Gor /ˈɡɔːr/ is the Counter-Earth setting for an extended series of sword and planet novels by author and philosophy professor John Norman. The series is inspired particularly by the Barsoom series and Almuric, but is also known for its content combining philosophy, erotica and science fantasy. The series is known for its repeated depiction of sexual fantasies involving men abducting and physically and sexually brutalizing women, who grow to enjoy their submissive state. According to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Norman's "sexual philosophy" is "widely detested",[1] but the books have inspired a Gorean subculture.[2]

The series has been variably referred to by publishers with several names including The Chronicles of Counter-Earth (Ballantine Books), The Saga of Tarl Cabot (DAW Books), Gorean Cycle (Tandem Books), Gorean Chronicles (Masquerade Books), Gorean Saga (Open Road Media) and The Counter-Earth Saga (DAW Books, for novels with a protagonist other than Tarl Cabot).

Tarnsman of gor vallejo cover
First published in 1966, Tarnsman of Gor is shown here with 1976 artwork by Boris Vallejo.

Tarnsman, Outlaw, Priest-Kings, Nomads, Assassin, Raiders, Captive, Hunters, Marauders, Tribesmen, Slave Girl, Beasts, Explorers, Fighting Slave, Rogue, Guardsman, Savages, Blood Brothers, Kajira, Players, Mercenaries, Dancer, Renegades, Vagabonds, Magicians, Witness, Prize, Kur, Swordsmen, Mariners, Conspirators, Smugglers, Rebels, Plunder
AuthorJohn Norman
CountryUnited States
GenreSword and planet, science fantasy
PublisherDel Rey
Published1966—1988; 2001—present
Media typePrint (paperback)
No. of books34

Series description

Simplified map of known Gor


In an interview with the speculative fiction anthology Polygraff,[3] John Norman spoke at length about the creation of the Gor universe and his influences.

"The Counter-Earth, or Antichthon, is from Greek cosmology. Speculation on such a world, you see, is ancient. One of the premises of the Gorean series is that a race of aliens, whom we might speak of as the Priest-Kings, have a technology at their disposal compared to which ours would be something like that in the Bronze Age." [1] [4]

"I think, pretty clearly, the three major influences on my work are Homer, Freud, and Nietzsche. Interestingly, however obvious this influence might be, few, if any, critics, commentators, or such, have called attention to it."

In the same interview, he said "one of the pleasures of writing science fiction is the development of, and characterization of, alien life forms".


Gor is described as a habitable planet in the Solar System that shares the same orbit as Earth, but it is linearly opposed to Earth and consequently always hidden by the Sun, making direct observation of it from Earth impossible. The flora, fauna and customs of Gor are intricately detailed. Norman populates his planet with the equivalents of Roman, Greek, Native American, Viking and other cultures. In the novels, these various population groups are transplants from Earth brought there by space-craft through the behind-the-scenes rulers of Gor, the Priest-Kings, an extraterrestrial species of insectoid appearance. The Gorean humans are permitted advanced architectural, agricultural and medical skills (including life extension), but are forced to remain primitive in the fields of transportation, communication and weaponry (at approximately the level of Classical Mediterranean civilization) due to restrictions on technology imposed by the Priest-Kings. The most advanced form of transportation is the riding of large predatory birds called tarns by masterful men known as tarnsmen. The limitation of technology is imposed to ensure the safety of both the Priest-Kings and the other indigenous and transplanted beings on Gor, who would otherwise possibly come to harm due to humans' belligerent tendencies.[5]

The planet Gor has lower gravity than the Earth (which allows for the existence of large flying creatures, and tall towers connected by aerial bridges in the cities) and would have an even lower gravity if not for the technology of the Priest-Kings. The known geography of Gor consists mainly of the western seaboard of a continent that runs from the Arctic in the north to south of the equator, with the Thassa ocean to the west, and the Voltai mountain range forming an eastern boundary at many latitudes. There are also offshore islands in the ocean and some relatively sparsely settled plains to the east of the Voltai. The word "Gor" itself means "home stone" in the Gorean language, the native language of the "northern civilized cities of known Gor" (which resemble ancient Greco-Roman city-states in many respects), and a widely spoken lingua franca in many other areas).[6]

The Gorean Kajira "kef" symbol.


