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Life on Gor (Page 5 of 6)
by Julian X  /  non-fiction  /  22 Jun 2008

Gor Gets a Second Life… and a New Novel

 

By 2000, the Gorean phenomenon had reached a certain critical mass.  Salon.com even did a rather well-written story on it, including interviews with various Goreans.

 

After 13 years without a single new novel, the continuing popularity of the Gor series led the series to return – with its 26th entry.  As with several past books, 2001’s Witness of Gor featured a female narrator.

 

The novel was published by New World Publishers, which was set up specifically for the purpose of returning Gor to print.  While the new novel saw print, the venture failed.

 

With the dawn of Second Life, the virtual reality simulator, online Goreans have gotten just that.  Suddenly, Gorean role-playing went visual in an easily customizable way.  Gorean sites in the virtual world of Second Life sprung up like crazy.  Second Life is filled with people selling their designs for skin and clothing for your character(s), and Gorean designs based on the novels have proliferated.

 

Because Goreans in Second Life share the Second Life world with others, conflicts have naturally arisen.  According to objectors, there are just too many Goreans there.  Goreans espousing their philosophy have alienated many.  And Goreans, now liberated to create a role-playing world like none before, turned to strict enforcement of their rules and customs.  Infractions frequently meet with banning or execution of a character (though, as always in Second Life, the character just reappears elsewhere, albeit sometimes humiliated).

 

Goreans in Second Life have even set up slave auctions.  In Second Life, you can buy the world’s virtual currency and even earn it, then theoretically pull it back out into dollars.  (I say “theoretically” because the actual market in this currency has been the subject of some scandal.)  So, at least theoretically, a slave can earn real dollars (reportedly about $50) for selling herself – and a master can recoup that money by selling the slave again.

 

The psychological effect of people being sold as slaves, even in Second Life, has been the subject of some criticism.  Of course, all of this is consensual:  a user playing a slave character could simply refuse to obey, albeit with great scorn from their online community, or simply start a new character.  But keep in mind that slaves are expected to submit entirely and can live, at least when logged into the game, in a world saturated with Gorean philosophy.  While some masters have good relationships with their slave characters, only selling them by mutual consent, other masters have sold slaves against their will, resulting in some feeling of rejection.

 

Of course, the master can also beat or execute the slave character.  There are even other characters who look like monsters whose job it is to hunt and eat naughty slaves.  Other slave characters feel neglected, their masters being more concerned with fighting rival Gorean city-states than spending time with their slaves.

 

Meanwhile, live-action Goreans seem to have proliferated as well.  So much that they seem to have split not only with online Goreans and the BDSM community but with themselves.  You can now find plenty of Goreans complaining that most real-life Goreans are just practicing BDSM with an odd medieval twist, ignoring not only the underlying philosophy of gender but the Gorean principles of community.

 

In other words, there’s a Gorean purist sub-subculture – which was probably inevitable.

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Other Essays by Julian Darius:
Yellow Sign Series in the Vatican Museum
Feminism was a Response to Dishwashers
Life on Gor (Page 1 of 6)
Life on Gor (Page 2 of 6)
Life on Gor (Page 3 of 6)
Life on Gor (Page 4 of 6)
Life on Gor (Page 5 of 6)
Life on Gor (Page 6 of 6)
The Danger of Personality Tests
The Party’s Raging but the Messiah Stands Us Up
How to Have Fun with Scrabble
Love the Good Women, Boys, Love the Good Women
Against Gardner
I Need a Secretary
Cast Away Review