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Author Topic: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry  (Read 1032 times)

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Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2017, 02:26:58 PM »
All actually really fair points, but I still maintain that the underlying philosophy of the books is not only wrong, it's inherently dangerous, as Glyphstone has said down thread.

If there were some magical or other piece of reason why women submitted, or if the aliens were injecting women with a drug that forces this condition, it would be one thing. If it were merely a patriarchal society that demanded women submit, it would be fine as a lens. However, the caveat of the whole series social dynamic relies on this inherent need for women to submit. It highlights not only dominant and submissive roles in a bad light, but general dynamics of men and women. This underlying philosophy does tend to rot out anything else that the series might have offered (I did try to read it after several people mentioned it, but I remember that none of them were enthusiastic about it).

I wonder why all the free women do not want to and are not slaves though? to quote the books:

"Indeed, statistically, in those parts of Gor with which I am familiar, very few. Commonly only one woman in, say, forty or fifty is a slave. This varies somewhat of course, from city to city. The major exception to these ratios is the city of Tharna, in which almost every woman is a slave." I looked at her. "There are special historical reasons for that,"

There is also large amount of male slaves for most things where males simply are more practical, fighting, mine work and few other things. I wonder how their lot works out compared to the women. The above quote is from Beasts of Gor. There are other references to small proportion of slaves compared to free but I picked that cause it has actual numbers.

And of course there are the panthers leaving outside the society who treat any reference to submitting, be it slavers or slaves with arrow to the arse or some other more or less vital part of anatomy. Granted they are very few in number and only in areas that are warm enough for living in the wild without huge infrastructure being a viable option.

Sometimes reading all the discussion about gor I get the feeling that people assume that it is world where all men are free and women are slaves and all are that by choice. I think perhaps it is that since writing style is how it is, vast majority of people talking about it did not actually read it and work any of the numbers.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2017, 02:41:24 PM by Lithos »

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2017, 02:42:00 PM »
I love how you deliberately misconstrue the arguments of others to make them easier for you to refute. This is called a Strawman Argument. It is a logical fallacy built off of intellectual dishonesty. At least it lets me know that you are someone I should not talk to.

Offline wander

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Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2017, 02:51:16 PM »
To clarify on Dark Prince's blunt post, I think the thing being discussed is more about how women are generalised as all naturally submissive in the canon, rather than if they're slaves or want to be, or not. There's a slight difference in execution there, which Inkidu's last post spoke on some.

I don't see Lithos making a strawman here though, sure the original point of Inkidu wasn't addressed, though at least Lithos gave a relavent quote and answered a bit more on the canon. Building a Strawman is often a large generalising in of itself, to make the opposing debater have a questionable argument, of which I don't see Lithos doing here.

Also, to clarify again, I've never read the saga and have only this thread and some 1d4chan references to go from. As such, I'm not going to make an opinion on the work, though rather try and learn a bit more on it, as a tabletop and fantasy gamer, it does often come up, so learning more on it helps me in conversation when it does rear it's head.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2017, 03:17:22 PM »
sure the original point of Inkidu wasn't addressed, though at least Lithos gave a relavent quote and answered a bit more on the canon.

The things on that post were dealing with the subject of political correctness that I mentioned I did not wish to discuss in my original post, but so that it does get addressed below is my very general remark of the books that perhaps explain my view on things.

It is a world where majority believes that world works in certain way, while quite a few others believe that it does not. In that regard I do not see it much different from several other fantasy worlds, where majority has certain world order or deities.

I do not believe in supernatural and am very much anti-religion for example, yet I still am not offended by fantasy worlds where gods or supernatural exist. For me it is the most pleasing and least stressful way to take literature as it allows to take entertainment from where there is some. I find it silly to try to draw things to real life from fantasy work, so I find no pleasure in discussing it. I have a feeling that it would be as fruitless as any debate about things not rooted in reality.

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2017, 06:25:55 PM »
I've read the books, been in many conversations about them, and have taught debate. He is absolutely making a Strawman Argument about the common complaints on the series.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2017, 07:29:06 PM »
The thread topic was about the books themselves, to be fair. Criticizing the books because of the sub (heh) culture they birthed seems like a fallacy in itself...Ad Faninem? People who cant separate fantasy from reality isnt the fault of books, especially if the D/S content is as understated as Lithos says.

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #31 on: November 30, 2017, 03:41:20 AM »
It isn't as understated as he claims. It is for the first 4 or 5 books of the 34 book series but after that it is this recurring heavy handed theme weighing down everything. It is constantly in your face and becomes the basis for pretty much every relationship in the series.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #32 on: November 30, 2017, 04:04:13 AM »
The numbers that I quoted are, for example from the book 12. Slavery is certainly big institution in the books, sexual aspects of it, as stated in my posts, aren't... Things such as blowjobs for example as per the books seem to hardly exist. And sex is largely in form of person x took person y, n times.