Most of the novels in the series are action and sexual adventures, with many of the military engagements borrowing liberally from historic ones, such as the trireme battles of ancient Greece and the castle sieges of medieval Europe. Ar, the largest city in known Gor, has resemblances to the ancient city of Rome, and its land empire is opposed by the sea-power of the island of Cos.

The series is an overlapping of planetary romance and sword and planet. The first book, Tarnsman of Gor, opens with scenes reminiscent of scenes in the first book of the Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs; both feature the protagonist narrating his adventures after being transported to another world. These parallels end after the first few books, when the stories of the books begin to be structured along a loose plot arc involving the struggles of the city-state of Ar and the island of Cos to control the Vosk river area, as well as the struggles at a higher level between the non-human Priest-Kings and Kurii (another alien race) to control the solar system.

Personal flag of Bosk of Port Kar (a.k.a. Tarl Cabot of Bristol), the main narrator of the Gor books

Most of the books are narrated by transplanted British professor Tarl Cabot, master swordsman, as he engages in adventures involving Priest-Kings, Kurii, and humans. Books 7, 11, 19, 22, 26, 27, 31, 34 and parts of 32 are narrated by abducted Earth women who are made slaves. Books 14, 15, and 16 are narrated by male abductee Jason Marshall. Book 28 is narrated by an unknown Kur, but features Tarl Cabot. Book 30 and parts of 32 are narrated by three Gorean men: a mariner, a scribe and a merchant/slaver.

The series features several sentient alien races. The most important to the books are the insectoid Priest-Kings and the huge sharp-clawed predatory Kurii, both space-farers from foreign star systems. The Priest-Kings rule Gor as disinterested custodians, leaving humans to their own affairs as long as they abide by certain restrictions on technology. The Kurii are an aggressive, invasive race with advanced technology (but less so than that of the Priest-Kings) who wish to colonize both Gor and Earth. The power of the Priest-Kings is diminished after the "Nest War" described in the third book and the Priest-Kings and Kurii struggle against each other via their respective human agents and spies.[7]

Early entries in the series were plot-driven space opera adventures, but later entries grew more philosophical and sexual. Many subplots run the course of several books and tie back to the main plot in later books. Some of these plots begin in the first book, but most are underway in the first ten books.


DAW Books, which published the Gor series from the 8th volume (Hunters of Gor) through the 25th volume (Magicians of Gor), subsequently decided to cease publication of the books, citing low sales;[8] Norman attributes the decision to feminist influences, saying in 1996:

Tarnsman of Gor was published in late 1966. It has been reprinted 22 times... I have recently signed contracts for fresh French and German sales, and have recently been published for the first time in Czechoslovakia. There have been recent Spanish and Italian sales. There's no evidence that my books no longer sell... After DAW refused to buy any more Gor books, I sold a three-part Telnarian series to Brian Thomsen of Warner Books. The first book, The Chieftain, had a 67 percent sell-through. The second, The Captain, had a 91 percent sell-through, which is the sort of thing that would make Stephen King rush over to shake your hand... Brian Thomsen, my Warner editor for the Telnarian series... was replaced by an editor from one of the blacklisting presses, one that explicitly informed my agent they would not consider anything by John Norman. That new editor canceled the series despite its success and without waiting to see how the third book, The King, would do. That way things are made nicely clear...

