Back in 1966, I bought a copy of John Norman’s Tarnsman of Gor and was transported into a world very similar to Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom. This “Counter-Earth” is on the other side of the Sun and is ruled by the insectoid Priest-Kings, an alien race with advanced technology. “John Noman” is the pseudonym of John Lange, a college professor, who has written 30 novels in the Gor series. The early books followed the pattern set in Tarnsman of Gor, but the later books focused on S&M sex and philosophical issues (not surprising since the author teaches Philosophy). I found the later books in the Gor series a bit tedious, but the first four or five books in the series deliver all the action and adventure you could ever want!
* 1 Tarnsman of Gor (1966) ISBN 0-345-27583-7
* 2 Outlaw of Gor (1967) ISBN 0-345-27136-X
* 3 Priest-Kings of Gor (1968) ISBN 0-7592-0036-X
* 4 Nomads of Gor (1969) ISBN 0-75925-445-1
* 5 Assassin of Gor (1970) ISBN 0-75920-091-2
* 6 Raiders of Gor (1971) ISBN 0-75920-153-6
* 7 Captive of Gor (1972) ISBN 0-75920-105-6
* 8 Hunters of Gor (1974) ISBN 0-75920-130-7
* 9 Marauders of Gor (1975) ISBN 0-75920-141-2
* 10 Tribesmen of Gor (1976) ISBN 0-75925-446-X
* 11 Slave Girl of Gor (1977) ISBN 0-75920-454-3
* 12 Beasts of Gor (1978) ISBN 0-75921-125-6
* 13 Explorers of Gor (1979) ISBN 0-75921-167-1
* 14 Fighting Slave of Gor (1980) ISBN 0-75921-173-6
* 15 Rogue of Gor (1981) ISBN 0-75921-179-5
* 16 Guardsman of Gor (1981) ISBN 0-75921-368-2
* 17 Savages of Gor (1982) ISBN 0-75921-374-7
* 18 Blood Brothers of Gor (1982) ISBN 0-75921-380-1
* 19 Kajira of Gor (1983) ISBN 0-75921-926-5
* 20 Players of Gor (1984) ISBN 0-75921-932-X
* 21 Mercenaries of Gor (1985) ISBN 0-75921-944-3
* 22 Dancer of Gor (1985) ISBN 0-75921-950-8
* 23 Renegades of Gor (1986) ISBN 0-75921-956-7
* 24 Vagabonds of Gor (1987) ISBN 0-75921-980-X
* 25 Magicians of Gor (1988) ISBN 0-75921-986-9
* 26 Witness of Gor (2001) ISBN 0-7592-4235-6
* 27 Prize of Gor (2008) ISBN 0-7592-4580-0
* 28 Kur of Gor (2009) ISBN 0-7592-4580-0
* 29 Swordsmen of Gor (2010) ISBN 1-6175-6040-5
* 30 Mariners of Gor (2011) [to be published]

15 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #96: TARNSMAN OF GOR By John Norman

  1. Todd Mason

    Tedious and gutless (“Pauline Reage” had both courage and skill in similar work in comparison)…but inspirational of a cult or at least a subculture. I’ll take your word for it that the earliest books are less desperately bad.

    1. george Post author

      Actually, the first four or five books of the Gor series are pretty good, Todd. The later books suffered from tedious philosophical debates and a lack of action.

  2. Richard R.

    I agree with your assessment, the first handful are the best. I have all but the last couple, but will never read more of them, preferring to go back to the ERB books instead, should the desire for this kind of story come upon me. I particularly like this cover, and the rest of them are pretty great too, perhaps the best part of the series is the cover art.

    1. george Post author

      The covers got better as the series went on, Rick. I was tempted to include two or three of the earlier, less bold covers for TARNSMAN OF GOR, but I resisted.

  3. michael

    E-Reads publishes the Gor books and recently had two blogs about the popular Gorean saga. Dec. 3rd featured an announcement of the release of Swordmen of Gor Vol. 29. But much more interesting was the Dec. 4th blog that featured the fans of Gor and the popular roleplaying of the Gorean saga. It discussed the female fanbase and included a YouTube video with typical Gorean roleplaying.

    I, like others here, am not a fan of the books, but I found it interesting to learn what others see in the books.

    1. george Post author

      Thanks for the links, Michael. There’s no doubt the Gor series has a strong following. I enjoy the early adventure novels in the series, but am less impressed by the later books.


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