Something on John Norman, the author of the Gor books…

I cribbed this from Wikipedia because most people are not familiar with John Norman’s background and this gives a little about his philosophical basis. I have recognized Nietzche’s ‘natural order’ philosophy, but this is just a partial basis to understanding Norman.

Lady Nyo

Norman is a follower of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and his influential Gor series bears parallels to Burroughs’ John Carter (character)|John Carter of Mars. His novels include lengthy philosophical and sociology|sociological dissertations criticizing the malaise of modern society (everything from common dishonesty to nuclear warfare|nuclear holocaust). A wide variety of societies, cultures, moral concepts, and technologies are described in depth in his novels; however it is always within the context of the male adventure genre, and, as such, families, children, and other mundane aspects of real life are generally absent and those roles are left undiscussed.

His fiction places emphasis on living in accordance with a Friedrich Nietzsche|Nietzsche-esque natural order, sponsoring a hierarchy of talent, especially strength. Based on this assumed hierarchy, combined with a particular usage of evolutionary psychology to analyze gender role|gender differences, he contends that woman is the submissive natural helper, and figurative slave, of man. His work often takes this observation literally: heroes enslave heroines who, upon being enslaved, revel in the discovery of their natural place. Norman and Goreans have been criticized for this tenet of what they consider honoring nature. The extent to which Norman intended this philosophy to be taken literally, rather than as a vehicle of sexual fantasy, is debatable. Bondage in the novels and in his Imaginative Sex guide is overtly and completely sexual in nature and while the philosophy presented is unquestionably that of male dominance, the male characters are themselves often temporarily and elaborately enslaved by powerful females.

It should be noted that Norman’s interpretations of evolutionary psychology represent one set of viewpoints among many, few of which define men’s and women’s roles as John Norman does. Rather, evolutionary psychology provides theories and evidence that may be interpreted and used in many ways, like almost all science.

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5 Responses to “Something on John Norman, the author of the Gor books…”

  1. phoenix Says:

    Hi Jane,

    Perhaps you should modify this to read that “most WHO ARE NOT GOREAN…”, those of us who are know much about John Norman.



  2. ladynyo Says:

    Actually , I am going to do a comparative analysis of Nietzsche and Norman in a while…. both concepts of Natural Order…hopefully before Xmas.

    and will repost a piece…from 2007 …an address to the public by Norman.

    Am reading his 1970 piece on Philosophy….and it’s funny and deep. Another layer to this complicated man.

    Lady Nyo.


  3. Aurora Erratic Says:

    Complicated Crackpot, more like.


  4. Pat Powers Says:

    Jeebus, I am so sick of people taking Norman’s philosophy seriously. It’s obvious brain-damaged drivel, and I’m disappointed in you if you take it seriously, either as a Gorean or a feminist. Norman wrote some damn good sword and sandal and chains fiction, he should be appreciated for that, but because he had to go off on the occasional philosophical rant, people take him seriously. That’s just sad.


  5. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Pat…

    I don’t think we know each other, because if you did know me…you would know that I am not a Gorean. I have read a number of his Gor books…and just last night finished “Nomads of Gor”…that’s a good one.

    I tend to believe that Norman can be a miserable writer….redundant, trite, and sometimes drives me crazy with the same description of something paragraph after paragraph…of trivial matter.

    However, what I think I like about those Gor books I have read…(and this is only in the last year) is that they are generally stories of courage,
    a development of a personal integrity (Tarl Cabot’s) and some pretty interesting cultural issues….

    John Lange is a philosopher. You should read his 1970 work: “The Cognitivity Paradox: An Inquiry Concerning the Claims of Philosophy”.

    I am reading this presently and find it tender and funny.

    Can there be philosophical knowledge? In general, can there be truth in philosophy? Could it be truth in any familiar sense?

    Lange is writing about the claim of philosophy to offer knowledge. And at the bottom of it all, is this root of philosophy, which he terms the “cognitivity paradox”.

    I would suggest that you read this, but you probably won’t. However, I don’t yet know how this particular book on philosophy relates to the Gor series, as I have not finished either yet and have tried not to make a quick judgement on either.

    Does some of the whips and chains and other issues, like the degradation of women (slaves) provoke consternation in me?

    Yes…but as you say, it’s FICTION and I don’t see any men, either in Gorean households or in BDSM doing this stuff, except ‘scening’ I would suppose.

    I have known a few Goreans, because I sought them out. The very few I have known have fallen into two catagories. Men and women with strong values of integrity and concern for society in general. And the rest who are wankers, frauds and self-centered fools.

    Does this make me hate John Norman/Lange??? No. There is no control over people who would utilize something that has some very good values…as in integrity, etc…and turn them into a questionable cult. Much like Scientology, religions, EST, etc.

    I am about empowerment of women. That is why I am writing about belly dancing and why I am also a bellydancer. I had to go through a lot of shit about this…with a lot of feminists, too. Kinda like the narrow sect about homeschooling, come to think of it… well, another issue.

    I am glad you are reading the blog, and I am glad you are expressing your opinion here. It is welcome.

    Otherwise, it would be pretty dull world if there were few opinions expressed.

    Lady Nyo


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