Social Concerns / Themes

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Star Gate, the story of a world called Gorth, contains a strong folk epic flavor in the tradition of Beowulf (10th century). The struggle between good and evil is a continuing theme represented in the adventures of her hero, Kincar. He must leave his world to avoid seeing his followers slaughtered by those who are determined to rule Gorth. By chance he comes upon a fight between bandits and a group of men called Star Lords, He is accepted by them and joins their adventure, passing through a "gate" into a "parallel world." As Kincar leaves Gorth he is given a mysterious stone by the dying old chief, Wurd. The stone glows at certain moments and can become quite hot. While he does not understand its mysterious powers, it seems to serve as a protecting force for Kincar. Those who dare to touch the stone while he wears it end up with a hand reduced to a cinder. With the Star Lords, Kincar activates space ships that had been grounded and built onto a fortress of stone, and sends the enemy — gathered in one ship — hurtling into space. Kincar and the Star Lords free slaves being transported to the fortress and befriend others who had been forced to live underground. The sense of justice and the determined battle against evil never slacken, and in the end good prevails.

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Before she devoted full time to science fiction and fantasy, Norton's themes were varied but generally incorporated the good struggling against the evil, and her young protagonist would eventually overcome great obstacles to achieve a goal even though he would start out uncertain, if not bewildered by the abruptness of events. In her science fiction writing, certain themes run through many of her stories. These themes address subjects such as a relationship between men and animals (usually a direct mind-to-mind communication); one or more galactic empires in a "space-opera" setting; an ancient race or culture with mysterious power; time travel; the nature of existence after an atomic war; parallel universes and the occult.

In Star Gate the dominant issues are parallel universes, an ancient race, the mysterious powers of a strange stone that glows and is called a "Tie," and the exploits of a young protagonist who sets out on an adventure with no clear cut purpose only to gain confidence and skills as he proceeds to join forces with a group of men and becomes deeply involved in fighting evil.

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Characters