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 What is Gor

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PostSubject: What is Gor   Sun Jul 17, 2011 4:34 pm

_What is Gor?_

_The Novels of Gor_

Gor is not a fetish, a lifestyle, or a category of BDSM. Gor, literally, is a fictional planet described in a series of twenty-five novels by John Norman, the pseudonym of Dr. John Lange, a Ph. D. in Philosophy and a professor of that subject at Columbia University in New York. The first novel, Tarnsman of Gor, was published in 1967. The last mass-published novel, Magicians of Gor, was published in 1988, with the most recent novel, Witness of Gor, being published by an independent press called World of Gor (http:'[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] in 2002. Prize of Gor is scheduled for release in 2006. The books were extraordinarily popular, selling millions of copies. However, in the Politically Correct, puritanical era of the late Eighties the publisher decided to stop selling them due to their extreme male domination'female submission themes. Mr. Norman has also written a three-volume science fiction series, The Telnarian Chronicles, (published 1991-1993) which is similar in theme but takes place thousands of years in the future during the fall of a Galactic Empire, and two single works, Ghost Dance (1979) and Time Slave (1975). His nonfiction work Imaginative Sex (1974) discusses how people can incorporate what he calls 'imaginative sex,' and the modern Scene calls roleplay, Bd and Ds, into their everyday lives.


_Gor the Planet_

Gor, which means 'Home Stone' in Gorean, the language of Gor, is an Earthlike planet, which orbits the sun at approximately the same distance as Earth. It is held in this orbit by the technology of its rulers, the alien Priest-Kings, who have complete control over the phenomenon Terrans refer to as gravity. It is always exactly opposite the Earth from the sun. This fact gives Gor its other name, used only by those who know of the existence of both: The Counter-Earth. Because the Sun always lies directly between Earth and Gor, Terran science has not detected it. The Priest-Kings presumably use their technology to counter the gravitational fluctuations in the Solar System, which would otherwise reveal it.

The Chronicles of Counter-Earth, which in the books are distributed on Earth as works of fiction for unknown purposes, presumably by agents of the Priest-Kings, are written with a few exceptions by a man called Tarl Cabot. Cabot was born in England: he never knew his father and his mother died when he was young. He was raised by a maiden aunt. Cabot attended Oxford and got a job teaching English literature at a small liberal arts college in New England after graduation. After teaching for a brief period at a small college in the United States, he went on a camping trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. While there, he was abducted by the Priest-Kings, who have interplanetary flight capabilities and in fact are the owners of the famous 'flying saucers.' Thus began his involvement in the affairs of Gor and the Priest-Kings. Many times throughout the series, Cabot has served as a sort of independent mercenary on behalf of the Priest-Kings in their struggles with their ancient enemies, the Kurii.

The Kurii, an anthropoid space faring race, wish to capture Gor and Earth to replace their own planet, which they destroyed in internecine warfare. Currently, the Kurii operate in large artificial planetoids outside the orbit of Jupiter: the Priest-Kings do not molest them as long as they stay outside that orbit. For sixteen thousand years the Priest-Kings have fought the Kurii, protecting Gor and Earth from them. The Kurii are large, furred carnivores, extremely vicious, with technology far in advance of Terran science, but yet no match for the Priest-Kings. Many of Earth's legendary monsters, including Grendel, the Sasquatch, and the Yeti, were in fact shipwrecked Kurii who were trapped on Earth when their ships were destroyed by Priest-King patrols. Kurii are also found on Gor, shipwrecked in the same manner, and have formed isolated outposts in the far North. (They cannot stand a hot climate and are extremely sensitive to pollution, which is why they are not found in any number on Earth.) The Priest-Kings do not molest Kurii on the surface of Gor save to enforce the Weapons and Technology Laws on them just as on humans. Therefore, a Kur who does not break the laws is safe on Gor from Priest-Kings - but not from humans, who hate them and kill them whenever they can. This is a very justified attitude, as Kurii are extremely arrogant and look on all other animals, including man, as food, and not too bright food at that.

Some of the other books in the series are written from the point of view of women who are captured on Earth by agents of the Kurii and taken to Gor to be sold as slaves. (These are Captive, Slave Girl, Kajira, Dancer, and Witness.) They make excellent introductions for the new reader as the culture and society of Gor are explained in great detail as the women are introduced to it. There is also a self-contained trilogy, known as the Jason Marshall books, within the series. (These are #14 'Fighting Slave', #15 'Rogue', and #16 'Guardsman'.) They tell the story of Jason Marshall, a Terran man who was captured incident to the capture of his would-be girlfriend, and taken to Gor to be sold as a slave.

