Reds Novel

2/27/2014 I originally wrote this review and published it my 70s Blog on WordPress which I incorporated into Macy Makes Magic.

REDS by Jack W. Thomas Paperback, 208 pages, Published November 1970 by Bantam Books

Reds is about two girls who run away from home. They come from a nice middle class life, but one of them, Dorcie, has problem with her mother’s boyfriend. It is not like one thinks of a “real problem” with the mother’s boyfriend.  Anyone who came from a real broken home will find it ridiculous that they want to run away because the materialism around them is just “a drag.”  He did not molest her. The author is making a statement that the hippy values are not meaningful. The character Dorcie is shown early in the novel to be a sociopath. The other girl Polly goes along with Dorcie because she likes her, although there is no clear motive for Polly’s blind allegiances to Dorcie. Especially after Dorcie’s Evil Plan is revealed to the reader. They meet a good natured boy named Cole. He gives them a ride to Santa Barbara.  It is the sort of book one thinks parents would give to their children to convince them not to run away to San Francisco and try to join the hippy scene. My (late) husband who was there, said that by 1968, the Haight had already degenerated.  The summer of 1967 was the only time in which it may have been pleasant to hang out in the Haight Ashbury.

Updated for 2002: Since I wrote my review Reds has become an easier book to find on Amazon. I look forward to discussion via comments.

The Cover Art for the Book Reds

Updated for November 2020: I found another book by the same author as Reds called Turn Me On. Author Jack W. Thomas and now has his own Wikipedia page which contains a list of all the books he wrote. I did not know there was more this one book at the time I wrote this review. Wikipedia says Reds is from 1970 and Turn Me On is from 1969. I am unsure about the dates of the first printings. But I am going with Wikipedia’s dates, because it’s likely a super fan wrote his Wikipedia.

Often it happens often that a musician or writer does their best work as their first work. The first published work of a writer is one the writer spend much time on (likely years) before publication. Once they are faced with writing a second novel have less time and are under deadlines. This is the case with Turn Me On. Unfortunately the paperback book with small print is very old and I am allergic to the pages. I can’t read it for very long even if I had taken allergy medicine first. I will have to scan the pages, if I want to read them and I don’t know if it’s worth it. My printer stopped working because of HP Instant ink scam. I think the scanner may still work, but I don’t feel like setting it up.

I have German Books I am also supposed to scan so I can translate them out using OCR. I will wait until my old age before I spend time doing something this tedious. I really think all books need to be in a digital format.

Turn Me On reminds of the beginning of the Gor Novel called Captive of Gor 1972 when the swimsuit model Elinor is waking up in the morning without something bad happening like being kidnapped. The author is just setting the scene. The heroine of Turn Me On is a lot like the psychotic girl from Reds Dorcie, but probably not as mean. I have to read more to let you know. I am still not sure why such a sensuous novel as Reds was placed in the young reading section of the library. I was likely looking for more Ian Fleming James Bond books on the metal wire racks. I was 12 and don’t remember if it was the youth section, but that is not where I found Captive, but Reds has more sex and violence than Captive of Gor. I found Captive in a bookstore. The cover drew me in. The cover art was the most attractive of all the Gor Covers and it was the last one. The artist Boris Vallejo probably decided to wash hands of the John Norman Gor Saga. I saved up enough money to buy Captive of Gor and no one questioned me when I did. I thought it was science fiction at first. I was reading science fiction as much as I could. It was hard to find science fiction that engaged me. Elinor is taken to another Planet Gor, but it’s a Fantasy novel because the planet is a pre gunpowder sword fighting world. Turn Me On also has sexy cover art. What I like about Turn Me On is the beautiful descriptive narrative. You can feel like you are really in that world.

Later on I bought Slave Girl of Gor 1977 and I was older by that time. I was old enough to read the book, but I thought it was terrible. I hated that novel, it was such a piece of trash. Why was Captive so much better? It was the First Gor Slave Novel. The first novel is always the best novel. To this day nothing in the Gor Saga has come even close to Captive. Captive had plenty of flaws and low points. I could not even comprehend how it ended at first. The ending made no sense. I finally figured out that Elinor goes to be with her “true love” the Rask of Treve. He kidnaps again and takes her back. The novel ending was so poorly written. The whole book had been in first person and the ending with written by another character. I would have liked her to return to Earth a better person. I had not read any of the other Gor Novels, so I had no idea what the other characters were up to. Subsequent novels were unfocused with increased the levels of sex and violence. There is supposed to be some kind of overall plot to Gor if one reads all the books in the correct order. I don’t know what it is. There was a big controversy and Gor was banned in the 70s, but later it came back. The publishers stopped publishing, but John Norman kept writing and self publishing. Now he sells a lot of Kindle Books because of his low price point. It’s easy to own all the Gor Books on Kindle for very little money.

5 thoughts on “Reds Novel

  1. You can still get a used copy on Amazon. It is a bit expensive, but that is how I got my copy. The first time I read it was from the library when I was 12, and I ended up not finishing it. So, I always wanted to finish the book, just to see what was at the end of it.

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  2. I didn’t get to read the book it was one of my sister in laws school book 1970 I was a freshman, sorry I didn’t get to read it.

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  3. I did read the middle and all parts in which (Spoiler stop reading), Dorcie plans to murder both Polly and Cole. How often is murder considered a normal stage in growing up? She does end up murdering someone before the book is finished. Have you not read it in a long time maybe?

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  4. I disagree with nearly everything in your review! It actually sounds like you didn’t read the whole book, just the very beginning and end … And that you, like the folks in the book that the girls denounce, are too “square” to understand anyone’s motives. If you knew anything about adolescent girls, you would understand Polly’s allegiance to Dorcie. The “mean girls” always attract more passive sorts as followers. Polly is bored – Dorcie is fun, adventurous, hip [at least until she starts unraveling after her bad acid trip]. I for once think it’s made clear that it tales place right around 1968 or so – shortly after the “Summer of Love”, but before the Manson murders and Woodstock brought the mainstream’s attention to the fact that the hippie scene attracted a lot of sociopathic – and even psychopathic – types, ready to exploit all the naive, out-of-control teens …
    BTW, I love this book, and all his others as well…

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