THE CHRONICLES OF COUNTER-EARTH
John Norman's Gorean Chronicles set on Counter-Earth,
Gor is the name of the parallel universe, Counter-Earth setting for fantasy novels inspired by E R Burroughs Barsoom series and R E Howard's Almuric.
being the Saga of Tarl Cabot, in his battles against the Priest-Kings.
Known for combining philosophy, erotica, and science fantasy, the series has been variably referred to by several names including; The Chronicles of Counter-Earth (Ballantine Books), The Saga of Tarl Cabot (DAW Books), Gorean Cycle (Tandem Books), Gorean Chronicles (Masquerade Books), Gorean Saga (Open Road Media), and The Counter-Earth Saga (DAW Books, for novels with a protagonist other than Tarl Cabot). Among some members of the Gorean subculture they are often known as The Scrolls.
The customs, terminology and imagery depicted in these books inspired a Gorean lifestyle subculture, enacted in real-life and online forums.
Gor is a planet in the Solar System that shares the same orbit as, but is linearly opposed to Earth, and consequently always hidden by the Sun, making direct observation of it from Earth impossible. The flora, fauna, and customs of Gor are intricately detailed. John Norman (the pseudonym of Dr. John Lange, a professor of philosophy and a classical scholar), populates Gor with the equivalents of Roman, Greek, Native American, Viking, and other cultures.
These groups are transplanted from Earth by space-craft through the behind the scenes rulers of Gor, the Priest-Kings, an extraterrestrial species of insectoid appearance. The Gorean humans are permitted advanced architectural, agricultural and medical skills, but are forced to remain primitive in the fields of transportation, communication and weaponry by the Priest-Kings. This limitation is imposed to ensure the safety of both the Priest-Kings, as well as the other indigenous and transplanted beings on Gor, who would otherwise possibly come to harm due to humans' belligerent tendencies.
Most of the books are narrated by transplanted British professor Tarl Cabot, master swordsman, as he engages in adventures involving Priest-Kings, Kurii, and humans. Later books are narrated by abducted Earth women who are made slaves; by male abductee Jason Marshall; or an unknown Kur.
The series features several sentient alien races. The insectoid Priest-Kings and the predatory Kurii, both space-farers from foreign star systems. The Priest-Kings rule Gor as disinterested custodians, leaving humans to their own affairs as long as they abide by certain restrictions on technology. The Kurii are an aggressive race with advanced technology who wish to colonize Gor and Earth. The power of the Priest-Kings is diminished after the "Nest War" described in the third book, and the Priest-Kings and Kurii struggle against each other via their respective human agents and spies.
Early stories were plot-driven space opera adventures; later entries grew more philosophical and sexual. Many sub-plots run the course of several books and tie back to the main plot in later books. Some of these plots begin in the first book, but most are underway in the first ten books.
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Plot summaries for the Gor novels below have been taken from www.angelfire.com/co2/Gorpages/booksum1.html, with thanks.
A spectacular world unfolds in this first volume of John Norman's million selling Gorean series. Tarnsman finds Tarl Cabot transported to Counter Earth, better known as Gor. He must quickly accustom himself to the ways of this world, including the caste system which exalts some as Priest Kings or Warriors, and debases others as slaves.
G+ lightly rubbed cover, aged paper stock
Tandem 1977 reprint paperback 224pp. ISBN0426143736 [PB1483 gor]
Outlaw of Gor in which Tarl Cabot, fighting tarnsman of Gor and proud warrior of Ko-ro-ba, finds his home city razed, his wife and family scattered, possibly destroyed by the dreaded flame death of the Priest Kings of Sardar-and Tarl himself declared outlaw. He searches for a clue and ends up in the city of Tharma with a Taitrix named Lara that treats men as sub class citizens.
Boris Vallejo cover
Ballantine 1976, 254pp [PB1484 gor ]
Tarl Cabot, brave Tarnsman of Gor, searches for the truth about his lovely Free Companion, Talena. Does she live, or was she destroyed by the mysterious, all-powerful Priest-Kings? Cabot is determined to find out-even while knowing that no one who has approached the mountain stronghold of the Priest Kings has ever returned alive.
Cover by Lars Szatko
New World Publishers 2001, 421pp [PB1492 gor ]
At the risk of death...Tarl Cabot, warrior and tarnsman, left the forbidden Sardar Mountains on a mission for the Priest-Kings of Gor, the barbaric world of Counter-Earth. The Priest-Kings were dying, and he had to find their last link to survival. All he knew about his goal was that it lay hidden somewhere among the nomads. There were the Wagon Peoples, the wild tribes, that lived off the roving herds of bosk, fiercest of the animals of Gor. But still more fierce were their Masters, the savage Tuchuks. All men fled before them when they moved. All except for Tarl Cabot, who stood alone, watching the oncoming clouds of dust that might bring him death.
