Donald A. Wollheim, Publisher
by Simon van Meygaarden
Hunters of Gor
Marauders of Gor
Tribesmen of Gor
Don Wollheim may well have been John Norman's Charon, but back in 1971, when he left Ace after a twenty year career, he knew exactly where he was going. At the age of 57, he and his wife Elsy would break all rules and found their own private publishing company, DAW Books, dedicated to science fiction and fantasy.
Don Wollheim wanted his own Edgar Rice Burroughs series, Tarnsman started where John Carter left off and the barbaric splendor of Gor had broken just enough taboos to appeal to Wollheim's newly regained sense of freedom.
Yet, in two different interviews with science fiction author Philip K. Dick, another side of the relationship between Ballantine and DAW is revealed.
He (Don Wollheim) also bought the leftovers from the Ballantine collection of my stories. He said, "I'll take what Betty Ballantine doesn't want." That's exactly what he got, and he was madder than a wet hen, to use a ten-letter word. He said, "I got Betty Ballantine's rejects," and I said, "That's what you contracted for." He said, "That ain't right," and I said, "Neither is the price."Philip K. Dick, The Mainstream That Through the Ghetto Flows
Well, he bought a thing from me in '71, so, he just started out then. It was really funny. He bought the leftovers from the Ballantine collection that's coming out of my stories. He says, I'll take what Betty Ballantine doesn't want. And that's exactly what he got. And he was madder than a wet hen, as we say, to use a ten letter word. He says, I got Betty Ballantine's rejects. I says, that's what you contracted for, that's what you got. He says, that ain't right. I says, neither is the price.Hour 25: A Talk With Philip K. Dick, hosted by Mike Hodel
Whatever the reason - it was fast. Within a couple of months after the Ballantine rejection, Hunters of Gor hit the American market.
In March, 1974, the DAW edition of the Gor series started with Hunters of Gor, as DAW Books = SF 96 (UW1102), with coverart by Gino D'Achille and interior illustrations by Jack Gaughan.
Hunters of Gor
Three lovely women were keys to Tarl Cabot's career on Gor, Earth's orbital counterpart. They were:
Talena, daughter of Gor's greatest ruler and once Tarl's queen.
Elizabeth Cardwell, who had been Tarl's comrade in two of his greatest exploits.
Verna, haughty chief of the untamed panther women of the Northern forests.
Hunters of Gor finally reveals the fate of these three - as Tarl Cabot ventures into the wilderness to pit his skill and his life against the brutal cunning of Gorean outlaws and enemy warriors.DAW, Hunters of Gor, 1974
With puberty outgrown, the Gorean message is now cleared from all obscurities.
In John Norman's thinking, man and woman are natural animals, with genetic endowments shaped by thousands of generations of natural and sexual selection. Their actions and behavior, though not independent of long-range environmental and sexual influences, can not be understood in terms of responses to the present day environment. The immediate environment will naturally determine what behavior is successful in the future, but not what kind of behavior is performed today. Similarly, sexual selection is a significant dynamic of evolution, without which it is much less comprehensible, and again the current sexual preferences might well determine the shape of our future, but we need to look to the past, to understand and explain the behavior of today.
These matters are complex, and much remains speculative. Goreans, in their simplistic fashion, often contend, categorically, that man is naturally free and woman is naturally slave. But even for them the issues are more complex than these simple formulations would suggest.
Goreans do believe, however, that every woman has a natural master or set of masters, with respect to whom she could not help but be a complete and passionate slave girl. These men occur in her dreams and fantasies. She lives in terror that she might meet one in real life.
Goreans, do not believe, incidentally, that the human being is a simple function of the independent variables of his environment. They have never endorsed the "hollow body" theory of human beings, in which a human being is regarded as being essentially a product of externalities. They recognize the human being has a genetic endowment which may not be, scientifically, canceled out in favor of the predilection of theories developed by men incompetent in physiology.
