The Book Sessions – Part 1 – The Gorean Journey

These are some of Master Gorm Runo’s first classes at the Gorean Campus that were recently discovered.

The Rule Books of Gor?

These are some of Master Gorm Runo’s first classes at the Gorean Campus that were recently discovered.

Gorean Philosophy Class Lecture (5/28/15)

 

Preface:

[I had an interesting discussion with a young slave girl this week that led me to think it was time to have a series of discussions that focused on the books themselves and some of the problems and perceptions of them.  (smiles at the intelligent young slave in his audience tonight)  As I began preparing for them, I realized that I had enough material in that subject to last us well into the summer. (laughs)  But, we have to start someplace, so, today, we will sort of introduce some of the topics that we will cover in the coming weeks.  So, as always, I will give a short talk, and then open the floor for comments or questions, so hold them until I finish.]

Tal and Greetings Goreans!

This week, I was in a discussion with a girl who has often attended this class. She is a very bright young lady, and I value her insights quite highly.  She made the comment that the books are an unchangeable and consistent rulebook for Gorean role play.  I argued that they are not that, however, for several reasons.  I thought today that it might be a good idea to begin a general discussion of the books and draw some conclusions about just how efficient and sensible are the rules for role play that we find within them.

Gorean Role play

From the very beginning of online Gor, as soon as fans of the novels began to gather in chat rooms and on message boards to discuss them, it became very common to suggest to new people that they read the books.  If you want to understand Gor fully and, later, if you want to role play it correctly, we were told, you had to read the books.  It was repeated so often it became a mantra, and also became dangerously close to becoming one of the non-cognitive slogans that the books actually warn us about and tell us are the banes of Earth society.  Let’s take a general look at the series.

The first book, Tarnsman of Gor, was published in 1966, and there were roughly one novel a year until Magicians of Gor was published in 1988. These 25 books represented what I call the classic age of the novels.  There was then a gap of 13 years before Witness of Gor was released, and has been followed by 7 other novels all written after the advent of online Gor.  The first 25 novels could be divided into several groupings.  The plot line of the novels in the beginning followed the adventures of an Earthman named Tarl Cabot, as he underwent a transition in his thinking from man of Earth to Man of Gor.  These novels were interrupted from time to time by what we might call slave girl novels.  Whereas the narrator of the main line novels was Tarl Cabot, the slave girl novels were narrated by females, also of Earth origin, captured and taken to Gor for one reason or another.

All of the novels, of course, contain the words of Gor in their titles, ie. Tarnsman of Gor, Slave Girl of Gor.  So, I will emit that phrase in discussing them here.  These transitional novels of Tarl’s journey from Earthman to Gorean are as follows: Tarnsman, Outlaw, Priest-Kings, Nomads, Assassin, Raiders, Hunters, and Marauders.  In Marauders, Tarl claims, I am Gorean, so many consider that the turning point novel, although others include, Tribesman, Beast, and Explorer in this group. Either way, by book 13, he has made the transition completely.

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These 13 novels included two slave girl books. They wereCaptive, and Slave Girl.  To those who might be interested in collecting these novels in their original editions rather than the new E-books, or online notecards we have today…I should note that you should not get too excited about the words, “first edition” on any of the novels after book 13.  When the novels number 14-28 were offered on ebay, for example, people would proudly proclaim their copy to be a coveted “first edition,” not realizing that sales of the books were so bad that no second editions were ever published, whereas Tarnsman had many editions.

The Tarl Cabot story is interrupted by a three book group telling the story of another Earthman named Jason Marshall who is brought to Gor as a slave along with a sort of girlfriend, and who gains his freedom, seeks out his girlfriend, and ultimately enslaves her before, I suppose, living happily ever after in a kind of M/s bliss.  The story of Tarl is picked up again in several longer, more detailed novels that follow the adventures of a more Gorean man. In 1988, this group ended with the publication of Magicians of Gor, and then came the long gap during which online Gor was born. This group also contained two slave girl books, Kajira and Dancer.

Since 2001, 8 new novels have been released. The 13 year hiatus in writing has led many to speculate that the new novels are not being written by John Norman at all, but by someone else, with his permission, and using his pen name.  People have noticed a different writing style and subtle differences in the philosophical offerings, as well as more attention to plot.  There is some debate on this. Does it reflect the change that would naturally take place in a man’s style after 13 years or is there really a ghost writer penning the novels now.  In any case, what is important to note, is that there was a writing change and a subtle chance in philosophical offerings right from day one, and book one.

The world of Gor we are exposed to in the first six or seven novels, as seen through Tarl’s eyes, differs greatly from the world we see in books, 21, 23, 24…for example.  Even the slave girl books change.  In Captives of Gor, for example, the girl is exposed to a world much less harsh and demanding than the average BDSM Friday night play party in Austin , Texas.  But, by Dancer of Gor, the poor slave finds herself in a very harsh, uncompromising, dangerous, world that is as unlike the experience in Captive that you could hardly tell the difference.  This increase in intensity as the books progress, most likely the result of the fact the series has been written over close to 50 years, in a rapidly changing Earth environment makes it a very poor “rule book” for role play.

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Which Gor are you RP-ing? The harsh uncompromising world of Magicians or the almost childlike, by comparison, world of Outlaws?  This coupled with the fact that the novels are not focused on one city or region or culture, but paint a broad picture of a diverse world, as different and diverse even as our own Earth.

I am afraid the poor young lady is going to become very confused if she attempts to use the books as “rulebooks” for her Gorean role play.  The attitudes of the author were impacted by the reaction of the publishing industry to his novels.  They had early success, and popularity, but as his message became clearer in the 70’s and 80’s, they came increasingly under fire.  This at a time when I would not be surprised to find children’s books using “fuck” on every page, and graphic porn a mainstay of even mainstream novels.  The Gorean novels, were clean books by that standard, but the message was terrible and violated our growing sense of political correctness.  They were banned from many libraries and bookstores until I believe John Norman stopped writing them out of disgust in 1988. Maybe he had said all he had wanted to say…the last books were often repetitive, more so than the earlier ones even.

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Then came, online Gor…an increased demand, and acceptance, and thus the new books still being released.  In the coming weeks, we are going to break down these various groupings of novels in more detail and look at how they evolved, and how their message changed and how valuable a resource they really are…or are not, in our Second Life Gorean world.