Fifth Star printing
VG - paperback, minor wear and soiling
Star 1985 paperback 382pp. [PB1600]
The Trail of Vengeance...Kuurus was one of the dread caste of assassins on the hidden world of Counter-Earth. He was hired for twenty pieces of gold to avenge the death of a warrior. Now he was on his way to the great city of Ar, where he was forbidden by ancient sentence of death ever to appear again. He knew nothing of his intended victim, save that the man had taken part in the savage tarn races at the Arena of Ar. And all he knew of the man he was to avenge was a name. The name was that of Tarl Cabot, the great warrior and servant of the all-powerful Priest Kings. And that was strange. Because the true name of Kuurus was Tarl Cabot.
Boris Vallejo cover
Ballantine 1980, 409pp [PB1485 gor]
City of the Damned...Tarl Cabot was a warrior of Gor-the world that Earth could never see. Normally, he was a proud and mighty warrior. But now he was bound for Port Kar, the only city with no home stone to give it a heart. It was a city of reavers and looters...of outcasts without allegiance. Merchants and pirates stalked its quays beside the beautiful Sea of Thassa. Tarl Cabot was headed for the sinkhole of the planet, a teeming den of iniquity. And that was no place for an honest warrior from far Ko-ro-ba. But he was no longer Tarl Cabot, the warrior. Now he was only Bosk...a miserable slave!
VG book exchange stamp to first page
Star 1979 paperback 312pp. [PB1486 gor]
Spoiled rich young Elinor Brinton was no longer on Earth. She had been kidnapped from her New York apartment and carried across space to Gor by alien slavers. Then the ship was wrecked and she was stranded on the strange world of Counter-Earth, where women were only property, to be beaten and subjugated at the will of the men who were their Masters. Life to her became a never-ending nightmare. In the great luxury city of Ko-ro-ba, trained in the provocative skills of a pleasure slave. In the Northern Forests of Gor, captured by the fierce outlaw Panther Girls. And finally came Rask of Treve to teach her what all women should learn!
Boris Vallejo cover
Ballantine 1976, 370pp [PB1487 gor ]
Three lovely women were keys to Tarl Cabot's career on Gor, Earth's orbital counterpart. They were: Talena, daughter of Gor's greatest ruler and one Tarl's queen. Elizabeth Cardwell, who had been Tarl's comrade in two of his greatest exploits. Verna, haughty chief of the untamed panther women of the Northern forests. Hunters of Gor finally reveals the fate of these three-as Tarl Cabot ventures into the wilderness to pit his skill and his life against the brutal cunning of Gorean outlaws and enemy warriors.
VG paperback with minor reading creases to spine and cover edges
Tandem 1974, 363pp [PB1488 gor ]
Tarl Cabot's efforts to free himself from the directive of the mysterious Priest-Kings of Earth's orbital counterpart were confronted by frightening reality when horror from the northland finally struck directly at him. Somewhere in the harsh lands of transplanted Norsemen was the first foothold of the alien Others. Somewhere up there was one such who waited for Tarl. Somewhere up there was Tarl's confrontation with his real destiny. Was he to remain a rich merchant-slaver of Port Kar or become again a defender of two worlds against cosmic enslavement. Marauders of Gor is one of the truly great adventures of the Gorean saga. It brings in barbaric peoples, vivid adventure, fierce aliens, and the clash of male-female emotions stripped of civilized pretention.
The Others were on the move! The Priest-Kings had received a message: "Surrender Gor." The date had been set for conquest or destruction. Tarl Cabot could no longer linger in Port Kar-now he must act on behalf of the Priest-Kings, on behalf of Gor, and on behalf of Gor's teeming, unsuspecting, twin world known as Earth. Evidence pointed to the great wasteland of the Tahari, the desert known only to the clannish, militant tribes of desert-wanderers. There must Cabot go. There among the feuds, along the trails of slavers, beyond the forbidding salt mines to a rendezvous with treachery, with a woman warlord, with a bandit chief, and with the monster intelligences from the worlds of steel.