Goreans do not see the world in terms of metaphors taken from the artificialities of the theater. It is certain, of course, that certain genetic endowments have been selected by environmental considerations, and, in this sense, the environment is a significant factor. The teeth of the lion have had much to do with the fleetness of the antelopes.
Goreans believe it is the nature of a man to own, that of a woman to be owned.DAW, Hunters of Gor, 1974
In December, 1974, John Norman publishes Imaginative Sex as DAW Books = SF (UJ1186), with cover designed by One plus One Studio.
Liberation of the Sexual Imagination...
is the next step to the complete achievement of sexual harmony. For sexual fantasy is the engine that provides the energy for the success of male- female relations.
Now the author of the famous GOR novels, philosopher and historian John Norman, presents his revolutionary new guide to the advancement of your sexual fantasies - fifty-three bedroom scenarios and recipes for pleasure that will expand your own sexual horizons and bring fulfillment where other less imaginative discussions have fallen short.
A sampling of John Norman's outlines include: The Capture-in-the-Dark Fantasy, The Rites-of-Submission Fantasy, The Captured-by-Pirates Fantasy, The Male-Slave-of-the-Imperious-Queen Fantasy, The Helpless-Maid Fantasy, The I- Am-His-Slave-Girl Fantasy, The Husband-and-Wife Fantasy, The I-Am-a-Love-Price Fantasy, The Common-Chain Fantasy, The Wife-as-Pickup Fantasy.
Plus some of the most inventive commentaries that none other than the science-fictional imagination of the author of HUNTERS OF GOR could have dared project.
- Never Before in Paperback -DAW, Imaginative Sex, 1974
On the inside cover, the purpose of the book becomes clear. John Norman, the author of the GOR novels, now presents a startling new approach to sexual fulfillment with more then fifty detailed scenarios for sensual fantasies and a revolutionary new guide to male-female relations.
The imagination has not yet been sexually liberated. Its liberation is the object of his writing...
Imagination is almost totally neglected in the area of sex. Indeed, it is even suspect. To the repair of that tragedy this book is addressed.
Much in this book is new, but much is not. For example, I am certainly not the first to suggest the application of imagination and intelligence to sexual relationships. I am not the first to sense the exiting role which fantasy can play in intensifying and increasing and multiplying the gratifications of sexual congress. Others, too, have seen the importance of intelligence, of imagination and fantasy. Generally, however, they have feared to speak out plainly.
I am sure that many couples, in the secrecy of their love, have practiced the sweet dramatic arts of which I shall write. That these arts should now be made manifest and their legitimacy explained and argued, defended and set in a total human context, a scientific, psychological and personal context, is perhaps the most revolutionary thing in this book. The revolutionary act is to speak with clearness and in detail, to enunciate and explain imaginative sex with force and fullness.
We must now proceed to do so.John Norman, Imaginative Sex, 1974
In this book John Norman uses his insight and understanding of the human psyche to describe and analyze a huge number of sexual fantasies, many of which he had already incorporated in his Gor series. In a period where the nature/nurture dialog is interrupted by political rhetoric, Norman just steams ahead, and enters the field of evolutionary psychology.
Large bodies, stimulated by testosterone, aggressive, strong, lustful, are suitable for the bodies of masters. Smaller bodies, slight, curved and beautiful, made delicious and vulnerable by estrogens, make excellent slave bodies. When one adds to this the biological desire on the part of the female, when in heat, to yield herself to male domination, to submit to him completely, these seems little doubt as to who, is these fantasies, is the appropriate slave. It is she, the beauty, who in her heart desires to yield, to submit and totally, to her master. Under his touch, she cannot withhold her surrender; she must yield; it is her destiny.
