Although it’s more than a little gauche in SF/F-writing circles to say it, I rather liked John Norman’s Gor series. Despite their overt sensuality and “sexism” that was so often decried by male and female authors alike, I always found the Gor novels to be far more societally and historically sophisticated than REH’s books, even if the repetitive theme of uptight girl meets boy, boy enslaves girl, girl loosens up and discovers orgasmic ecstasy in boy’s chains does tend to get a bit old. Perhaps the physics of the Counter Earth were less than accurate, but that’s why Gor was rightly characterized as sword-and-planet fantasy, not science fiction. But the deeply ironic thing about Norman’s much-despised works was that they were known to have a VERY enthusiastic female following, which tended to fly directly in the face of the theory that the Gor novels were deeply offensive to all women and of little appeal to anyone who wasn’t an overheated adolescent boy with no actual experience of women.
However, a recent article on ITWorld highlighted the interesting fact that ebook purchases are currently being driven by erotic fantasy purchased by female readers. In fact, “of the top 10 bestsellers under the “Multiformat” category, nine are tagged “erotica” amd the last is “dark fantasy”.” Best-selling titles include The Demon’s Librarian, Mastering Chaos, and Submission.
So, it seems John Norman may have had it right after all. Not only does she look beautiful in chains, but she likes it. A lot.