Return to a Work in Progress

For some time, I had retired my Gorean pages, but I was recently inspired to bring them back online again. One reason was finding so much incorrect information on an "official" Gorean site. So much work had gone into these pages, countless hours of time spent researching, that I took a glance at them with the plan to revive them. The perfectionist that I am, however, meant that I had to completely revamp them. I got about halfway through that project when I stepped back and thought, "I'm not happy with the look."

And so, the plotting and planning and development of an even cleaner look began.

In the new look for my pages, I'm keeping the division of the main sub-sections, with each sub-section further broken down specifically, making navigation easier and cleaner. I'll be adding in as well, more of the research I had in file after file and had not yet placed upon my pages.

Please be patient as I slowly bring these pages back online! Too, please forgive the boo-boos that will most likely be out there. It's a tremendous amount of work putting these pages up, ensuring formatting is correct because a lot of information is coming from webpages I did a bazillion years ago. But rest assured, after working several pages at a time, I take a day or two break then go back in and look for these errors and hopefully catch them all and fix them before the next batch of pages are loaded up.

A Literary Journey

I remember the first time I read these books, happening upon them in my days of youth, a way to escape the sometimes overpowering days of the seventies, the anti-war demonstrations — and disco. The books sat upon my bookshelf already filled with science fiction/fantasy novels of the likes of the masters, such as Robert A. Heinlein and Ray Bradbury.

Gor is a planet, the Counter-Earth, but it is also a compilation of science fiction stories recounting the adventures of the main character, Tarl Cabot. The fantasies, or perhaps delusions, of John Frederick Lange, Jr., a professor of philosophy, who wrote under the pen name of John Norman, gained controversy, so much so that often you can still find them classified as erotica. In reality, they are quite mild by today's standards. I did, however, once go to a Walden Book store in search of one of these books a couple of years ago, and was told quite matter-of-factly they did not carry pornography. So, I reached for a novel by a rather notable author, a novel that I knew inside and out, and flipped to a rather graphically written description of two people having intercourse, showed it to the clerk, and walked out with a smug grin on my sassy face.

The novels are not well written, but the books offer the reader a bit of insight into the "what ifs" regarding human nature and, how possibly society may have evolved had we not become so technologically advanced, thus destroying our Earth. The author often contradicts himself, and after several books, gets down right boring with tedious and monotonous dialogue, page after page of sentences of three to five words, repeating these sentences, rearranging one word or so to make it "different." I had high hopes for the newest in the series, book number 26, Witness of Gor. The book started out very slow indeed, and continued to be an extremely slow read — up until near the end, when the story kicked into gear — finally! Alas, however, by the time the story caught your attention, it was over. As I struggled through the book, I figured, if I could make it through Tolstoy's War and Peace , I could make it through Witness of Gor. My biggest disappointment with the book was forking out the amount of money that I did only to receive a book of highly poor quality, not only in the writing, but especially of the publishing and the lack of care taken to ensure a good product. The incessant monotonous diatribes still inflict John Norman's writing style, but the far too many typos and formatting errors in his newest book are the biggest hurdles in the reading. Still, the books are a must-read for any Gorean enthusiast that is able to get his — or her — hands on the books. For those that can't for one reason or another, these pages are to help, at least, be a foundation of learning of this wonderful, beautiful world called Gor.

Gor exists, according to the High Castes which teach the "Sun Shield theory," (the Priest-Kings explain it a bit differently) in the same orbit as the planet Earth, and circles the same sun, though not in direct view from Earth, the sun "shielding" the planet from view. Slightly smaller in size than that of Earth, it claims ownership of three moons, and because of its different mass and size, the gravity field is lighter than that of Earth. The Priest-Kings, an alien species native to the planet Gor, apparently were forced to find a new location for this planet in order to prolong the survival of their species. Due to the surrounding atmosphere of Earth, this provided an adequate base for the Priest Kings and their collections for their vivaria, or zoo. It is not the Priest-Kings who refer to Gor as the Counter-Earth or even Gor, but by mankind which had been brought to Gor by the Priest-Kings in order to preserve the species known as humans. The word Gor and the envision of the counter-Earth was most likely taken from the name found in the writings of the Pythagoreans who had first speculated on the existence of such a body. It's quite possible that even a few of the original Pythagoreans made it to Gor themselves, as the planet had been in its current location over two (2) million years.

"That is why I like to think of the planet as the Counter-Earth, not only because of its resemblance to our native world, but because, as a matter of fact, it is placed as a counterpoise to the Earth. It has the same plane of orbit and maintains its orbit in such a way as always to keep The Central Fire between it and its planetary sister, our Earth, even though this necessitates occasional adjustments in its speed of revolution." — Tarnsman of Gor, page 33.

Upon various readings I found something interesting — a speculation that the world of Gor was somehow related to a city on Earth, known today as Firouzabad or Firuzabad (Sassanid Middle Persian Ardasher-Khwarrah, or The Glory of Ardasher). Firuzabad is a city in Iran located in Fars province south of Shiraz. The town is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch. Alexander of Macedonia destroyed the original city of Gor. Centuries later, Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid Dynasty, revived the city before it was ransacked in the Arab invasion of the seventh century.