Gino D'Achille cover
DAW Books No 185
DAW Books March 1976, stated first printing with a "2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" number line. 364pp [PB1489 gor ]
Second Star printing
VG - paperback, minor age browning
Star 1979 paperback 382pp. [PB1599]
Tarl Cabot resumed his allegiance to the Priest Kings, the non-human but benevolent rulers of Earth's orbital twin planet, Gor. And accordingly Tarl knew that the battle for possession of the planet was under way--the Kurii, the beastlike invaders, had made their plans. There was a girl, once Judy Thornton of Earth, found in the wilderness of Gor. Captured, as such lovely strangers were on that ruthless world, she was to undergo the training that would make her a slave girl of great value. But unknown to her captors was the fact that she was a tool of the Kurii, that she carried a programmed message that imperilled the future of Gor. It was for possession of her mind and body that Priest-King and Kur-monster battled, while a planet went its way unsuspecting that its very fate was also locked within the slave collar that graced her neck.
On Gor, the other world in Earth's orbit, the term beast can mean any of three things: First, there are the Kurii, the monsters from space who are about to invade that world. Second, there are the Gorean warriors, men whose fighting ferocity is incomparable. Third, there are the slave girls, who are both beasts of burden and objects of desire. All three kinds of beasts come into action in this thrilling novel as the Kurii establish their first beachhead on Gor's polar cap. Here is a John Norman epic that takes Tarl Cabot from the canals of Port Kar to the taverns of Lydius, the tents of the Sardar Fair, and to a grand climax among the red hunters of the Arctic ice pack.
All the glorious panorama of Earth's planetary twin, barbaric Gor, is present in John Norman's latest novel. When the shield ring of the much feared Kurii falls into the possession of a mysterious black explorer, it becomes vital to the Priest-Kings that Tarl Cabot himself regain that ancient product of an alien science. Hisquest brings him to the unmapped interior of the great equatorial rain-forests and into new dangers without parallel. Here are jungle kingdoms and tropical trade cities, fierce beasts and fiercer men. And at the heart of this full-bodied Gorean novel is a lost city-and a linage of the loveliest enemy agents ever lured from the cities of far-off Terra.
Attempting to save his girlfriend from a Gorean slave trap, Jason Marshall found himself kidnapped to that legendary counter-Earth planet. And as such found himself the first "civilized" Earth male to become enslaved in the ruthless chains of Gorean society. Jason Marshall's startling adventures make constantly fascinating reading as he is made to be the slave of a haughty woman, then her fighting champion, and finally amid the turmoil of primitive warfare to seek his liberty in order to search for his lost love amid the slave marts of that alien and turbulent planet.
Richard Hescox cover
DAW Books No 3765
DAW Books March 1980, stated first printing with a "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9" number line. 384pp [PB1490 gor]
G+ paperback, rear wrapper soiled
Star 1981 paperback 384pp [PB1491 ]
Jason Marshall learned the meaning of manhood and the power of women, both dominant and submissive, when he was kidnapped from Earth to the Counter-Earth called Gor. Winning his freedom, Jason set out single-handed to win his own place on that gloriously barbaric world on the other side of the sun. His intent was to find the girl who had been enslaved with him. But that quest thrust him smack in the middle of the war that raged between Imperial Ar and the Salerian Confederation-and the secret schemes of the pirate armada that sought control of the mighty trading artery of the fighting cities.
From kidnapped collegian to a woman's slave, from landless fugitive to warrior-captain, the life of Jason Marshall on Earth's orbital twin was a constant struggle against the naked power and barbaric traditions of glorious Gor. Now, in the heat of a desperate naval battle against overwhelming odds, Jason faced the pivotal hours of his Gorean career. For him victory would mean a homeland, a warrior's honors, and the lovely Earthgirl who was the prize he had long sought. Defeat would mean degradation worse than the chains he had once escaped. Guardsman of Gor is the blazing climax of this saga of one man against an entire world.
Ken W. Kelly cover
First printing DAW Books No.456
VG paperback with mild corner crease
DAW Books 1981, 304pp [PB1502 gor]
The Kur came to Port Kar! Two of the terrible space beasts came to make Tarl Cabot an offer. They, a death-squad, sought the Kur commander, the great Half-Ear, whom Tarl had once battled in the Far North. But Tarl refused their offer, for Half-Ear was more valuable to the Priest-Kings alive than to the Kur dead. And now he knew it was imperative for him to save that monster from the doom that would fast overtake him. This meant venturing the forbidden Barrens of Gor-a vast land of plains and prairies whose cruel Masters were tribes of savage red riders and where civilized men were always prey and their women mere trophies of the hunt! Tarl Cabot returns in one of his greatest adventures.
Tarl Cabot, seeking the monsters from the Steel Worlds, found himself among the cruel savages who ruled the vast Barrens. Though himself enslaved, he stood with his comrades and Masters against a coming onslaught. For the Kur had united the enemies of the tribe that held Cabot, and death and destruction were unleashed. Out of the plains came riding hordes of feud-driven braves, from the skies came a host of maddened tarn-riders, and even among the slave girls held by the blood brothers there was devilish treason.
