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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 6/24/2017 5:04:21 AM   
WhoreMods


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Gotcha. The Gorean thing has now been around for long enough to become a self-sustaining community that attracts new arrivals from from elsewhere in the community rather than outside, then. I was thinking more of people of a certain age having been inspired to investigate BDSM by reading the books, rather than the possibility of there having been non-BDSM orientated Goreans outside of the fetish scene first, though. Sorry that wasn't clear. I was forgetting that the Gor books describe etiquette for a slave owning maledom society in a lot of detail, and that as the ritualisation and protocols involved in power exchanges are an important factor for a lot of people into BDSM, of course that's going to intrigue a lot of people who've never even heard of the books or John Norman. Thanks for clearing that up.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 7/11/2017 4:20:42 AM   
asub2b4u


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I love Norman's work and yes the books are a great read

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 7/28/2017 5:00:31 PM   
ThatDizzyChick


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FR
quote:

Are the Gorean Books any good?

Oh Jesus fuck no, they are complete drek. Just about the worst writing you will encounter.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 7/29/2017 11:23:53 AM   
tamaka


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ThatDizzyChick

FR
quote:

Are the Gorean Books any good?

Oh Jesus fuck no, they are complete drek. Just about the worst writing you will encounter.


Depends on your perspective. If you can't self-identify with any of the characters, i guess you wouldn't appreciate its value.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 7/30/2017 8:51:43 AM   
WhoreMods


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quote:

ORIGINAL: tamaka


quote:

ORIGINAL: ThatDizzyChick

FR
quote:

Are the Gorean Books any good?

Oh Jesus fuck no, they are complete drek. Just about the worst writing you will encounter.


Depends on your perspective. If you can't self-identify with any of the characters, i guess you wouldn't appreciate its value.


It's a bit unfair to put the onus solely on the reader like that: if Norman was a better writer it wouldn't be an issue, would it? Characterisation is a pretty basic skill for most writers, after all, and there's plenty of writers who can work philosophical exposition into a narrative a lot more smoothly and unobtrusively than professor Lange has ever managed: Wells, Griffiths, London, Scott, Kipling and Vidal all spring to mind for a start, and I'm sure you have your own list.
(That said, most of the appeal of the Gorean series, particularly for people posting on here, is unrelated to Norman/Lange's skills as a writer anyway. It's all about the society he's designed, and characterisation only really gets a look in as newbies adjust to their new context.)

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 7/30/2017 9:34:30 AM   
ThatDizzyChick


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quote:

Depends on your perspective.

No. Crap writing is crap writing. I am not saying anything about the philosophies involved here, the question was if the books are any good, and the answer is an unequivocal no. They are very poorly written, the phrasing is stilted at best and dialogues are even worse. The characters lack plasticity and the plots generally do nothing to move them in new directions, serving, for the most part to reinforce and confirm rather than to challenge and develop.

The philosophical aspects are inserted into the narrative very clumsily, and often in plot inappropriate places. And the plots themselves are weak and far too archetypal, they are not sufficiently differentiated to justify the telling of the tale. He makes insufficient use of allegory and metaphor, choosing rather to pontificate, and does so with no finesse.

If the philosophical aspects interest you, then by all means suffer through the poor presentation, but if you are looking for a good read, then look elsewhere.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 8/3/2017 7:12:00 AM   
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quote:

ORIGINAL: TheTrickster

I've been interested in them for a while and have heard different things I'm curious are the books any good?


It depends on your level of literary sophistication, and how important specific content is to you. I think most people read them out of interest in the subject matter. From a literary standpoint, they are appallingly badly written.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 8/24/2017 7:52:13 AM   
Svale


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TheTrickster

I've been interested in them for a while and have heard different things I'm curious are the books any good?


The first about 6-8 books are good. Then they get boring, more like propaganda for the author's views than good stories.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 8/25/2017 12:08:26 AM   
Dominair


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Are any Gorean munches currently happening in Atlanta?