And like in my earlier posts, I do not wish to discuss anything not regarding the books or this thread strays even further from the original posters questions.This is meant to be informative thread,  debate of less related things can have its own.

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #33 on: November 30, 2017, 04:09:57 AM »
I have literally only spoken of the content of the books. Once again you make a Strawman Argument. This will be my last response to you. I have no time or use for the intellectually dishonest.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #34 on: November 30, 2017, 02:41:07 PM »
And one thing that I did not cover yet, should of course be the geography. Mostly the knowledge of it is limited to what the people in the books know, and that would be mostly the western seaboard of one continent, the area covered is roughly from just below equator to all the way near the north pole. Sea travel is not very advanced, and also limited by peoples superstitions, so if there are further continents or remarkable islands very far away, very little or nothing about them is known.

What is considered Civilization by that world's standards is mostly concentrated to area just north of the equator on both sides of one of the great rivers. Equatorial rain forests and plains beyond, as well as northern forests and torvaldsland (rather viking inspired area) toward extreme north are mostly inhabited by what is by most in gor considered to be rather uncivilized nomads. Then again, those people consider gorean society and its customs barbaric so civilization is in the eye of beholder.

Compared to how well we know the earth, gorean people in the books know very little of their planet by our standards, mostly owing to their greco - roman technology level. There are many cues to the fact that the planet must be either much smaller than earth or of very different internal composition, since gravity of gor  is slightly lower than of Earth and it is mentioned that without certain technological efforts by the alien Priest Kings, it would be even lower.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 02:52:55 PM by Lithos »

Offline wander

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Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #35 on: November 30, 2017, 03:35:43 PM »
It's reading that kind of stuff that interests me a lot. I really enjoyed the setting chapters of Numenera and it's Ninth Age of Earth, which discussed in length of things of that nature and made it seem more tangible of a setting.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #36 on: November 30, 2017, 04:03:09 PM »
It is just very tedious to get to most tidbits, I think it would be far better book series if it was at most twelwe or thirteen volumes long. That much I liked to read well enough, and rest felt like a chore to learn more tidbits of content from among writing that then started to feel repetitive.

Imagine having to read say. All R.A Salvatores Drizzt this or that books at once. If I ever revisit the books I think I will stop around beasts of gor. I feel I got most of the world by that time, and the experience was not yet numbing. Perhaps it would have been better volume every month or two, I binge read it and it got very tedious. I really like the world and its various factions and critters though.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2017, 04:09:46 PM by Lithos »

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #37 on: November 30, 2017, 04:12:46 PM »
It's reading that kind of stuff that interests me a lot. I really enjoyed the setting chapters of Numenera and it's Ninth Age of Earth, which discussed in length of things of that nature and made it seem more tangible of a setting.

There is very little of that stuff in the books. The series is being massively misrepresented here. It is barebones crap barely deserving of being called novels. They are only slightly above the level of 50 Shades of Gray or Twilight. They are the personal fantasies of the author with the weakest form of handwaving covering any part of the setting that doesn't make any sense.

Offline wander

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Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #38 on: December 01, 2017, 11:35:47 AM »
There is very little of that stuff in the books. The series is being massively misrepresented here. It is barebones crap barely deserving of being called novels. They are only slightly above the level of 50 Shades of Gray or Twilight. They are the personal fantasies of the author with the weakest form of handwaving covering any part of the setting that doesn't make any sense.

So basically what I write here day to day then?  ::)

Offline TheSithChicken

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #39 on: December 01, 2017, 12:15:14 PM »
So basically what I write here day to day then?  ::)

No. You put much more effort into your writing than John Norman ever has. The man has the literary ability of an epileptic rhesus monkey.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #40 on: December 01, 2017, 01:47:50 PM »
Next, I can give some attention to different cultures / people inhabiting gor. I suppose easiest to start is the area where the series starts which is, among the City states along the Vosk River which is largest in the known world. The city states lining the river are clearly inspired by the city states of ancient Greece. Larges and most prominent city is city of Ar, and the most common dating system used in the region is based on founding date of Ar.
 
Central regions of the known world

At Delta of Vosk river is Port Kar which is rather a pirate influenced version of Venice than Greco roman. Strict honor codes and such that might be observed at the city states hold little weight at Port Kar, and many notables within it would not even hold any major position in the common gorean caste system. There is also very prominent State based on islands, Cos which has similar rivalry with Ar as Carthage had with Rome.

Southern regions of the known world

Far south of Vosk river are great plains that are home to wagon people tribes that owe good bit of resemblance to Mongols and other central Asian nomads. Turians and Tuchuks are the most notable ones.

Around the rain forest type areas found near what appears as the gorean equator are Schendi jungle peoples, largely based on Congo river valley tribes of earth. One difference would be tribe consisting mostly of female warriors called Taluna which are clearly based more on amazons.