Kajira means slave-girl in Gorean. But when Tiffany Collins was kidnapped from Earth and brought to that orbital counter-world, she found herself on the throne of a mighty city as its "queen". Power seemingly was hers, and she did not realize that her true role was that of a slave puppet of a conniving woman agent of the monstrous Kurii. But a chained slave she was destined to be, and in the course of the complex, visible and invisible, struggles between the warriors and cities, between Kurii and Priest-Kings, she would play a pivotal role. Kajira of Gor is one of the mostexcitingly vivid novels John Norman has written. Here is all the color and terror of Gor. Here, between crown and fetters, between adulation and total submission, is the full-scale panorama of that wonderful, barbaric world as only Tarl Cabot knew it.
During the holiday revels of Port Kar, an attempt is made on the life of Tarl cabot. And Tarl discovers that the Priest-Kings have turned against him! To clear himself of their charge of treason, he must follow the assassin's trail. The way to achieve that was to join, in disguise, a troupe of traveling Player, a sort of Gorean carnival, which world give him entry to enemy cities and hostile territories. But life in such a carnival is always a risk in itself. There are monsters in form and monsters in mind among them--and there may be spies of the alien Kurs and the Priest-Kings. Players of Gor is a rich and full adventure on that world where free men must fight and slave girls must yield, where life and liberty may depend on the chance moves of a game board or the edged passions of the dueling ground. And where Tarl's destiny must bring him face to face with a conspiracy of superhuman powers.
War on Gor is a rousing and fearful affair--and when the armada of Cos landed and began its sweeping arch against the mighty city of Ar, Tarl Cabot was swept up in their drive. Outcast from Port Kar, rejected by the Priest Kings, Tarl fought now for his own redemption. With comrades at his side, barbarian warriors and daring women, free and slave, his plans went forward--until mercenaries of Detrich of Tamburg disrupted the struggle as a mysterious third force. Mercenaries of Gor brings into action all the magic and conflict of that counter-Earth, Tarl became the center of intrigue and treachery in the city of its greatest enemies.
Doreen Willimson appeared to be a quiet shy librarian, but in the dark of the library, after hours, she would practice, semi-nude, her secret studies in belly-dancing. Until, one fateful night, the slavers from Gor kidnapped her. On that barbarically splendid counter-Earth, Doreen drew a high price as a dancer in taverns, in slave collar and ankle bells. Until each of her owners became aware that their prize dancer was the target of powerful forces--that in the tense climate of the ongoing war between Ar and Cos, two mighty empires, Doreen was too dangerous to keep. Dancer of Gor is a John Norman bonus novel--an erotic fever-pitched novel of an alien world where men were all-powerful and women were living jewels of desire.
As the bloody tide of war spread over Gor, Tarl Cabot, outcast by the Priest-Kings, became deeply enmeshed in the military combat between the empire of Ar and the invaders from Cos. His fate would depend upon which proved victorious in the coming confrontation at Ar's besieged river port. And it looked like Tarl himself might prove the deciding factor that would tip the scales of destiny for one side or the other... With Renegades of Gor, all the complexity and intrigue of John Norman's saga comes together to create an adventure replete with danger, excitement, and romance in the unforgettable realm of Gor--where courage remains meaningful, and pride and honor, never forgotten.
As treachery and betrayal become the prime weapons in the war between Ar and Cos, Tarl Cabot is trapped in the siege of Ar's Station. And when Ar's Station falls to the warriors of Cos, it is only with the aid of the loyal Vosk League, that Tarl and other survivors make their escape from the defeated port. But with the forces of Cos now readying to continue on their devastating march of conquest, Tarl must go undercover as a spy within the enemy camp, hoping to discover their plans and send word to Ar's army before it is too late... In Vagabonds of Gor, Tarl Cabot faces perhaps his greatest challenge of all, as he is caught up in the myriad dangers and intrigue of two mighty powers at war!
With the capital city of Ar under the sway of the beautiful traitress Talena, a ruler placed in power by the Cosian invaders, Tarl Cabot and the Delta Brigade, the members of the underground force sworn to defeat Cos, must call upon the unique talents of master magician Boots Tarsk-Bit to recapture the precious Home Stone of vanquished Ar's Station. For snatching the Home Stone from the enemy's grasp may prove the vital ingredient in Tarl's desperate and dangerous campaign to rouse the people of Ar to fight on to regain their freedom from the hated foe....In Magicians of Gor, Tarl Cabot and his allies must work a unique magic with illusions and swordblades to root out the treachery at the heart of a mighty empire.
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