The master/slave fantasy, accordingly, presents the act of sexual congress in its most basic and searing realities. In a sense, it is far from being a fantasy; in a sense, it is one, perhaps, of the rare moments in which the truth is spoken. Truth need be no stranger to art; where but in art can truth be clearly spoken; in what other context should we face it? In what other context should we dare speak it so openly? In art, truth may be spoken, while we pretend to look elsewhere; it may be spoken, and we may hear it while we pretend not to listen. But too much has been said. Love women, and free them, but in the hour of their heat do not be too kind to them; when their heat is on them do not be reluctant to enslave them; they will love you for it; in their heat they wish to be held, to be dominated, to be penetrated and mastered; in each woman there is a companion and a slave. Give each, effectively and mercifully, her due. Treat the companion as a companion; treat the slave as a slave.John Norman, Imaginative Sex, 1974
But a warning must be issued, for the Gorean series must not be misunderstood.
It is perhaps important to remind ourselves, though it should be unnecessary, that love games are meant to be performed only between lovers, usually men and their wives. Without love, there is not even fantasy, there is only exploitation and degradation. One objective of this book is to bring some of the less common but authentic pleasures of sex within the ambit of love. For many people, they have been there a long time. For other, there is no reason they should not be. The important thing is to care for women, and love them. The man who truly abuses a woman is not a man. He is no more than the freak who abuses animals or children. Fantasy can be delicious; but reality must, on the whole, be where we live.John Norman, Imaginative Sex, 1974
In March, 1975. the ninth volume of the Gor series, entitled Marauders of Gor, is published as DAW Books = SF 141 (UW1160), with coverart by Richard Hescox and interior illustrations by Kelly Freas.
Marauders of Gor
Tarl Cabot efforts to free himself from the directive of the mysterious Priest-Kings of Earth's orbital counterpart were confronted by frightening reality when horror from the northland finally struck directly at him.
Somewhere in the harsh lands of transplanted Norsemen was the first foothold of the alien Others. Somewhere up there was one such who waited for Tarl. Somewhere up there was Tarl's confrontation with his real destiny - was he to remain a rich merchant-slaver of Port Kar or become again a defender of two worlds against cosmic enslavement.DAW, Marauders of Gor, 1975
The Goreans have a saying, which came to Tarl Cabot in the darkness, in the great hall, while he sat in the Captain's Chair. "Do not ask the stones or the trees how to live; they cannot tell you; they do not have tongues; do not ask the wise man how to live, for, if he knows, he will know he cannot tell you; if you would learn how to live do not ask the question; its answer is not in the question but in the answer, which is not in words; do not ask how to live, but, instead, proceed to do so."
Through the eyes and the thoughts of his protagonist, we suddenly get a striking view of the man behind the writer, and the philosopher behind the man. He wonders how men should live. In Marauders he thinks long on such matters. How can one proceed to do what one does not know how to do? His answer is that one does, truly, in some way, knows how to live, though one may not know that one knows. The knowledge is within one, somehow innate, or a function of instincts. The Gorean saying should be interpreted as encouraging one to act, to behave, to do, and then, in the acting, the doing, the behaving, to learn.
One thing seems clear, that a morality which produces guilt and self- torture, which results in anxiety and agony, which shortens life spans, cannot be the answer, and many of the competitive moralities of Earth are thusly mistaken.
The morality of Earth, from the Gorean point of view, is a morality which would be viewed as more appropriate to slaves than free men. It would be seen in terms of the envy and resentment of inferiors for their superiors. It lays great stress on equalities and being humble and being pleasant and avoiding friction and being ingratiating and small. It is a morality in the best interest of slaves, who would be only too eager to be regarded as the equals of others. We are all the same. That is the hope of slaves; that is what it is in their interest to convince others of. The Gorean morality on the other hand is more one of inequalities, based on the assumption that individuals are not the same, but quite different in many ways. It might be said to be, though this is oversimple, a morality of masters. Guilt is almost unknown in Gorean morality, though shame and anger are not. Many Earth moralities encourage resignation and accommodation; Gorean morality is bent more toward conquest and defiance; many Earth moralities encourage tenderness, pity and gentleness, sweetness; Gorean morality encourages honor, courage, hardness and strength. To Gorean morality many Earth moralities might ask, "Why so hard?" To these Earth moralities, the Gorean ethos might ask, "Why so soft?"DAW, Marauders of Gor, 1975
The morality of slaves is the ultimate equality - a conservative viewpoint that lacks any growth, and, in a biological sense, leads to certain extinction; the morality of masters is not being equal; not being same; which opens the possibility of growth; and change, and development. The morality of slaves reduces all to bondage; the morality of masters encourages all to attain, if they can, the heights of freedom.
