The planet Gor, or Counter-Earth is a BDSM cuturally based science-fantasy book series created by the author John Norman nee John Lange. It has been widely conjectured, although never confirmed, that other writers have contributed to the Chronicals of Gor . There are currently twenty-eight 'pulp' novels comprising the series.
General Gorean CultureEdit
Gor translates from the Gorean language as Home Stone. Therefore, to its inhabitants , their world is known as the Home Stone. The term is also applied to an individual stone which represents the heart and soul of a particular house or community .
To a Human inhabitant of Gor, nothing is more important than their local Home Stome, be it city, village, or individual dwelling stone. Honor, family, life itself all take second place to the sanctity of the Home Stone.
The Home Stone concept is simple and self explanatory. The Home Stone is a rock . It can be any sort of rock of any size. Plain or decorated. The physical characteristics are actually secondary to the significance infused into it by a person or group declaring that the object shall be the heart, the epicenter of their individual domicile or village. Once the common stone, be it gotten in a river or by the side of a road or in a gutter, has been designated as a Home Stone it becomes sacred, inviolate.
All free-born adults must swear allegiance to their Home Stone. They must be ever ready to defend it, against the slightest slur. They must be willing to lay down their lives to prevent its thief.
The greatest failure is to suffer the loss of a Home Stone. The greatest crime is to steal a Home Stone. The greatest victory against an enemy is to capture his Home Stone.
This sacred object is commonly kept in the marketplace of a village or town. It is guarded well.
Radiating out from the actual Home Stone itself in importance is a person's dwelling or town or city-state as the next most significant thing in his life. His community is considered a living entity which must be honored and protected. His fields, his city streets, its buildings and bridges are all part of a living organism which nourishes himself and his family and will do the same for the generations to come. It must be cherished and helped to prosper down through the ages.
Only after discharging his duty to the Home Stone and his community does a Gorean's thoughts turn to the third pillar of his existence, his family.
Goreans are strongly family-oriented. Children are particularly held dear. Adults are patient and caring with their own off-spring and those their neighbors. On Gor it truly does take a village to raise a child. Only the insane would commit child-abuse in any form.
After Home Stone, Town, and Family, comes personal Honor. A free man is only as good as his reputation. Whether he is truly an honorable man, a Gorean seeks to have his neighbors perceive him as such. A member of the Warrior/Askari Caste is particularly prickly about his honor and will go to great lengths to defend it.
Goreans, whether city dwellers, plainsman, Rainforest inhabitant, or tundra walker abide by the laws of their community. To be declared a criminal is shameful. To become an outlaw is to lose caste and therefore all protection and to risk enslavement.
Most communities on Gor exist under a caste-system.
The castes and their order of importance vary from city to city, peoples to peoples. Members of a particular caste can usually be identified by caste colors, and/or style of dress, or body decoration. Being a member of a certain caste bestows upon an individual the right to work at certain professions and to learn its secrets. A honorable person would no more betray his caste than Home Stone or city or family.
Men and women are born into the caste of their parents and seldom move out of it into another.
General Definition of A Gorean
Therefore, the typical Gorean is defined by his protection of his Home Stone, defense of his community, stewardship of his family, maintenance of his honor, obediance to the law, and loyalty to his caste.
The average Gorean is a happy, well-adjusted person, free of most Terran neurosis . He is taught to appreciate the natural beauty around him and eager to laugh. Because of this lust for life he tends to show up to work late and to leave early, not being enslaved to the clock, which are rare on the planet in any case.
Due to the advanced technological influence of the Sardar, otherwise known as the Priest-Kings, the dominant life-form of Gor, the planet is kept opposed on the other side of the Solar-system's Sun away from Earth.
Planet Gor is alien to the Solar-system, as it was brought into solar orbit by the race of beings known as the Sardar.
