Friday, May 19, 2006

Gor Gor Girls.

If you browsed the science fiction and fantasy section of your local bookstore in the '70s and '80s the name Gor might be vaguely familiar. The planet Gor was the setting for a series of fantasy novels written by John Norman starting in 1966. Gor was located in the exact opposite orbital position to the Sun as the Earth, so it was sometimes refered to as Counter Earth. On Gor men are men and women are slaves, or secretly want to be slaves. The books claimed that slavery is the true "natural state" of women, and that they instinctively realise this. Most of the books were told from the point of view of Tarl Cabot, a man from Earth transported to Gor, although several were told from the point of view of female slaves, also taken from Earth. The series has sometimes been compared to Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars books, but with a high level of bondage content.

The series was published by DAW in North America, who are a mainstream sci fi publisher. The last DAW Gor book, Magicians of Gor, was published in 1988. It has been suggested by the Gor crowd that DAW dropped the series because of growing political correctness, given both the content of the books and Norman's stance that the philosophy of the books applied in the real world. A much more likely suggestion is that people had gotten tired of a book series that was increasingly overrought and repetitive, and that this was reflected in dropping sales, so DAW decided to drop a weak product. In any case the books went out of print, although old copies can be found in many used book stores.

Many people have taken the books as an inspiration for their own lifestyles. A group of such people have found themselves attracting the attention of the police in the UK. Durham police raided a home after a friend of a Canadian woman contacted them, fearing she was being held against her will. This proved not to be the case, but Norman's creation is getting some unexpected, and I suspect unwanted, publicity.

I can understand the appeal of using such a scenario for the occasional bit of fun in the bedroom. But living in such a fashion full time is another thing. Its not just the Goreans who live like that, there are others who follow other sorts of BSDM relationships. But the Goreans seem just a little bit odder given that they think their lifestyle would be applicable to the majority of society given the chance.

Julia Gracen wrote an interesting piece on Goreans for Salon in 2000, which you can read here.

As for the title of this post you're probably a fan of '60s cult films if you know where it came from.

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