I know of no prouder, more self-reliant, more magnificent creature than the free Gorean, male or female; they are often touchy, and viciously tempered, but they are seldom petty or small; moreover they do not hate and fear their bodies or their instincts; when they restrain themselves it is a victory over titanic forces; not the consequence of a slow metabolism; but sometimes they do not restrain themselves; they do not assume that their instincts and blood are enemies and spies, saboteurs, in the house of themselves; they know them and welcome them as part of their persons; they are as little suspicious of them as the cat of its cruelty, or the lion of its hunger; their desire for vengeance, their will to speak out and defend themselves, their lust, they regard as intrinsically and gloriously a portion of themselves as their hearing or their thinking. Many Earth moralities make people little; the object of Gorean morality, for all its faults, is to make people free and great.DAW, Marauders of Gor, 1975
"Now, I will tell you of your heritage, and I will speak briefly. It is simple, and it is deep. It is this. Man, in your veins lies the blood of the hunter, and of the master. Your female belongs in a collar at your feet. If she pleases you, keep her. If she does not please you, discard her. If you keep her, keep her on your terms, not hers. Enslaved, she will adore you; freed, she will kill you. In your veins flows the blood of hunters and masters. Make them proud of you. Ad Astra. Seek the stars."
The above words, slightly paraphrased, mark the end of yet another masterpiece, when, in November, 1975. John Norman shows to the world his Time Slave, published as DAW Books = SF 169 (UW1204), with coverart by Gino D'Achille.
By the Author of the GOR novels
The author of the novels of Tarl Cabot on Gor, Earth's orbital counterpart, has turned his talent to the problem of time travel and our own world's primitive era.
What has happened to man since the days when his rugged ancestors battled the mastodon and the saber-toothed tiger and wrested a living from the raw nature of an untamed world?
This was the directive that brought a dedicated group of scientists to devise a means of sending one of their number back into the Old Stone Age when the great hunters of the Cro-Magnon days ripped the world away from the Neanderthals and their savage clan rivals.
It's a John Norman novel comparable to his epics of Gor and to the best jungle sagas of the mighty Tarzan.DAW, Time Slave, 1975
As a scientist, John Norman attempted to ascertain the truth. He did not respond like a slavering dog to contemporary political stimuli. Among mammals, it seems clear, that one is the aggressor, and the other the aggressed upon. This is known as the sexual equation, and in most species of mammals, if not all, it is the male which is the aggressor. Sexual aggression in the female commonly neutralizes male aggression and makes consummation of the sexual act impossible.
Helplessness in the female animal tends to provoke sexual aggression; it stimulates the male. This expresses itself, in humans, of course, in countless ways. Both he and she are conscious of her weakness; first she must ask his favor; he then readily performs the tasks; she now owes him, and she, being weak, being a woman, has only her body with which to pay him. She responds with sexual favors; in the civilized situation, these are trivial - her smile, her words of gratitude, her entire body attitude of gratefulness is what he is after. That the male wants these favors proven by his fury, when she offers him payment. It is her thanks alone that he wants. Naturally.
Her gratitude, you see, is a culturally accepted, little understood, muchly desired display of femaleness; symbolically, he has had her; winning her smile is a surrogate for the possession of her body. Women do not smile and move provocatively because society forces them so; they do so because they are women; they are not the dominant sex. Display behavior, and submission behavior, is always displayed, throughout the animal kingdom, before the dominant organism. It is natural for the dominant organism to elicit, or enforce, these display behaviors, and submission behaviors, and such. It is natural, for a man to want complete power, absolute power, over a woman. This has to do, perhaps, with the aggression-submission equation. For the male, maximum power facilitates total aggression; for the female, utter powerlessness gives her no alternative to complete submission.