There is no exact circumference of the Gorean world given in the series, although it is stated that the planet is a globe, which hosts three satellites, erroneously labeled as moons. In strict astronomical terminology there is but one Moon, the sister planet of the Earth/Moon system. Two of the three satellites are named, the Prison Moon, a manufactured body, and the Larger Moon.
There is one known super continent of Gor and several islands lying off its west coast. Its polar regions are solid surfaces but not stated whether they are strictly glacial formations or have underlying rocky surfaces. The nature of much of the super continent geography is not known to the planet's Human inhabitants, as the Gorean culture derives almost exclusively from along its western coast, extending east inland only a few thousand miles. What lies at the eastern coast of the continent is a complete mystery, as is what lies out in the western portion of the world ocean-sea known as Thassa.
The known geography of Gor ranges from the frigid polar regions, to its temperate, and Equatorialzones. As the planet experiences seasonal changes similar to Earth it may be assumed that Gor is tilted on its axis.
The exact contours of the world ocean's basin, Thassa, is unknown as there is an electro-magnetic forcefield barrier some hundreds of miles out in the sea which prevents circumnavigation. In addition to Thassa, Gor hosts a variety of lakes, rivers, and streams. Its Equatorial lakes are quite large and one, Lake Shaba could well be considered a fresh water sea, much like the American Great Lakes or the African Lake Victoria of Earth.
There is tundra, plains, hills, and mountains. The Voltai Mountain Range, comparable to the Terran Himalaya Plateau, is itself a natural barrier which divides the super-continent, east and west. The black rock Sardar Range is home to the advanced race of the Priest-Kings, self-described rulers of the planet.
- see Gorean Maps
GOREANS-- Peoples of GorEdit
- see Gorean Glossary
The Sardar constructed Gor eons ago. They brought the planet into the Solar-system millions of years ago. It is known that the Sardar brought Humans to Gor. Although there has been conjecture that some sort of humanoid may have evolved on Gor, the subject has not been expounded upon in the series and may, in fact, be apocryphal.
Aside from Sardar and Humanity, other sentient races inhabit Counter-Earth.
There are the giant, pacifist talking Spider People which inhabit the Arian swamps and engage in trade for their spun websilk.
There are the Urt People, an intelligent rat-like race.
A space-faring race, their lifespans encompass millions of years. They propagate by external egg. Extremely intelligent and scientifically advanced, xenophobic and megalomaniac, they believe themselves Man's superior in all ways. Liking people to cattle, or any other herd animal. However, all of the Sardar's greatest accomplishment were discovered and performed millions of years ago, they are now a decadent and endangered species which nearly destroyed itself and the entire planet in a relatively recent civil war.
Gor was saved through the intervention of Human engineers. Indeed, the entire Sardar species was saved from extinction by a Human.
Many people consider the Priest-Kings gods and have formed a religion around them. The Sardar themselves do not believe themselves divine.
The Sardar, or as more commonly known as the Priest-Kings, are sentient insects.
The average Sardar’s body is covered in a golden hued exo-skeleton. Its head is a globe with two great compound eyes and lateral-hinged jaws. From the head extend two antenae, which are jointed, long and covered with short golden hairs. It stands eighteen feet in height, three feet wide at the shoulders. It is six-legged, with its two forelegs habitually held before its body.
It bears a strong physical resemmblance to the much smaller in magnitude Preying Mantis of Earth.
It stood framed in the doorway.
In its way it was very beautiful, golden and tall, looming over me, framed in that massive portal. It was not more than a yard wide but its head nearly touched the top of the portal and so I would judged that, standing as it did, it must have been nearly eighteen feet high.
It had six legs and a great head like a globe of gold with eyes like vast luminous disks. Its two forelegs, poised and alert, were lifted delicately in front of its body. Its jaws opened and closed once. They moved laterally.
From its head there extended two fragile, jointed appendages, long and covered with short quivering strands of golden hair. These two appendages, like eyes, swept the room once and then seemed to focus on me.
They curved toward me like delicate golden pincers and each of the countless golden strands on those appendages straightened and pointed toward me like a quivering golden needle.