"Unfortunately for me, only about seven or eight publishing houses maintain a mass-market paperback line in science fiction and fantasy; this small, closely-knit group effectively controls the market. With such a group, a blacklist need not be an explicit, formal written or oral agreement subscribed to by a gathered cabal pledged to secrecy. It is an understanding that a certain individual is to be ostracized, excluded, methodologically overlooked or such."[9]

All of John Norman's books are now published by E-Reads as ebooks and print copies. According to their website, "they are among E-Reads’ biggest sellers".[10]


A list of Gor books' first editions. Names of narrators other than Tarl Cabot are given after the publisher.

  1. Tarnsman of Gor (1966), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-27583-7
  2. Outlaw of Gor (1967), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-345-27136-X
  3. Priest-Kings of Gor (1968), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-7592-0036-X
  4. Nomads of Gor (1969), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-7592-5445-1
  5. Assassin of Gor (1970), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-7592-0091-2
  6. Raiders of Gor (1971), Ballantine Books, ISBN 0-7592-0153-6
  7. Captive of Gor (1972), DAW Books, Elinor Brinton ISBN 0-7592-0105-6
  8. Hunters of Gor (1974), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-0130-7
  9. Marauders of Gor (1975), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-0141-2
  10. Tribesmen of Gor (1976), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-5446-X
  11. Slave Girl of Gor (1977), DAW Books, Judy Thornton ISBN 0-7592-0454-3
  12. Beasts of Gor (1978), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1125-6
  13. Explorers of Gor (1979), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1167-1
  14. Fighting Slave of Gor (1980), DAW Books, Jason Marshall ISBN 0-7592-1173-6
  15. Rogue of Gor (1981), DAW Books, Jason Marshall ISBN 0-7592-1179-5
  16. Guardsman of Gor (1981), DAW Books, Jason Marshall ISBN 0-7592-1368-2
  17. Savages of Gor (1982), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1374-7
  18. Blood Brothers of Gor (1982), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1380-1
  19. Kajira of Gor (1983), DAW Books, Tiffany Collins ISBN 0-7592-1926-5
  20. Players of Gor (1984), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1932-X
  21. Mercenaries of Gor (1985), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1944-3
  22. Dancer of Gor (1985), DAW Books, Doreen Williamson ISBN 0-7592-1950-8
  23. Renegades of Gor (1986), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1956-7
  24. Vagabonds of Gor (1987), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1980-X
  25. Magicians of Gor (1988), DAW Books, ISBN 0-7592-1986-9
  26. Witness of Gor (2001), E-Reads, Janice ISBN 0-7592-4235-6
  27. Prize of Gor (2008), E-Reads, Ellen ISBN 0-7592-4580-0
  28. Kur of Gor (2009), E-Reads, The Kur ISBN 0-7592-9782-7
  29. Swordsmen of Gor (2010), E-Reads, ISBN 1-6175-6040-5
  30. Mariners of Gor (2011), E-Reads, The Mariner ISBN 0-7592-9989-7
  31. Conspirators of Gor (2012), E-Reads, Allison Ashton-Baker ISBN 1-6175-6731-0
  32. Smugglers of Gor (2012), E-Reads, Margaret Alyssa Cameron, The Scribe and The Merchant ISBN 1-6175-6865-1
  33. Rebels of Gor (2013), E-Reads, ISBN 1-6175-6123-1
  34. Plunder of Gor (August 2016), E-Reads, ISBN 1-5040-3406-6


Two films have been made, Gor[11] and Outlaw of Gor[12] (also known as Outlaw).

While not officially connected to John Norman's work, Fencer of Minerva is a Japanese animated series containing many of the elements and ideas discussed in Gorean Philosophy.[13]

During the mid-1990s, an attempt was made to publish an authorized graphic novel adaptation of the Gor series under Vision Entertainment. The project collapsed under a combination of financial issues and the nature of the imagery, which violated Canadian law, where the printer was located.[14]

In 2017 the Gor series was adapted into a role-playing game for Postmortem Studios, written by James Desborough.[15]