In an heroic effort to condense all of his theories into one blazing adventure, John Norman's vision is now extended to over twenty thousand years of human history, when a modern day woman is returned to the cradle of mankind.
With the conquest of agriculture, there was a concomitant degeneration of the human stock. This can be established skeletally, and also by cranial capacity. Modern man is smaller, and quite possibly intellectually inferior, to these free hunters. We have now, of course, in compensation, numbers and technology. We have libraries, and a complicated culture. We are much more advanced, inferior, but much more advanced. We do not know what direction the race will take. As we are to the hunters, future man may be to us, miserable, petty and neurotic, or, perhaps, we shall grow again, toward the hunters - and the hunters will come again, from us ourselves - for surely we are their descendants, and surely we, somehow, somewhere, hidden within us, hold their promise - latent in our genetic codes the hunters may not be dead, but only asleep.
The race is divided into the farmers and the hunters, those who grow millet and barley, those who trudge in the mud and dig in the soil, the swarming mobs in the river valleys, scratching with their sticks and carrying their water, and the hunters, the lonely ones, the swift ones, the solitary ones, not understood, who will not dig in the soil, the ones who know the smell of the forest, the burrow of the ermine, the track of the caribou, who rise at dawn, in the cold, who can run fifty miles in one day, who can shoot the bow and hurl the spear, and live for weeks on the land, the cunning ones, the dissatisfied ones, the pursuers of meat.
The world is divided into those who fear, those who seek security, those who do not dare to lift their eyes from their narrow fields, and the other - the hunters. Where the hunters have gone? The farmers, in their numbers, have killed them. But they may not all be dead, some may be only asleep. There has always been war between the hunters and the farmers. And I suppose there always will be. Mankind's greatest game is now afoot, the farmers will do what they can to prevent its pursuit. Meat fit for the gods! The stars, there are the stars.DAW, Time Slave, 1975
Tribesman of Gor, the tenth volume of the Chronicles of Counter-Earth, was published in March, 1976. as DAW Books = SF (185) UE1223, with coverart by Gino D'Achille.
Tribesmen of Gor
The Others were on the move! The Priest-Kings had received a message: "Surrender Gor". The date had been set for conquest or destruction.
Tarl Cabot could no longer linger in Port Kar - now he must act on behalf of the Priest-Kings, on behalf of Gor, and on behalf of Gor's teeming, unsuspecting, twin world known as Earth.
Evidence pointed to the great wasteland of the Tahari, the desert known only to the clannish, militant tribes of desert-wanderers. There must Cabot go. There among the feuds, along the trails of slavers, beyond the forbidding salt mines to a rendezvous with treachery, with a woman warlord, with a bandit chief, and with the monster intelligence from the worlds of steel.
John Norman at his best!DAW, Tribesmen of Gor, 1976
Now pride is the virtue that is analyzed.
In a morality based upon equality, there is nothing one can be proud of, for there is nothing different to begin with. In his Gorean counter culture, John Norman shows us the true meaning of pride; as the consolidation and confirmation of an accepted difference.
"Did the girls seem proud?" asked Hassan.
"Yes," said Tarna, sullenly. "But why should they have been proud?"
"They were proud of their bodies, their feelings, their desirability," said Hassan, "and proud, too, of their masters, who had the will and power to put them in a collar and keep them there, because it pleased him to do so."
"How strong such men must be," whispered Tarna.
"Too," said Hassan, "undeniable females, secure in their sexuality, it was difficult not for them to be proud. Too, joy can make girls proud."
"But why, why," wept Tarna, "should they be proud?"
Hassan shrugged. "Because they knew themselves to be the most perfect and profound of women," he said. "That is why they are proud." Hassan laughed. "Sometimes," he said, "girls grow so proud it is necessary to whip them, to remind them that they are only slaves."
"I can walk proudly," said Tarna. "Lead me through the halls." She rose to her feet, and stood before us.
"There is a difference," laughed Hassan, "between the pride of a free woman and the pride of the slave girl, The pride of a free woman is the pride of a woman who feels herself to be the equal of a man. The pride of the slave girl is the pride of the girl who knows that no other woman is the equal of herself."
