Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Cheon of Weltanland

Book Review: 'Cheon of Weltanland' by Charlotte Stone

Gor Fanboy score: 4 / 5 Stars
‘Cheon of Weltanland’ (205 pp) was published by DAW Books in November, 1983. It is DAW Book No. 552, and features a quintessential ‘barbarian wench’ cover illustration by Boris Valejo: our heroine, wearing – naturally enough- a metal bikini, totes the severed head of an enemy, while behind her, a a big-bootyed black girl, sporting an afro-puff, clings to a pillar, overcome with shock and awe.

By the late 70s, the commercial success of the Gor books had cued sf and fantasy publishers to the fact that there was a huge readership available for tales of warrior woman in chain-mail bikinis who regularly underwent abuse and humiliation at the hands of mightily-thewed barbarians. 

Janet Morris’s 1977 Bantam book ‘The High Couch of Silistra’ was the first series to capitalize on the 'barbarian wench' trend, followed by Sharon Green’s ‘Mida’ series for DAW.

So it was only natural for DAW to want to expand the genre, and thus, ‘Cheon’ appeared as volume one ('The Four Wishes')  of a proposed series. For whatever reason, however, the remaining volumes never appeared, leaving Cheon stuck in the fantasy fiction publishing version of limbo.

It would not surprise me if ‘Charlotte Stone’ was a pseudonym for an experienced, previously published sword and sorcery writer. For ‘Cheon’ is artlessly designed to cater to the Gor fanboy:

Our heroine has the looks of a swimsuit model, the body of an Olympic pole vaulter, and…..she’s SUPER BUTCH !

That last characteristic gives author Stone the excuse to regularly spice up her narrative with softcore porn scenes, in which Cheon seduces yet another nubile, innocent, teenage girl - !

Throw in assorted bloody battles against raiders and monsters, a first-person narrative that studiously adopts the stilted style of the Gor books, and you’ve got the ideal package to capture, and hold, the fanboys.

[In fairness, author Stone provides a passage in which Cheon openly mocks the premise of the Gor novels, thus making clear that, in this series at least, no barbarian warrior would come ‘round to persuade Cheon to wear slave bracelets and succumb to the dominance of a man.] 

In summary, I give ‘Cheon of Weltanland’, despite its orphan status, a Gor Fanboy Score of 4 Stars.

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