The Gor novels have been criticized for their focus on relationships between dominant men and submissive women, the latter often in positions of slavery. The Encyclopedia of Fantasy has stated that the first several books are "passable exercises" of Edgar Rice Burroughs style fiction while "later volumes degenerate into extremely sexist, sadomasochistic pornography involving the ritual humiliation of women, and as a result have caused widespread offence".[8][16] Science fiction/fantasy author Michael Moorcock has suggested that the Gor novels should be placed on the top shelves of bookstores, saying, "I’m not for censorship but I am for strategies which marginalize stuff that works to objectify women and suggests women enjoy being beaten."[17]

See also


  1. ^ "Authors : Norman, John : SFE : Science Fiction Encyclopedia". www.sf-encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  2. ^ Gracen, Julia. "Chain gang". Salon. Retrieved 2017-05-09.
  3. ^ Polygraff Staff (2010). "An Exclusive Interview With John Norman, Author of the Gor Series of Novels". Polygraff. 1 (2). Montreal: Polymancer Studios, Inc. pp. 47–53. ISSN 1918-655X. Retrieved 2010-12-15
  4. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane. "John Norman, the philosophy professor who created the barbaric world of Gor". 2011-3-22.
  5. ^ "Cultures". World of Gor. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  6. ^ "Places". World of Gor. Archived from the original on 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  7. ^ "The Annals of Gor". Moonproductions.com. Retrieved 2009-03-27.
  8. ^ a b Langford, David (1998). "The Kink in Space". SFX. Future Publishing (39). Retrieved January 17, 2011.
  9. ^ "No More Gor: A Conversation with John Norman", David Alexander Smith, The New York Review of Science Fiction, #92, April, 1996
  10. ^ "Are John Norman's Gors "Boy-Books"?". E-Reads. Archived from the original on 2012-10-31. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  11. ^ Gor (1987) on IMDb
  12. ^ Outlaw of Gor (1989) on IMDb
  13. ^ Minerva no kenshi (1994) (V) on IMDb
  14. ^ Marrus (2009). Lightsurfing: Living Life in the Front of My Mouth 1992–2003. Kissena Park Press. pp. 51–55, 67–70. ISBN 978-0-9768508-2-3.
  15. ^ grimachu (2017-04-23). "#RPG – The Gor RPG is RELEASED!". Postmortem Studios. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  16. ^ Clute, John; Grant, John (1999). The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. pp. 692–693. ISBN 0-312-19869-8.
  17. ^ Killjoy, Margaret. Mythmakers & Lawbreakers. AK Press, 2009.

External links

Abul Gor

Abul Gor (Arabic: أبو الغر‎) is a Syrian village located in Al-Saan Subdistrict in Salamiyah District, Hama. According to the Syria Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), Abul Gor had a population of 261 in the 2004 census.

Avika Gor

Avika Sameer Gor (born 30 June 1997) is an Indian film and television actress. Her big break was in the show Balika Vadhu as the young Anandi from 2008-2010. She has also played the Parallel Lead Role of Roli Jamnalal Dwivedi / Roli Siddhant Bharadwaj in Sasural Simar Ka from 2011-2016. She is last seen playing the Lead Role of Anushka Sangwan / Anushka Yuvraj Choudhary / Juhi Sethi (Fake) in Laado - Veerpur Ki Mardani from 2017-2018. Gor made her movie debut in Tollywood with Uyyala Jampala. and her Kannada cinema debut in actor-director Kishan Shrikanth's Care of Footpath 2. Gor has modeled for the kids fashion brand Gini & Jony. Her mother tongue is Gujarati.

Det gör ont

"Det gör ont" (English: "It Hurts") is a song recorded by Swedish singer-songwriter Lena Philipsson. The song was written by Thomas "Orup" Eriksson and produced by Anders Hansson for Philipsson's studio album Det gör ont en stund på natten men inget på dan (2004). It is the best known as Sweden's entry at the Eurovision Song Contest 2004, where it was performed in English as "It Hurts", and placed the fifth with 170 points.