Ardeshir's new city was known as Khor Ardeshir, Ardeshir Khurah and Shāhr-i Gōr. It had a circular plan so precise in measurement that the Persian historian Ibn Balkhi wrote it to be "devised using a compass". It was protected by a trench some 50 meters in width and 2 kilometers in diameter. Fire Tower of FirouzabadThe city had four gates; to the north was the Hormoz Gate, to the south the Ardeshir Gate, to the east the Mithra Gate and to the west the Bahram Gate. The royal capital's compounds were constructed at the center of a circle some 450m in radius. At the center point of the city was a Zoroastrian fire temple (pictured here), 30m high and spiral in design, thought to have been the architectural predecessor of the Great Mosque of Samarra of Iraq. During the reign of Azud al-Dawla of the Daylamite dynasty in the 10th century, the old name of the city — Gor, was changed. In New Persian spoken at the time Gōr1 had come to mean grave. King Azud al-Dawla, as the story goes, found it distastful to reside in a "grave." Per his instruction, the city's name was changed to Peroz-abad, "City of Victory." Since then, the city has been known by variations of that name, to include Firuzabad (Middle Persian Firuzabad).

1Editor's Note: The spelling is Gōr, denoted with a long-vowel symbol ("-") over the "O" and not "Gor" as another site would have readers believe. The actual pronunciation and Latin interpretation is really Gur. Interestingly, sifting through my many sources, both book references and online references, the very unreliable Wikpedia is one of the extreme few that chose to use the word "Gor" in its summaries. However, the circular-square buildings of this city (and many similarly designed cities by the Parthians), the gates (north, south, et al) were with a doubt, the inspiration for the cylinder cities on the fantasy planet Gor. One last interesting thing to note, is that Persion term Gur likely was chosen by John Norman to describe the honeylike substance fed to the Mother of the Priest-Kings right before her death.

The ancient Gur town situated about 55 miles (88 km) south of Shiraz, in the Fars region of south-central Iran. The town is said to have been founded by the Sasanian king Ardashir I (AD 224241) in commemoration of his victory over the Parthian king Artabanus. The Sasanian town was circular in plan and had a high tower topped by a fire altar in the centre. The ruined palace of Ardashir I in the town is the oldest extant example of Sasanian architecture. The name of the town was changed in the middle of the 10th century because the citizens felt that Gur (Persian: "grave") had unpleasant connotations. Pop. (1986) 34,433. — Encyclopaedia Brittanica.

Many of the plants and animals found on Gor are unknown to Earth; perhaps some originating on Earth, but adapting to the strange, new gravity of Gor, and the harshness of the world itself. Most of the beings on Gor originated from Earth, or at least their ancestors. Cultures from parts of Earth such as Italy, Greece, the Arab nations, Africa, India, the Native Americans, the Eskimos, and the Vikings are easily recognizable. It is a world without pollution, without machines, without guns and nuclear missiles, television, telephones, and the internet. The people of Gor loving their planet, loving the beauty of nature, even revering such things. Gor is a world where men dominate, and women are often kept as slaves so they may be better controlled.

Gor has become a phenomenon of chat rooms, the role playing of such a harsh but beautiful world called Gor something not to be equaled. Unfortunately, a raping of the books to form many of these chat sites has been the result, many offering wrong or incomplete information to their members. For example, it is often seen in chat rooms, the spelling of Earth as "Urth." That, however, is not a Gorean spelling or word; at least it not used in that way in the books of John Norman; the same with the replacing the "i" in words with a "y" (i.e., blackwyne, rather than black wine). Most undoubtedly, this spelling was created by the rag-tag group of people that first started the Gorean chat rooms, and who also created a "Gorean language" called "The Old Language" or the "Kassar Language" amongst chat room groups.

So, what is Gor? Simple in and of itself, the answer, but in the years "Gor" has risen to fill chat rooms filled with daily battles between roleplayers (gamers) to "life stylers." Gor is a fictional world of alternate reality, as well as a model for a lifestyle philosophy. It is something that no two people will agree with, but many will amass together to discuss.

— an original essay ©1997-2015 Moon Productions

 

 

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Special Note

Because of the differences in publishing the books, depending upon whether published in the U.S. or Europe, depending upon whether a first publishing or a Masquerade Books release, page numbers will often vary. All of my quotes are from original, first-printing U.S. publications (see The Books page for a listing of publishers and dates) with the exception of the following books:

  • Tarnsman of Gor (2nd Printing, Balantine)
  • Outlaw of Gor (11th Printing, Balantine)
  • Priest-Kings of Gor (2nd Printing, Balantine)
  • Assassin of Gor (10th Printing, Balantine)
  • Raiders of Gor (15th Printing, Balantine)
  • Captive of Gor (3rd Printing, Balantine)

Disclaimer

These pages are not written for any specific home, but rather as informational pages for those not able to get ahold of the books and read them yourself. Opinions and commentaries are strictly my own personal views, therefore, if you don't like what you are reading — then don't. The information in these pages is realistic to what is found within the books. Many sites have added information, assuming the existences of certain products and practices, such as willowbark and agrimony for healing, and travel to earth and back for the collection of goods. I've explored the books, the flora, the fauna, and the beasts, and have compiled from those mentioned, the probabilities of certain practices, and what vegetation mentioned in the books is suitable for healing purposes, as well as given practicalities to other sorts of roleplaying assumptions.