These are extracts from a letter sent in 2001 to the Gorean Group, who were behind both the World of Gor website and New World Publishers, publishers of Witness of Gor. Our thanks to Luther, for supplying us with these extracts, and to John Norman for kindly granting permission to publish them.
Some comments on female Warriors:
There are no "female warriors" on Gor. Gor is on the whole an honestly male-dominated realistic world. Indeed, this honesty is one of the things that commends it to romantic, heterosexual, hormonally normal women. Antimenite fantasies, man-hater fantasies, frustrate fantasies, and such, belong elsewhere. There are panther girls, and talunas, on Gor. These are not, however, women warriors. They are unhappy, frustrated, disturbed women half alienated from their sex. They tend to run in dangerous feline packs. Once captured and subdued it is said they make excellent slaves. "Bring me into the collar if you can!" "I am now yours, Master."
... "Amazons" are for female frustrates, and perhaps male weaklings, or masochists. Ms. Conan does not belong in the Gorean world. Let her pump her iron elsewhere. In the Gorean world such a character would seem out of place, and silly. The Gorean movies, of course, in their shameless pandering to PC, had recourse to such unGorean absurdities. Macho maidens are rampant in contemporary fantasy, a concession in part to antimenite threats and demands, a concession in part to the politics of devirilization. Let them abound where they will in the fantasies of frustrates and opportunists, but they do not belong on a realistic world.
Some comments on the Gorean world:
The Gorean world is what it is. In the Gorean books an alien culture is experienced from the inside, not criticized from the outside. That is one of the things that makes the Gorean world fresh, and different, and even unique. An extremely important aspect of writing about the Gorean world is to take it for what it is, and treat it, and view it, objectively, not to use it to promote an alien agenda, particularly one historically demonstrated to be dangerous and life-denying, guilt-generating, reductive, envious, inconsistent, and intellectually bankrupt. For example, to take an analogy, slavery was an unquestioned part of Roman life. If one were to write a novel based in ancient Rome and were to fill it with abolitionists that would be unhistorical, and stupid. It would also be bad writing, brothel writing, prostituting a vision to a message. As the saying is, if you have a message, call Western Union. It is interesting to me that so many of the ventriloquial figures for the left spout bromides about diversity, pluralism, multiculturalism, and such, and then as soon as something shows up which is different, they begin to sweat and squirm and yelp and yowl. Out rush the swarms with their tiny bites. Out come the knives to stab people in the back. Frown correctly, and in the right direction. Don't think; that hurts; don't inquire; that takes time; don't read; TV is easier. Turn on the slander machine. No one will know what the truth is, so lie. As Lincoln, or someone said, something to the effect, that a lie is half way around the world before truth has time to pull on its boots. In my view, the Gorean world is truer to biology than, and more congenial to the nature of human beings than, our own milieu that peddles the propaganda of, so to speak, the "disinherited and ill-constituted." Presumably in a Gorean world there would be less neurosis, guilt, misery, mental conflict, and such. Certainly in our own world the less socially controlled human being, statistically, is healthier than, and outlives, the more socially controlled human being. Making people sick is a standard methodology for social control. Repressive religions have used it for centuries. Happy people are less predictable and manipulable, statistically, than socially engineered artifacts. At any rate, I have written an entire book dealing with these, or related, issues, Imaginative Sex. Certainly one of the major claims of that book is that the application of imagination to sexual pleasure is psychologically salubrious, life enhancing, and morally legitimate. Human beings are what they are; the problem is what to do about it. Do we recognize what they are, and handle the matter in a healthy, moral, safe, enjoyable manner, or do we insist that human beings deny what they are, and pretend to be something else, or that they are natureless automatons to be molded into whatever the currently approved stereotypes happen to be by those who have seized the coercive apparatus of the omnipotent state, molded by conditioning processes implemented by means of a preempted education, a controlled media mill, a propagandized education, and a suborned judiciary?
There is no single sort of human being; there is no single virtue. The virtue of the lamb is not the virtue of the lion; the virtue of the coward is not the virtue of the hero; that of the puppet is not that of the thinker; that of the worm not that of the eagle.
... The Gorean world is to be reported, not commented on. For example, if there were an honest Gorean movie, or an honest Gorean television series, it should say nothing, one way, or another, about slavery. It would simply show it, as a part of the Gorean way of life. People can think what they want. That is their privilege. So many people want to be told what to think; the Gorean world does not tell them what to think. It, like nature, exists. To be sure, it might encourage them to think, but that is a risk any reader must take, who reads any serious book. I think it was Don Marquis who said that if you make people think they are thinking, they will love you for it; but if you make them think, they will hate you. But, as a philosopher, I have always encouraged people to think, despite the risks to me, and to understand that truth might or might not be with the uninformed mob. But if the mob gets it right it is by luck. If the researcher gets it right, it is because he has looked into matters and done his homework. In any honest contest truth should win; but how few contests are honest; that is because people would rather win than be right. There is a saying that truth crushed to earth will rise again, but, if it didn't, we would never find out about it.