South east are Tahari deserts that feature cultures similar to Arabic and Saharan nomads.

Northern regions of the known world

To north there are vast northern forests that are populated by Panther tribes, these mostly Female communities are certainly influenced by Scythian Amazons.

Going north from the northern forests mentioned earlier one finds torvaldsland and its Viking culture / village community based populations. They are known as expert sea farers and do all the pillaging one would expect Vikings to. Further north still are the Red Hunters of the north, living around the Polar Regions and clearly based on the Inuit.

Far beyond the sea

There are Feudal Japanese based people, Pani who come from areas beyond the sea and whose origins are unknown to most people at gor. Their culture and indeed the wardrobe is in many ways quite strikingly different from their main land gor counterparts but is rarely wholly represented. Most Pani in mainland gor have been stranded at port cities in one way or another, smaller groups might be just passed as oddly passed wagon people or other barbarians by general populace.
 
There is quite a few that I did not mention, what is here is what came to mind first.

Offline Oniya

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #41 on: December 01, 2017, 02:35:26 PM »
I rather suspect that Norman fell into the trap that many pulp writers of earlier days fell into - he was writing what he expected would sell well, and as a result, much of it did become repetitive.  I've binge-read Burroughs, and at a certain point, John Carter, Tarzan, and Carson of Venus blur together just a bit.  ::)  At that point he a) had a core audience that would howl if they didn't get what they expected and b) had a reputation that made it increasingly difficult to market his work (DAW Books refused to publish 'Witness of Gor', citing 'poor sales', a claim that Norman rejected, citing data from international markets.)

On the other hand, it's possible that he had developed enough of an ego at that point (a failing I've seen in other writers as well) that he would simply brook no criticism of his magnum opus.

On a side note, a friend of mine told me that both Norman and Marion Zimmer Bradley were guests once at a convention he attended in the DC area.  The autograph line was reportedly quite - tense.

Offline Lithos

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #42 on: December 01, 2017, 03:12:53 PM »
I did most of Burroughs books in same way, a lot earlier though. I wish I had that kind of time still these days. Nowdays I am lucky if I get to finish one book in month or two. Christmas vacation might be decent chance to have a bit heavier bout of reading. I think my next reading venture will be something more strictly Scifi though.

With gor books, the latter volumes the focus feels to leave adventure and it makes it a lot harder to focus on reading... for most purposes, be it knowing the world or RP in it, I think one can get more than familiar enough with the world with first ten volumes or so. That range also has the best that the books have to offer. I am not sure I would have had awesome time with last fifteen volumes even with slower pacing.

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Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2017, 11:15:15 PM »
I read up to--I believe--the 9th or 10th book in the series before tiring of it, when I was in my teens.  After reading Tolkien, Zelazny, LeGuin, and the occasional Thieve's World books, the Gor series was dense with detail, but rather poor in dialogue; making it parallel, I'd guess, George Lucas and his writing of Star Wars.  I appreciate detail, so I enjoyed reading the early books.  A new fantasy world, similar in form (if not style) to Conan or John Carter, and including sexual themes that are entirely absent from most fantasy novels I'd read--it interested my teen libido.  No sex scenes to speak of, though there is more than enough sexual atmosphere, with all the focus on male-female interaction in such a M/s theme. 

There's no surprise endings, nor really any unexpected twists.  In a lot of ways, it reminded me of a 60s sexual escapism version of Ben Hur.  The pace in the novels is quite slow--think Dune-like slow--and the dialogue is uninspired and plodding.  I don't know...perhaps for my young mind at the time, it was just what I was looking for.  I remember re-reading two of the earliest books more than once...Assassin of Gor and Raiders of Gor?  Honestly, reading the Lankhmar books is far more satisfying to me, but despite the D/s themes in the Gor novels, it feels very derivative, on the level of how the Sword of Shannara was so derivative of The Lord Of The Rings.

It's very simplistic, and I saw it as escapism and enjoyable in an empty-headed way.  Considering it dangerous makes no sense to me.  If the crazies in the Gor-lifestyle community have a problem, it's that the internet allows mentally ill people to congregate and share ideas together.  They are the problem, not the works of fiction they draw their philosophy from.


Offline wander

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Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #44 on: December 08, 2017, 11:25:25 AM »
That bottom paragraph I totally agree with, it's down to the people not the work with stuff like that, IMO without reading them of course.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #45 on: December 08, 2017, 12:21:47 PM »
The alternative, of course, is that the author was a member of the Illuminati and laced his books with fnords.

Offline Oniya

Re: The Gorean Saga, a Discussion and Inquiry
« Reply #46 on: December 08, 2017, 01:46:43 PM »
Why would he want to make people feel uneasy reading his books?  You'd think he would make his writing very fnord-free to increase readership.