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 8/25/2017 1:51:37 AM   
Malkinius


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Dominair....

I think there was a semi-regular Gorean meeting going on for a while in the Atlanta area but I think it ended some time ago. You could check on FetLife for Goreans and Atlanta and see what you find. We usually use gathering rather than munches for our meal meetings. It is still meeting and talking over food but usually much more boring than BDSM munches as the topics tend to be very different. All of the usual BDSM topics are usually absent.

Malkinius

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 8/26/2017 4:25:24 AM   
WhoreMods


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Malkinius

Dominair....

I think there was a semi-regular Gorean meeting going on for a while in the Atlanta area but I think it ended some time ago. You could check on FetLife for Goreans and Atlanta and see what you find. We usually use gathering rather than munches for our meal meetings. It is still meeting and talking over food but usually much more boring than BDSM munches as the topics tend to be very different. All of the usual BDSM topics are usually absent.

Malkinius

Do you at least have kajira attending the munches wearing very little comparing their brands?


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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 9/2/2017 6:01:32 PM   
submgreenbay


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I have known of this Gorean stuff for many years, but never really bothered to follow it or look into it any further, till this recent thread.

Turns out open openlibrary.org has a few of the books, so I was able to read a bit, and might pick up a paper copy (paper is still my preferred reading medium).

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 9/3/2017 3:49:52 PM   
thorolook


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WhoreMods....

quote:

ORIGINAL: WhoreMods
Do you at least have kajira attending the munches wearing very little comparing their brands?



Around here if we go out to eat in a restaurant everyone wears what is appropriate to the place and weather. In our private meetings, kajira are restricted to a one piece garment. A few have had tattoos but not most and no brands. Most of us don't use actual brands. There are a lot more of those in the BDSM world than among Goreans from all that I have seen.

Malkinius

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 9/4/2017 6:08:46 AM   
WhoreMods


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Thanks, and that's interesting: I'd always thought that it was largely down to the Goreans that branding became a BDSM thing in the first place.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 9/4/2017 7:27:08 AM   
Musicmystery


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Generally, the Gor books are read not for the high-quality fiction (it's not), but rather as thought-experiments, that is, for the ideas, implications, and resonance with what we know and experience in our world and society. Broadly, that thesis is that our society is flawed, that those flaws come from our estrangement with the natural world and our own natures, both as individuals and as societies, and that a closer and more honest connection to that natural core would be more conducive to growing and strengthening both individuals and societies, to our better individual and collective happiness.

That the focus people often bring is the master/slave element, a subset of the Gorean philosophy presented, is not the fault of the author. Anyone reading for wank fodder will be sorely disappointed.

That said, Norman, an academic but a novice fiction writer when he set out, eschewed an editor -- which would have served many of the books well.

Within the dozens of books, quality varies. And there are subsets within--the Jason trilogy, for example, and the Blood Brothers pair (which, as fiction, are remarkably better than the others). Other favorites are Nomads, Marauders, and Magicians.

Still other favorites are based not on quality per se, but on fan resonance among aspects of his audience -- Dancer, for example, is popular with woman identifying as slaves.

As in many things -- beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I always suggest curious people come, read, take what works for you, leave the rest.

But mainly, these are meant to really make you think. Back when this forum was active, Leonidas (and others) would pose situations that brought treasured values in conflict, really making us reach down and get honest and real about our thoughts, lives, natures, and values.

Ideally, that's what to do with the Gor novels. Though it means wading through long repetitive sections.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 9/4/2017 1:30:46 PM   
WhoreMods


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I'm told that DAW were very happy about Professor Lange's refusal to be edited, as it meant they could just send his manuscripts straight to the printers after a quick proof read, rather than having to make any effort tidying them up for him.