I could not conjecture the nature of the creature’s experience but I knew that I stood within the center of its sensory field.
About its neck there hung a small circular device, a translator of some sort, similar to but more compact than those I had hitherto seen.
I sensed a new set of odors, secreted by what stood before me.
Almost simultaneously a mechanically reproduced voice began to emanate from the translator.
It spoke in Gorean.
I knew what it would say.
"Lo Sardar," it said. "I am a Priest-King." --from Book 3 Priest-Kings of Gor
Humanity was brought to Gor by the Sardar during their Voyages of Acquisition. Different breeds of Humans, Africans, Asian, New World Indian, European, Oceanic were all sampled and transferred to Gor during different cultural stages of Terran cultural advancement. Grecco-Roman, Arab, Bantu, Viking, and other cultures were brought whole-piece to Counter-Earth and settled in dispersed areas. The City Gorean language reflects this diversity, with the Jungle/Rainforest tongues seeming to all have roots in the Earth trade-tongue Swahili .
On Gor, Homo Sapien advancement is kept at the pre-industrial stage by the Sardar. The Priest-Kings fear Humanity and feel technical advancements in weaponry and certain sciences can only lead Man to his own extinction. Strict prohibitions are kept on weapon advancement and technological advancement such as powered flight.
The Human population is spied upon through satellite surveillance and spies, some with neural-modification.
Medical science is allowed to flourish, as are machines which aid in education.
Humanity on Gor may be roughly divided into:
City Goreans; the City-dwellers
Kimwitu/Inlanders; the Rainforest dwellers
- see Kimwitu/Inlander People main article
Mamba People; the Rainforest dwellers Cannibals
Pygmy People; the Rainforest dwellers little people
Rencers; the Rence Marsh dwellers
Red Hunters; the Tundra dwellers
Red Savages; the Barrens dwellers
Wagon People; the Plains dwellers
Panther Girls; Northern Forest dwellers
Talunas; Equatorial Rainforest dwellers
Outlaws; Criminals without Home Stones roaming where they will
Tall, fur-covered, weigh several hundreds of pounds, are very strong and tenacious, fanged, opposable thumb claws, tend toward right-handedness, and are stranger hating race. Meticulous in their grooming habits, often ornamented with earrings, and honorable among themselves. They consider Priest-Kings their mortal enemies and Humans food. Once a technologically advanced race, they are now reduced to raiders, living in aging spacecraft called Steel-Worlds. Periodically, the invade the inner Solar-system in an unending quest to conquer both Gor and Earth, although the atmosphere of both planets are harsh to them.However, some descendants of shipwrecked crews have survived on Gor, although they've reverted to a primitive form.
Over hundreds of thousands of years the Kurri have clashed with the Sardar four times and lost each war. They employ Humans as agents on both Terra and Gor.
...It was one of the Urt People. It had a narrow, elongated face and rather large, ovoid eyes. It was narrow shouldered and narrow-chested. It had long, thin arms and short, spindly legs. It commonly walked, or hurried, bent over, its knuckles often on the ground, its head often moving from side to side.
--Book 20 Players of Gor
The Urt People are somewhat of a mystery. They tend to travel concealed in true urt packs, the normally agressive urts not attacking them. They appear to be nomadic. What culture they possess is unknown although they can understand and speak Gorean. Some of them enjoy wagering.
...I led her by the hand towards Nar, helped her to the glossy, hairy back of the spider, and climbed up after her. Wordlessly Nar moved rapidly through the marsh, his eight delicate feet scarcely seeming to dip into the greenish water. Once he stepped into quicksand, and his back tilted suddenly. I held the daughter of the Ubar tightly as the insect righted himself, floating in the muck for a second, and then managing to free himself with his eight scrambling legs.
--Book 1 Tarnsman of Gor
The Spider People are highly intelligent giant pacifist spiders who trade their silk with the merchants of the City of Ar. They communicate through language translaters slung about their heads.