Firuzabad, Fars

Firuzabad (Persian: فيروزآباد‎ also Romanized as Fīrūzābād; Middle Persian: Gōr or Ardashir-Khwarrah, literally "The Glory of Ardashir"; also Shahr-e Gūr شهر گور) is a city and capital of Firuzabad County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 58,210, in 12,888 families. Firuzabad is located south of Shiraz. The city is surrounded by a mud wall and ditch.

The original ancient city of Gor, dating back to the Achaemenid period, was destroyed by Alexander the Great. Centuries later, Ardashir I, the founder of the Sassanian Empire, revived the city before it was ransacked during the Arab Muslim invasion of the seventh century. It was again revived by the Buyids, but was eventually abandoned in the Qajar period and was replaced by a nearby town, which is now Firuzabad.

Gargar-e Sofla, Khuzestan

Gargar-e Sofla (Persian: گرگرسفلي‎, also Romanized as Gargar-e Soflá; also known as Gargar, Gazgaz, Gorgor, Gor Gor, and Gor Gor-e Pā’īn) is a village in Hoseyni Rural District, in the Central District of Shadegan County, Khuzestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 176, in 38 families.

Gor, Granada

Gor is a town of Granada, in southwestern Spain. It consists of the town center and several suburbs scattered all over its municipal area, such as Las Juntas, Las Viñas, Cenascuras, Los Balcones, La Rambla Valdiquín, Los corrales, El Royo Serval and La Estación de Gorafe. Situated at an altitude of between 1,100 m and 2,100 m above sea level and with an extension of 182 km², Gor has a long history of human settlements that date back to the Paleolithic. The official population of Gor in 2005 was 997.

Gor Mahia F.C.

Gor Mahia Football Club ( (listen)), commonly also known as K'Ogalo (Luo for "House of Ogalo"), is a football club based in Nairobi, Kenya. They have won the Kenyan Premier League a record 17 times, four more than their arch-rivals A.F.C. Leopards, and have also won the FKF President's Cup a record 10 times. They are the only team from Kenya and the CECAFA region to win an African continental title to date, having won the African Cup Winners' Cup in 1987 after previously reaching the final in 1979.The club was formally established on 17 February 1968 as a merger of Luo Union and Luo Sports Club (also known as Luo Stars) and won the national league at the first time of asking. Some of its original leaders were politicians Tom Mboya and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. However the club was founded much earlier, in the 1910s, and participated intermittently in local tournaments in Western Kenya. Various groups used this name at different times.

The club plays its home games at the Nairobi City Stadium. Alternatively they also play their home games at the Moi International Sports Centre and the Nyayo National Stadium. It has been proposed that the club hosts some of its home matches at its alternate stadiums in its earlier days, the renovated Kisumu County Stadium and the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.The club won the Kenya National Football league in 1968, having been formally founded only in February of the same year. In 1976, Gor Mahia won the national league unbeaten, and repeated the same feat 39 years later under the leadership of Frank Nuttall.Towards the end of the 2000s, Gor started bouncing back to fame steadily bringing Kenyan football fans back to the pitch and regularly filling sold-out stadiums. The club returned to silverware in 2008 when it won the KFF Cup after a thirteen-year drought of any major trophies. Gor proceeded to win the Kenya DSTV Super Cup against the year's defending champs, Mathare United before the beginning of the 2009 KPL season.

On 26 October 2011 Gor Mahia in typically dominant fashion trounced Sofapaka to win the 2011 edition of the FKL Cup having dispatched their archrivals AFC Leopards 6 days earlier in a 20 October Heroes Day thriller.

Gorontalo language

The Gorontalo language (also called Hulontalo) is a language spoken in Gorontalo Province (Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia, southern coast) by the Gorontaloan people. Dialects of Gorontalo are East Gorontalo, Gorontalo City, Tilamuta, Limboto and West Gorontalo.

John Norman

John Norman is the pen name of John Frederick Lange, Jr. (born June 3, 1931), who is the author of the Gor series of fantasy novels, and a professor of philosophy.