Gor itself is much like Earth: it has one large landmass and several smaller ones. It has slightly lower gravity than Earth's, but whether this is because it is smaller or because of some action of the Priest-Kings is not known. The Priest-Kings, an insectoid alien race, brought Gor to this solar system more than a million years ago, presumably because its original sun was no longer suitable. The Priest-Kings, who cannot tolerate long exposure to sunlight, live in what they call the Nest, a fabulous underground complex in the Sardar Mountains. (Sardar is the Gorean word for Priest-King.) These are centrally located on Gor's main landmass. Interestingly, Gorean compasses point to the Sardar, and Goreans mark direction not by North and South but by 'towards the Sardar' and 'away from the Sardar.' It is not known whether other colonies of Priest-Kings exist, or whether they are native to Gor.

Gor is inhabited by a large human population brought to Gor by the Priest-Kings, who are an extremely inquisitive race. They find human beings fascinating and study them constantly much as a Terran biologist would study lower animals. While there are many cultures on Gor, most of them correspond to one or more of the societies from which the Priest-Kings brought them. For instance, the Cylinder Cities of known Gor are similar to Roman'Greek City-states, there are nomadic desert tribesmen similar to the Bedouins, and polar natives very like the Inuit.

These cultures are much less homogenous than Terran society is and will remain that way because of the Weapons and Technology Laws of the Priest-Kings. While the Goreans know nothing of the nature of Priest-Kings, they do know the nature of the Weapons and Technology Laws, which have been communicated to them through agents of the Priest-Kings over the centuries until they have attained the status of everyday knowledge. The Weapons and Technology Laws which are set forth specifically in the books are:

1. Metal armor is not allowed except for helmets and small shields (bucklers.)

2. Chemical explosives of any kind are forbidden.

3. Long-distance communication (any form of communication which can extend beyond line-of-sight) is forbidden. Messengers are allowed but they must physically move from place to place. (Thanks to tarnsmen, information and goods can still move fairly quickly if necessary.) Long-distance detection equipment, such as radar or sonar, is also forbidden. Telescopes, known as glasses of the Builders, are allowed.

4. Mechanized transport of any kind is forbidden.

It is also strongly implied in the books that large-scale environmental degradation, such as slash and burn agriculture, is against the rules. Violation of the Weapons and Technology laws brings the Flame Death. When the Priest-Kings observe a violation through their surveillance system, they cause a beam of energy to be transmitted into the culprit, who literally explodes in a flash of bright blue flame.

The Priest-Kings have three objectives in enforcing these rules:

1. They prevent mankind from evolving to the point where they could challenge the rule of Priest-Kings. The Priest-Kings are not an aggressive species but they will defend themselves, violently if necessary. Rather than risk eventual conflict, they simply keep humans at a level where they cannot constitute a threat.

2. They prevent damage to the environment of Gor, which is their home.

3. They encourage what the Priest-Kings see as desirable natural selection in humankind. Since metal armor is not allowed, for instance, fast and intelligent warriors are at the advantage over slow stupid ones, even if they do not have as much capital. If richer but otherwise inferior fighters could equip themselves with armor, it would have a negative effect on the population.

One by-product of these rules is that cultures do not mix much on Gor and they tend to be much more individual. Cultural change is slower and the pace of life more leisurely. However, whatever is not forbidden is allowed, and the Goreans have made some impressive technological advances. In a way, they owe this to the Weapons and Technology laws, because the energies that Terran civilizations have put into armaments and other areas which Goreans cannot explore, have gone into alternative researches.

The most dramatic example of this is the Stabilization Serums. The Physicians of Gor see what Terrans call aging as an illness- they call it 'the wasting disease.' They have developed what they call the Stabilization Serums, which prevent deterioration of cellular replacement activity. In other words, once the Serums have taken effect, the person no longer ages. The Serums provide no other benefits - persons who do not take care of their bodies can be and are corpulent, unhealthy, and subject to death from any number of other causes. Nor do persons who have had the Serums have any unnatural resistance to disease or injury. Because the main focus of Gorean medicine for centuries was development of the Serums, lesser illnesses were not studied as hard by Gorean Physicians. Therefore, people subject to them were quite likely to die of them, with the result that the population of Gor is highly resistant to disease. Plagues are known but are very rare: epidemics are almost unheard of. The Physicans of Gor have diagnostic and therapeutic technologies equal or superior to those of modern Terran doctors.