Tarna suddenly shuddered, inadvertently, with pleasure. I could see that this insight had thrilled her to the quick.
"You are no longer competing with men," said Hassan. "You are now something different."
"Yes, yes!" suddenly whispered Tarna. "I see! I am different! I am not the same!" She looked at us. "Suddenly. " she said, "for the first time I love the thought of not being the same. "DAW, Tribesmen of Gor, 1976
John Norman himself is proud of his work.
Yes. I think highly of my own work. It is the finest thing, of its sort, ever to be done in adventure fantasy. Whether or not one should be proud of one's work, on the other hand, is a more complex and interesting question. The moral question here, for a humanist and a naturalist, is a knotty one. It is particularly acute in my case because the books, as I have mentioned, pretty much write themselves. I do not know if I should take credit, in that sense, for them or not. I welcome them as gifts. I do not know if I am 'proud' that songs come to me. I am, of course, undeniably grateful.John Norman, 1980
Yet, when asked about its popularity, he seems uncertain.
I don't really know. Hopefully, they are well written and exciting. Perhaps the readers find the Gorean world of interest. Perhaps the books touch on neglected or suppressed human constants, male and female. Perhaps they have something to say which has not been said for a long time. They are probably unique, or almost so, in modern literature, in raising serious questions about the intellectual superstructure of western civilization. They have intellectual content. There are ideas in them. Perhaps that is what so outrages some critics. Science fiction, however, or at least from my point of view, can be a literature with cognitive content. No one would deny that in principle, yet how few have troubled themselves to put it into practice. To paraphrase Nietzsche, the problem is not to have the courage of one's convictions; that is easy. The problem is to have the courage for an attack on one's convictions.John Norman, 1980
But still, John Norman remains convinced of the tolerance and broadmindedness of his readers.
My impression is that the Gorean books are read and enjoyed by individuals of all ages and backgrounds. The sales, for example, for better or for worse, indicate that the audience for them extends far beyond the borders of the 'science-fiction' community. They have been on best-seller lists many times, for example. Unlike the usual science-fiction sales of a few thousand books, if one is lucky, they have sold millions of copies. Incidentally, Gorean books have been published in several languages. Certainly, many women are avid fans of the Gorean series. Indeed, I think one of the contributions, not likely to be acknowledged, which the Gorean books have made commercially to the science-fiction field is that they have helped to open it up to female interest. In this sense, I think I have brought, or have probably brought, many new readers to science fiction, not only male, but also female. The success of the Gorean books, I think, tends to improve the sales of other science-fiction books, or adventure-fantasy books, by encouraging interest in the genre and enlarging its market. I, personally, am very fond of my audience. Their encouragement and support is deeply appreciated.John Norman, 1980
And of the genre itself, science fiction, the rule-breaking, boundary- stretching genre, that prides itself on individual expression.
Science fiction is a big place, really. It contains many countries. It is robust, it is healthy. Let them live and write. Let us each, in our ways, attempt to dignify our art and celebrate the wonders of the worlds of the imagination. The universe is large; I think there is room for all of us out there.John Norman, 1980
TO BE CONTINUED
The first version of this article was written in April, 2002, and first published on May 1st, 2002, as Feature Article, by The Gorean Voice. It was slightly edited and enhanced in 2009, scheduled to be published at the Chronicles of Gor, in July, 2010. We never got around to it, and in September, 2012, due to internal problems, the publication was cancelled.
For this enhanced version, I improved the layout, added a table of contents, added new cover images, turned them into links, updated much of the bibliographical data, and added this afterword.
"Donald A. Wollheim, Publisher" was written by Simon van Meygaarden,
and first published in The Gorean Voice - May 2002 - Vol IV Issue 11 - #47,
under copyright ® 2002 by The Gorean Group, Inc.
This enhanced and updated version was created in September, 2012.
Copyright ® 2002/2013 by Simon van Meygaarden. All Rights Reserved.