Some comments on the origins of the planet Gor:
... I think it is suggested in the books that the planet Gor has been in the solar system for a long time. For example, the Greeks seemed to have had a concept of the Antichthon, the Counter-Earth, etc. The planet may have come into the solar system two million years ago, or five million years ago, or a half million years ago, etc. Before Darrell Benvenuto, of Vision Entertainment, had his financial debacle, some very bad luck in the stock market, etc, he had asked me to write a story which might be serialized in, say, a couple of installments perhaps, in the projected Gor magazine. I did not finish it, as things exploded there, but it dealt with the origin of the Home Stone, and took place on an Earth where human beings, or something prior to human beings, were in a hunting/gathering phase, perhaps even one pre-Paleolithic, as I recall. If that is the case, then one would have had the planet Gor, or visitors from Gor, here, perhaps a hundred thousand or more years before the Bronze or Iron Age, perhaps even before the Stone Age. I think, in short, rather than say the planet came into the solar system two million years ago, one might say something to the effect that we do not know how long ago it was that Gor came into the solar system but it seems it was a very long time ago, perhaps even in the very remote past.
The story referenced earlier would presumably deal with a "Voyage of Acquisition." What was it that might have interested Priest-Kings in the nature of a particular variety of small anthropoids, not so different perhaps from other similar, perhaps even abounding, varieties?
Merchants, of course, might do a good deal of travelling on Gor. As in the ancient world, trade, direct or indirect, might, and did, exist between widely separated areas.
Some comments on the Gor books and their readers:
... The Gorean world does not exist to have a little something for everybody. It would rather have anthropological integrity and have a good deal of something for somebody. In trying to please everyone, one is likely to please no one. Take the Gorean movies, for example. Let ten thousand writers scramble for the big audience, and split it into ten thousand fragments; I would rather write for a smaller audience, and have it all to myself. For example, let us suppose, as an analogy, that there are one thousand readers in the mass audience, and two hundred readers in the, so to speak, elite audience. Let the thousand writers then divide up the thousand readers, and get, say, one each. I would rather have the 200 readers in the prestige audience. The Gorean books are written for highly intelligent, highly sexed adults, of both sexes. They are not written for the hysterical PC crowd, or for children, or for psychologically and biologically uninformed ignoramuses. Indeed, you have to be a reasonably sophisticated reader to even follow the vocabulary and syntax, let alone the concepts and thought, of the Gorean books. They are adventure novels, but also, obviously, psychological novels, intellectual novels, philosophical novels, and, indeed, sensuous romances, as well. It is no wonder that they have a special, talented readership, one capable of understanding and relishing something out of the ordinary, something honest, something refreshing, something different. No wonder they infuriate the writers who would keep science fiction a stagnant, juvenile genre.
Too, I write for myself, and my readership. How else can one write honestly? How else can one write with integrity? I do not write for critics. I would prefer, if l noticed them, to write against them. They would turn science fiction into something they can understand, and something they like. Who would want to huddle under a shrinking ray, just to be visible on their microscope slide? Imagine that, trying to write what a critic would like, reducing the scope of one's vision to those limits, restricting the depths of one's soundings to the shallowness of their muddy little pools.
Some comments on morality and politics:
... "Evil" is essentially a theological concept; "bad" is a moral concept. Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil (1886) and Toward a Genealogy of Morals (1887), makes some interesting points by contrasting a morality of good vs. evil, with one of good vs. bad.
From the point of view of civilization, as a parenthetical remark, one might note that slavery represents a considerable moral advance, as these things are usually understood, over the extermination and torture of prisoners, men, women, and children, and so on. The Bible frequently seems to opt for genocide, including even the slaughter of the animals of the enemy. Those guys meant business. But then one can find just about anything one might want to find in the Bible, and usually without looking too far. Normally civilization disguises the realities of dominance and submission essential to an organized society. On the other hand, they are still there because they have to be there, for society to work. For example, many people do not realize that they work several months a year for the state. This is a form of disguised forced labor. Interestingly the state does not go out and force the homeless, say, to work several months a year for the state. As Robert Nozick has suggested, it is OK for the hippies, and so on, to do little or no work, watch sunsets, and denounce the civilization to which they contribute little or nothing, but it is not OK for the rest of us. I am a limited-government libertarian and recognize the necessity for a given level of taxes, to support the legitimate roles of government, defense, arbitration, and so on, but l am not an enthusiast for spending roughly half of every year (counting local, country, state, federal taxes, etc.) working for demagogues who use my money primarily to buy themselves more and more votes, to tighten their grasp on the weaponry of the state, and keep themselves ensconced indefinitely in power. As it is said, when you take money away from Peter to give it to Paul, you can't expect Paul to object. (George Bernard Shaw.) And, too, we might note that there are many more Pauls than there are Peters.
Some comments on the Gorean monetary systems:
There are different monetary systems on Gor. The basic metals seem to be copper, silver and gold, copper being the cheapest and gold being the rarest and most coveted. One supposes there could also be iron and tin pieces, but I do not recall that they occur in the books. The Romans, as I recall, had an iron denarius. The value of the Gorean coins is sometimes determined by weight, particularly in the case of silver and gold. Different coins from different cities might have different weights, and, accordingly, values. Similarly the ratios can vary from city to city, naturally enough given the weights of different coins. For example, a heavier silver coin from city A would presumably, the fineness being the same, be worth more than a lighter silver coin from city B. In many cities there are "tarsk bits" which would be smaller than a copper tarsk. A given number of copper tarsk bits would be equivalent to a copper tarsk. Presumably so many copper tarsks would be equivalent to a silver tarsk, and so many silver tarsks to, say, a golden "tarn." The most valuable coin on Gor, as I recall, would be a "double tarn," presumably of gold. One could work out ratios. Gorean mathematics, not that of the Kurii, uses a base-ten system, so ratios would usually be 10 to 1, 100 to 1, and so on. There would presumably be some differences here from city to city. It is possible to conceive of a city in which there are 8 tarsk bits to a copper tarsk, and so on.
Copyright © 2001 John Norman. All rights reserved.