John Norman

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For other uses, see John Norman (disambiguation).
John Norman
Born (1931-06-03) June 3, 1931 (age 84)
Chicago, Illinois
Occupation Professor of philosophy, writer
Alma mater
Genre Sword and planet
Notable works Gor novel series
Spouse Bernice L. Green (1956–present)
  • John
  • David
  • Jennifer
  • John Frederick Lange (father)
  • Almyra D. Lange née Taylor (mother)

Dr. John Frederick Lange, Jr. (born June 3, 1931), who writes under the name John Norman, is the author of the Gor series of fantasy novels, and a professor of philosophy.


John Lange was born in Chicago, Illinois to John Frederick Lange and Almyra D. Lange (née Taylor).

He began his academic career in the early 1950s, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nebraska in 1953, and his Master of Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 1957. While at USC he married Bernice L. Green on January 14, 1956. The couple have three children: John, David, and Jennifer.

Academic career[edit]

Lange earned his Ph.D. in 1963 from Princeton University. His dissertation was named: "In defence of ethical naturalism: an examination of certain aspects of naturalistic fallacy, with particular attention to the logic of an open question argument". Lange summed it up in an interview[1] by saying "if one cannot make sense of morality within some sort of satisfying, natural context, then one is likely to end up with no morality, which is less than societally reassuring, or is likely to end up with a competitive plethora of moralities in which ninety-nine percent of the world's population is convinced that the other ninety-nine percent is unclean, stupid, uninformed, vicious, depraved, in need of coercive correction, and such. That too, seems less than reassuring."

As of 2012, he is a professor at Queens College of the City University of New York.[2]

Writing career[edit]

Norman's fiction attained popularity in the 1970s and early 1980s with an estimated 6[3] to 12[4] million copies sold.

John Norman's "Gorean Saga" is a long-running series of adventure science fiction novels, starting in December 1966 with Tarnsman of Gor. The series was put on hold after its twenty-fifth installment, Magicians of Gor, in 1988, when DAW refused to publish its successor, Witness of Gor. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a trade publishing outlet, the series was brought back into print in 2001 with the publication of Witness of Gor. Norman has also produced a separate science fiction series, the Telnarian Histories, plus three other fiction works, five nonfiction works, and a collection of thirty short stories.

All of Norman’s work is available both in print and as ebooks.[citation needed]

Norman has said that the three major influences on his work are Homer, Freud, and Nietzsche.[5]


Norman includes lengthy philosophical and sociological dissertations criticizing the malaise of modern society (everything from common dishonesty to nuclear holocaust) in his Gorean stories. A variety of societies, cultures and moral concepts are described in depth in his novels.

His fiction places emphasis on living in accordance with a Nietzschean natural order, supporting a hierarchy of talent. He uses this hierarchy as a framework to analyze differences in society, and he contends that the woman is by nature a submissive helper of the dominant man. Norman's work often takes this observation literally: heroes enslave heroines who, upon being enslaved, revel in the discovery of their natural place. Although bondage in his Imaginative Sex guide is overtly and completely sexual in nature, the bondage and slavery presented on "Gor" follows along the lines of societal or legal slavery; a common way of life as reflected in ancient Rome and other societies. While the philosophy presented is unquestionably that of male dominance, male characters are themselves often enslaved by powerful females. In an interview[1] with Polygraff magazine, Norman stated that he believes that it is obvious that all societies are based on dominance and hierarchy.

Norman's Gorean themes also are heavily influenced by social darwinism[citation needed] — only the strongest will survive, and the ultimate test of this is mortal combat for territory, resources, and mating partners. Social co-operation and other altruistic considerations exist only to serve this ideal. The weak should be despised and exploited, and the strong exalted. This serves as the overriding theme in all of Norman's Gorean novels.

Gorean subculture[edit]

A Gorean subculture, based on his Gor novels, has developed and assembled on the Internet and in real life,[6][7] without Lange's participation or cooperation. Scholars have discussed the way that Gorean subculture groups on mediums such as Second Life and Internet Relay Chat have influenced the development of online role-playing and even the Mmorpg genre.[6]



Gor series[edit]

  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 0-7592-5445-1
  5. Assassin of Gor (1970) ISBN 0-7592-0091-2
  6. Raiders of Gor (1971) ISBN 0-7592-0153-6
  7. Captive of Gor (1972) ISBN 0-7592-0105-6
  8. Hunters of Gor (1974) ISBN 0-7592-0130-7
  9. Marauders of Gor (1975) ISBN 0-7592-0141-2
  10. Tribesmen of Gor (1976) ISBN 0-7592-5446-X
  11. Slave Girl of Gor (1977) ISBN 0-7592-0454-3
  12. Beasts of Gor (1978) ISBN 0-7592-1125-6
  13. Explorers of Gor (1979) ISBN 0-7592-1167-1
  14. Fighting Slave of Gor (1980) ISBN 0-7592-1173-6
  15. Rogue of Gor (1981) ISBN 0-7592-1179-5
  16. Guardsman of Gor (1981) ISBN 0-7592-1368-2
  17. Savages of Gor (1982) ISBN 0-7592-1374-7
  18. Blood Brothers of Gor (1982) ISBN 0-7592-1380-1
  19. Kajira of Gor (1983) ISBN 0-7592-1926-5
  20. Players of Gor (1984) ISBN 0-7592-1932-X
  21. Mercenaries of Gor (1985) ISBN 0-7592-1944-3
  22. Dancer of Gor (1985) ISBN 0-7592-1950-8
  23. Renegades of Gor (1986) ISBN 0-7592-1956-7
  24. Vagabonds of Gor (1987) ISBN 0-7592-1980-X
  25. Magicians of Gor (1988) ISBN 0-7592-1986-9
  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 0-7592-9782-7
  29. Swordsmen of Gor (2010) ISBN 1-6175-6040-5
  30. Mariners of Gor (2011) ISBN 0-7592-9989-7
  31. Conspirators of Gor (2012) ISBN 1-6175-6731-0
  32. Smugglers of Gor (Oct 2012) ISBN 1-6175-6865-1
  33. Rebels of Gor (Oct 2013) ISBN 1-6175-6123-1
  34. Plunder of Gor (June 2016) ISBN 1-5040-3406-6

Telnarian Histories series[edit]

  1. The Chieftain (1991) ISBN 1-58586-717-9
  2. The Captain (1992) ISBN 1-58586-721-7
  3. The King (1993) ISBN 1-58586-725-X
  4. The Usurper (2015) ISBN 978-1497679269

Other novels[edit]

Short-story collections[edit]



  1. ^ a b Polygraff Staff (2010), "An Exclusive Interview With John Norman, Author of the Gor Series of Novels.", Polygraff (Montreal: Polymancer Studios, Inc.) 1 (2), pp. 47–53, ISSN 1918-655X, retrieved 2010-12-15 
  2. ^ Philosophy Page Full Time Faculty
  3. ^ Press Release #1, retrieved 2011-01-06 
  4. ^ John Norman – Libertarian, retrieved 2015-03-09 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Jøn, A. Asbjørn (2010). "The Development of MMORPG Culture and The Guild". Australian Folklore: A Yearly Journal of Folklore Studies (University of New England) (25): 97–112. Retrieved 13 November 2015. 
  7. ^ BBC: Officers discover sex-slave cult

External links[edit]