John Norman

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

John Frederick Lange, Jr. (born June 3, 1931), better known under his pen name John Norman, is a professor of philosophy and an author. He is best known for his Gor novel series.


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 has 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.

A fourth book in the Telnarian Histories series (The Usurper) is in pre-order status shipping in March 2015.

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


Edgar Rice Burroughs's John Carter of Mars novels may have been an inspiration for Norman's Gor novels, but Norman's series definitely stands apart. 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, sometimes to the extent of a repetitious description or thought. Though the series could be categorized as male adventure genre, the place of caste, families, children, and other aspects of society are explained, however, mundane aspects of real life, which go without saying, are not generally discussed.

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 — 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] without Lange's participation or cooperation.



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

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]



External links[edit]