If you're reading the books purely as philosophy, rather than fiction, your other points are all fair enough, but the constant ideological jibber jabber really gets in the way of the plot if you've bought them expecting an adventure story (as which the cover art rather seemed to be pushing them). I can enjoy a character driven tale that pays no attention to plotting but (as you say) Professor Lange doesn't seem very interested in characters either. And, for a setting that's supposedly been developed as a showcase for arguments about sociology and philosophy, it seems a bit off that it took the author three books to realise that he needed to explain how a philosophically pleasing bronze age culture could be maintained on a planet where significant chunks of the population were recruited from twentieth century Earth. (I actually rather like the Priest Kings as a piece of local colour that has blatantly been introduced to plug a plot hole and then developed in more detail later on, but you can see the joins in book 3, can't you?)

I've always wondered whether Norman had ever read any of Andre Norton's vaguely similar but slightly fem-dom-y Witch World books before he started in on his own ERB style science fantasy series? I'm sure Norton published the first Witch World book before '66.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 10/19/2017 8:43:37 AM   
Bhruic


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quote:

ORIGINAL: WhoreMods

I've always wondered whether Norman had ever read any of Andre Norton's vaguely similar but slightly fem-dom-y Witch World books before he started in on his own ERB style science fantasy series? I'm sure Norton published the first Witch World book before '66.


I don't know... but he sure read John Carter of Mars, which Tarnsmen of Gor is a straight rip off of.

And why don't "real" Goreans have brands? (referencing Malkinius' comment above). Surely branding is a part of Gor easily adopted on modern earth. Is it because it hurts? I can understand Gorean "role players" skipping that part, but not "real" Goreans.


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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 10/19/2017 3:46:45 PM   
Musicmystery


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If it makes you feel any better, there are some Goreans (and some BDSMers) with brands.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 10/19/2017 6:41:55 PM   
LTE


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quote:

ORIGINAL: thorolook

WhoreMods....

quote:

ORIGINAL: WhoreMods
Do you at least have kajira attending the munches wearing very little comparing their brands?



Around here if we go out to eat in a restaurant everyone wears what is appropriate to the place and weather. In our private meetings, kajira are restricted to a one piece garment. A few have had tattoos but not most and no brands. Most of us don't use actual brands. There are a lot more of those in the BDSM world than among Goreans from all that I have seen.

Malkinius


This is an interesting signature.

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RE: Are the Gorean Books any good? - 10/20/2017 5:27:36 AM   
WhoreMods


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bhruic


quote:

ORIGINAL: WhoreMods

I've always wondered whether Norman had ever read any of Andre Norton's vaguely similar but slightly fem-dom-y Witch World books before he started in on his own ERB style science fantasy series? I'm sure Norton published the first Witch World book before '66.


I don't know... but he sure read John Carter of Mars, which Tarnsmen of Gor is a straight rip off of.

And why don't "real" Goreans have brands? (referencing Malkinius' comment above). Surely branding is a part of Gor easily adopted on modern earth. Is it because it hurts? I can understand Gorean "role players" skipping that part, but not "real" Goreans.


I'd suspect brands aren't all that widely adopted by Goreans for the same reason as they're not that common in the rest of the fetish scene. Whatever Lange/Norman and Pauline Reage say in their fiction, it's very difficult to brand somebody showing a design rather than a blob of scar tissue, not guaranteed to show the design that's intended very clearly, and bound to fade and become less distinct however good a job is done initially. Slavegirls just don't have the sort of thick hide that lends itself to branding, and tattoos are a lot more permanent, even if they take a lot longer to apply.

And yep, Norman's ERB pastiching is very blatant indeed in the first three or four books, and still pretty obvious when the main thrust of the series shifts from swashbuckling to philosophy. It seems that Burroughs was the main source for the '60s generation of fantasy writers who sprang up between the pulp lot in the twenties and thirties and the Tolkein impersonators who started appearing in the late '70s and had become a virtual infestation in a decade or two. As well as Norton and Norman you've got Michael Moorcock, Zelazny (the Amber books are a strange mash up of CS Lewis and Dennis Wheatley, but Jack of Shadows is very Burroughsian), Phillip Jose Farmer (who clearly loved Burroughs the way Roman Polanski loves jailbait) and Jack Vance.

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