The Serums are not equally effective in all persons: they can fail to work, wear off, or even occasionally trigger what Terrans call Methuselah Syndrome - ultra-rapid aging. However, they are generally safe and effective and all Goreans who need them take them if they feel age setting in. The effect of the Serums is transmitted to children of innoculated parents and so many Goreans do not need them at all. They are viewed as a universal human right and anyone who asks a Physician for them may receive them, even a slave or a barbarian.

Other Gorean technologies include the Energy Bulb, an electrochemical light source, controllable, which uses no external power source and lasts for years, and the Translator, a small device which can translate between languages instantaneously. Goreans also have what Terrans call 'cattle prods,' electrical goads. These are found as 'tarn goads,' which produce a set charge, and 'slave goads,' which are controllable. These items are extremely expensive, very rare, and are never used as weapons.

Other than the above instances, one can assume that a Gorean society will have the technological capabilities of its Earthly counterpart, be it the Roman Empire or the Zulu Empire. There is trade and communication between the various cities and cultures and so technologies which are useful across cultures will eventually wend their way wherever they may be used.

Again, Gor is very like Earth in its basic nature, but most of Gor's fauna are either native to Gor or are Priest-King imports. In particular, the predators of Gor are very large and powerful, much more dangerous than Terran predators.

_Species of Interest on Gor_

1. Tarns. Tarns are large flighted predatory birds, similar to the Rocs of legend. In Gor's lighter gravity they can be ridden by one or more people. Various breeds exist which are used for racing, war, and transport. People who take care of domestic tarns are called Tarn Keepers, whereas those who ride them are Tarnsmen. Though not all Tarnsmen are Warriors (and not all Warriors are Tarnsmen) all Tarnsmen are extremely brave men. Tarns know who is a Tarnsman and who is not, and they will unhesitatingly kill and devour anyone who tries to ride them who do not have the stuff of a Tarnsman. (Female tarn-riders are almost unheard of: tarns terrify most females and many males.) Wild tarns are also common and are extremely dangerous, coming in a variety of sizes and plumages depending on their habitat.

2. Tharlarion. Tharlarion are a genus of reptilian animals. They are found in all shapes and sizes, from tiny water tharlarion no bigger than a man's hand to draft tharlarion which can pull huge wagons. There are also ul, or winged tharlarion, similar to the prehistoric Terran pterodactyl. Riding tharlarion are bipedal (think of someone riding a very large velociraptor) but all domesticated tharlarion are herbivores. Wild tharlarion may be herbivorous or carnivorous and are likewise extremely dangerous.

3. Urts. Urts are Gorean rodents. Like Terran rodents, they come in all sizes, from mouse and rat sized to large enough to carry a man in their jaws. They are generally omnivorous. Domesticated urts exist but are not common. Urts have horns which extend over their eyes and meet tusks growing from the jaw, giving them a very ferocious appearance.

4. Sleen. Sleen are large mammalian predators, very intelligent, and Gor's greatest trackers. They can follow trails which a Terran bloodhound wouldn't even notice, weeks old. They have six clawed legs and are phenomenal jumpers. Sleen can be domesticated and come in a range of sizes, from cat-sized to somewhat larger than a Terran tiger. There are also polar sleen and aquatic sea sleen.

5. Larls. Larls are huge feline predators, twice as big or more as a Terran lion, and Gor's most dangerous land animal. Larls cannot be domesticated.

6. Bosk. Bosk are herd animals, very similar in appearance to Terran longhorn cattle, but larger.

7. Kaiila. Kaiila are somewhat like the Terran alpaca or llama, but larger, and carnivorous. They can be ridden and are likewise found in a variety of environments.

8. Tabuk. Tabuk are single-horned antelope, varying in size from two to five feet at the shoulder. They are the preferred prey of tarns and the command 'tabuk!' means 'hunt' to a domesticated tarn.

9. Verr. Verr are mountain sheep, raised for meat, milk, and wool.

10. Vulos. Vulos are domesticated pigeons raised for meat and eggs.

In the Nest there exist an unknown number of non-human, non-Priest-King life forms, some of which may be sentient. On the surface of Gor, there exists a race known as the Spider People, a large arachnidian life-form, which is sentient and can communicate with humans using special Translators. They are very isolated and rarely interact with humans. There is also a race known as the 'urt people,' who exist symbiotically with a species of large urt found in herds like capybara. They are generally humanoid and may simply be a subrace of homo sapiens. Other than shipwrecked Kurii, these are the only known sentient inhabitants of Gor other than humans and Priest-Kings.

Information about this page: It was first put on the Net on 5'29'00 and was last modified on 8'31'2002. All original content is (c)2000, 2002 Dreamer. All rights reserved.

* Rizado DaSilva reprinted this information in SecondLife with express written permission of its author.
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