually had a copy of the first book around (how, I don't know since they were out of print for a looooong time by that point). It wasn't in science fiction (Thank God!), but in erotica.
But that's not the real creepy part. The real creepy part is that Gor-man was talking about that damn book and how philosophical it was and how deep it was and shit like that. And he was asking my opinion about it.
Holy tomato, I thought to myself. Is this dude actually feeling me out about Gor?
Indeed he was. To be honest, I don't think he was hitting on me. I think he was on a little power trip. Obviously he saw my reaction when he asked for Gor, so I suspected that this guy — who towered over me by a good 6 inches — was trying to rattle my cage.
All he got for his trouble was my serene bookstore look: the one perfected over several years and honed in the fires of born-again customers trying to convert me to the Gospel according to Tim LaHaye, teenagers sneaking into the erotica section, and little kids running rampant in the children's section.
It's a look that's somewhat mask-like, coolly polite, vaguely condescending, and gives the cusomter abso-fraggin'-lutely nothing for their trouble.
Nothing pisses off a power-tripping customer more than that cool, polite wall of hell. They can't get over it, can't get around it, and can't dig under it. Hell, they can't even complain to the store manager about it. In short, they have nuffing! Once that mask is on, you will win power battle every. single. time. Plus, you get the joy of seeing a power-tripping customer go completely out of his or her tree.
Anyway, in the end, I advised Gor-man that if he wanted other books in the series, he'd have to trawl used bookstores, as almost the entire series was out of print. In fact, I expressed polite puzzlement that we had the first book in the series at all, while he expressed shock and horror that it was in the erotica section and not the science fiction section where, in his humble opinion, it belonged.
I saw Gor-man after that, of course (he was, after all, a regular). But he never asked me to help him out again. I did ring him up a few times though. His taste in reading material did nothing to dispel the kree-pee.
Anyway, if you want to be completely creeped out before bed, I highly recommend 7 year-old article from Salon about Gor enthusiasts recreating the series for real. The article is old enough that it's not tucked behind Salon's usual wall o' ads. It's totally free for the reading.
And per theantijoss_on_IJ, check out what Girl Wonder has to say about the Gor revival. Tamorah Pierce has a few choice words, too. Bellatrys_on_LJ has a whole collection of posts on Gor (scroll down to get to the really good, hard-core analysis of Gor).
In the meantime, I'll be hoping like hell that Dark Horse loses oodles of money and earns a ton of bad publicity for trying to revive Gor.
Now I must cleanse my mind. Yeeeessss. I think I will watch the 'Crossover' episode of Deep Space Nine. Evil Kira in leather. It doesn't get any better than that.
X-posted to IJ, GJ, and JF