Júlia Sebestyén

Júlia Sebestyén (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈjuːliɒ ˈʃɛbɛʃceːn]; born 14 May 1981) is a Hungarian former competitive figure skater. She is the 2004 European Champion and 2002–2010 Hungarian national champion. At the 2004 European Figure Skating Championships, she became the first Hungarian woman to win the European title. She is also a four-time Hungarian Olympic team member, and was Hungary's flag-bearer at the 2010 Olympics.

Kenyan Premier League

The Kenyan Premier League (KPL), also known as the SportPesa Premier League (SPL) for sponsorship reasons, is a professional league for men's association football clubs in Kenya. Standing at the top of the Kenyan football league system, the league was formed in 1963 under the Kenya Football Federation but is now controlled by the Football Kenya Federation. It is contested by 18 clubs and operates on a promotion and relegation system with the Kenyan National Super League. Gor Mahia are the league's current champions and most successful club, with a record 17 titles to their name.

The league was mostly stable until the late 1990s and since then its performance had been considered below average, with many of the league's clubs having little or no finances to support themselves. However, since SuperSport became an official league partner, the league has taken on a more serious role with teams becoming professional and the majority of the clubs managing to get kit sponsorships. This saw the level of competition improve compared to past periods.

Pooja Gor

Pooja Gor (also spelled Pooja Gaur, born 1 June 1991) is an Indian television actress. She is recognized for her roles in the shows Mann Kee Awaaz Pratigya as Pratigya, Kitani Mohabbat Hai as Purvi, and Ek Nayi Ummeed - Roshni as Roshni

Priyal Gor

Priyal Gor is an Indian television and film actress. She is known for starring in the romantic fantasy drama Ichhapyaari Naagin as Iccha.


Saint-Gor is a commune in the Landes department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

Sayeh Kor-e Sofla

Sayeh Kor-e Sofla (Persian: سايه كرسفلي‎, also Romanized as Sāyeh Kor-e Soflá and Sāyehkor-e Soflá; also known as Sādeh Kor-e Soflá, Sāikūr, Sāyeh Gor-e Pā’īn, Sāyeh Kor-e Pā’īn, Sayeh Kūr-e Pā’īn, and Sāyeh Kūr-e Soflá) is a village in Agahan Rural District, Kolyai District, Sonqor County, Kermanshah Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 277, in 74 families.

Seh Gor

Seh Gor (Persian: سه گر‎) is a village in Kakavand-e Gharbi Rural District, Kakavand District, Delfan County, Lorestan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 57, from 12 families.

Stołowe Mountains National Park

The Stołowe Mountains National Park (Polish: Park Narodowy Gór Stołowych) is a National Park in southwestern Poland. It comprises the Polish section of the Stołowe Mountains (Góry Stołowe), also known as the Table Mountains in English, which are part of the Sudetes range. It is located in Kłodzko County of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship, at the border with the Czech Republic. Created in 1993, the Park covers an area of 63.39 square kilometres (24.48 sq mi), of which forests accounts for 57.79 km². The area of strict protection is 3.76 km².

Tol-e Gor-e Hajjiabad

Tol-e Gor-e Hajjiabad (Persian: تل گرحاجي اباد‎, also Romanized as Tol-e Gor-e Ḩājjīābād; also known as Ḥājjīābād and Tol-e Gor) is a village in Hamaijan Rural District, Hamaijan District, Sepidan County, Fars Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 112, in 26 families.

Tughan-e Baba Gorgor

Tughan-e Baba Gorgor (Persian: طوغان باباگرگر‎, also Romanized as Ţūghān-e Bābā Gorgor and Ţūghān-e Bābā Gor Gor; also known as Toghān, Tooghan Jadid, Ţowghān, Towghān-e Jadīd, and Ţūghān) is a village in Delbaran Rural District, in the Central District of Qorveh County, Kurdistan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 676, in 160 families.

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