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Gor, the Counter-Earth, is the alternate world setting for John Norman’s "Chronicles of Gor," a series of 26 already published novels that combine reactionary philosophy, soft science fiction, and BDSM erotica. Real-life or on-line followers of the philosophies and lifestyle outlined in the books are called Goreans.

Simplified map of Gor


Series summary

Gor is an intricately detailed world in terms of flora, fauna, and customs. Norman also delights in ethnography, populating his planet with the equivalents of Roman, Native American, Viking, and other races. The Gorean humans have advanced architectural and medical skills (including life extension), but are primitive (due to limitations imposed by the Priest-Kings) in the fields of transportation and weaponry -- at approximately the level of Classical Mediterranean civilization. Norman is a competent classicist and sociologist, although his prose, fraught with unnecessary punctuation, diction, and tangents, is less solid.

A major theme of Norman's "Gor" novels is exploring the relationships of men who have absolute power over owned female slaves (though only a minority of women on the planet Gor are slaves). For further elaboration on the psychosexual content of his writings, see John Norman.


  1. Tarnsman of Gor (1967)
  2. Outlaw of Gor (1967)
  3. Priest-Kings of Gor (1968)
  4. Nomads of Gor (1969)
  5. Assassin of Gor (1970)
  6. Raiders of Gor (1971)
  7. Captive of Gor (1972)
  8. Hunters of Gor (1974)
  9. Marauders of Gor (1975)
  10. Tribesmen of Gor (1976)
  11. Slave Girl of Gor (1977)
  12. Beasts of Gor (1978)
  13. Explorers of Gor (1979)
  14. Fighting Slave of Gor (1981)
  15. Rogue of Gor (1981)
  16. Guardsman of Gor (1981)
  17. Savages of Gor (1982)
  18. Blood Brothers of Gor (1982)
  19. Kajira of Gor (1983)
  20. Players of Gor (1984)
  21. Mercenaries of Gor (1985)
  22. Dancer of Gor (1986)
  23. Renegades of Gor (1986)
  24. Vagabonds of Gor (1987)
  25. Magicians of Gor (1988)
  26. Witness of Gor (2001)

General notes

Most of the books are narrated by transplanted New England professor Tarl Cabot, master swordsman and possibly Norman’s alter-ego, as he engages in adventures involving Priest-Kings, Kurii, and humans alike. Books 7, 11, 19, and 26 are narrated by abducted earth women who are made slaves. Books 14-16 are narrated by abductee and male slave Jason Marshal.

Besides humans, the main races in his narrative are the insectoid Priest-Kings (who rule Gor in a mostly dispassionate anti-advanced weapon technology manner) and the ogre-esque Kurii. Both the Priest-Kings and the Kurii initially came from outside our Solar System; the Priest-Kings have a very advanced technology and rule Gor in a disinterested manner not caring about the lives of humans or Kurii, while the Kurii (with a technology more advanced than Earth but less than the Priest-Kings) want to replace humans as the dominant lifeform on Gor and Earth. The Priest-Kings do not interfere in the intermittent struggle between humans and Kurii while both sides observe the Priest-Kings' technology restrictions. Some critics have commented that these antipoles are a warning for moderate human behaviour, for the ultra-rationalist, unromantic Priest-Kings see little point in their existence, and the sanguine Kurii who kill anyone, lacking morals to check themselves.

Norman reputedly began the series after wagering that he could write a sword and sorcery novel that would sell successfully. Early entries in the series were simple plot-driven space opera adventures, with later entries growing more heavily theoretical.

Norman’s books sold best during the 1970s, when books 4 through 13 in the series were published. Although bondage, harsh training and slavery were always present, their ubiquity, as well as that of its philosophical and psychological justifications, gradually increased to the point of detracting from the plots. Possible reasons include Norman’s use of his then-popular series to battle the emerging feminist movement, or demand for his books was so great that they were printed without editing. In any case, the significant readership among people uncomfortable with either BDSM or his distracting justifications was lost.

Current state

Norman has reportedly completed a 27th book, Prize of Gor, and is planning a further book which is set on one of the "Steel Worlds" (artificial space habitats) of the Kurii.[1]

See Also

External links

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