Gor:  Page 3
This is Boris' cover picture for Nomads of Gor.  It was not the first or only cover for this book, but is certainly the best.  This is not the original frame; I added this to color-coordinate it with the rest of the page.  There are no horses on Gor.  Most of the animal life seems more or less reptilian, though some of it is evolved in a mammal-like way.  The large beast is a tharlarion, the standard mount for warriors.
I discovered Gor sometime between 1972 and 1974.  The first book I read was Captive of Gor, and from there I worked backward to fill in everything before it, and more slowly forward to book 25.  I did not discover on-line Gor until 1995 when I got a computer.  By then Gor was already well established.  Silk & Steel had set up the first online tavern a number of years earlier, and had generally set the style and tone for online Gor.  By 1995 there were numerous online sites on dalnet, undernet, austnet, and elsewhere.  Since then I have watched it grow well beyond what it was then.  There are many sites that are "how-to-do-it" sites, but this is not one of them.  Rather, I am going to stand back and give a perspective on what on-line Gor is like, looking at it objectively, something that I don't know of being done anywhere else.

    Online Gor consists of chatrooms, many of them not directly connected with any other site, and the majority of them representing taverns or inns--if there is a distinction between these, I don't know what it is.  A number of other sites are set up as personal homes--camps, keeps, or whatever.  There are pools, gardens, combat areas, slave markets, and various other virtual locations as well.  There are also more ambitious efforts to create virtual cities or tribal groups with a number of connected sites.    
    There is probably much more I could and should say on this subject, but this page is fairly long now, so I will let it go until something hits me as important enough to require adding.  There is one more page to this series which can be reached by the button to the left.  The buttons higher on the page go to a variety of places you might find interesting or attractive, or possibly not.
    I have already mentioned that Goreans are not universally popular on-line.  One might suspect that the reason is the D/s element so prominant in everything Gorean.  Much of the D/s community, however, does not care much for Goreans either.  There are several reasons, aside from the opinionated, abrasive, and often arrogant nature or many Goreans.  For one thing, male submissives, very numerous on-line, tend not to be treated well by Goreans.  For another, most D/s relationships are dominated by the submissive, who tends, whether male or female, a little princess.  In Gorean relationships, the dominant does the dominating.  The submissive is not allowed to create her own scenario.  Goreans do not accept the idea of a D/s relationship as play, and they reject that most sacred of sacred cows for the D/s community, the "safe word," the word the submissive is to use to indicate that she has had enough, or that the dominant is being too rough.  This, of course, does give her the upper hand, and does make it all play.  For the Gorean, the dominant decides what is enough.  Luckily, most Goreans are neither strongly sadistic, or self-destructively masochistic.  Those sorts seek out people and channels that will get straight to the action without all the formality and ritual the Goreans require.
    There is also a prejudice, not universally followed, that one should be truthful in describing oneself.  Of course everyone expects a certain amount of cyber-airbrushing, and prefers it. For many, maybe for most, Gor is supposed to be a world of beauty, and any female is expected to present herself as beautifully as possible.  Along with beauty, there is a lot of stress on other unfashionable words as well:  honor, nobility, loyalty, courage.  As can be expected in any human society, honor and loyalty are more often mentioned than followed, there it is encouraging that a group is willing openly to make an issue of such concepts.
   On roleplaying channels elaborate story lines are often created in advance; on Gorean channels events are usually spontaneous.  If there is a conflict, it is real.  The situations at one level may be unreal, but they are unexpected, and responses are those of the person rather than of a character.  This can make action on the Gor channels more dynamic, but also more boring.  If no one abrasive shows up, and if the slavegirls are all well trained it can all go so smoothly that it becomes a total bore.
    On roleplaying channels there is always a distinction between speaking in character, and what is said in your normal voice about your actual life and activities.  Thus there are various signals set up to clarify which statements are roleplay, and which are not.  There is little of this on Gor channels.  One is assumed to be speaking from one's true character.  If a woman says she has to go offline to pick up her children from school, that is taken as a mere accident of living in Earth society, and saying so does not detract from her Gorean nature.
    On the subject of seriousness, there is also the issue of roleplay.  Some Goreans accept the idea wholeheartedly, but for most roleplay is a negative term, and they will deny that what they do is roleplay.  To most, this attitude is ridiculous, since of course what they do is roleplay.  There are, however, very real differences that explain the Gorean attitude.  In the first place, on ordinary roleplaying channels people are there to take on a new, more interesting identity than their own, that can do things they couldn't or wouldn't in real life.  To the Goreans, daily life is the mask, and it is only online (unless they have managed to take it offline as well) that they reveal their true selves.  Relationships on Gor channels are particularly dynamic, because there is always the idea that it might ultimately be taken offline as well, an idea less common on regular roleplaying channels.
    There are other rituals involving collaring, punishing, and so on.  One of the most important things to notice are the collars,  indicated by initials in caps inclosed by {}.  This is a tradition that I believe began with Silk & Steel.  If a girl has a collar it means that she is a slave.  Next, one should determine what the initials stand for.  Does she belong to the room?  If not, then to anyone present?  It shouldn't be too hard to tell.  If she has a private Master in the room, one should be wary of being too familiar with her.  Normally the relationship is merely online, but Goreans tend to be serious about the matter none-the-less, and there is always the thought that it might ultimately be extended to real life.  Unfortunately the commitment is usually stronger on one side than on the other.  Usually it is the girl who takes it most seriously, but not always.  Many online relationships have ended in offline ones, and marriages have been ended over them.  How things work out for the slave girl who drops her life to go off to a Master in some distant place is a question with too few answers.
    Another important, but less frequent ritual of submission and display is the dance.  These tend to be fairly long and elaborate, and popups are widely tolerated.  A wide range of dances is described in the books which can be elaborated, as well as more personal expressions.  These are display in a more loaded sense than the serve is, and for those who get deeply into cyberworld can apparently be very arousing.  A surprising number of girls are very timid about attempting a dance, and it is recognized as a special skill not expected of everyone.  It is a little hard to see why it should be so, since popups are so often used, and the girl has all the time in the world to work it out in advance, unlike the serve, which is nearly always at least partially improvised.  But whatever the reason, this is something that most slave girls want to do, but are nearly as afraid of attempting as if they were doing it literally in a real Gorean tavern.
    The big question about serves is time.  How long should one have to wait for it to be completed.  Some prefer elaborate serves if they are handled with sufficient verbal elegance.  Others want it wrapped up in two or three minutes.  It is, however, expected to be individual, and clearly aimed at the one being served.  Popups are frowned upon.  Poor typists who also have a slow imagination are faced with a challange.  The degree of skill and elegance that many develop in this and other Gorean arts are one of the chief attractions of the Gorean cyberculture, and are often appreciated by those who do not like Goreans otherwise.
    In the first step, not only the request or comman should be answered verbally in an appropriate way, but the server needs to ask any relevant questions.  These must be questions about the individual's personal preferences--whether the blackwine should be served with sugar or milk, for instance.  They must not be about the nature of what is being served or how it is prepared or served; she is supposed to know all this already.  If she does not, the best she can hope for is a contemptuous dismissal.  Faking it seldom works--there are just too many specifics--and confessions of ignorance are simply unacceptable.  Luckily, if there are any other girls in the room, she can send a quick private message asking for information.  Most girls have found themselves at a loss in the past, and so are usually willing to help secretly.  The second and fourth steps are primarily display and may be more or less elaborate, but should create an elegant, attractive, and sexy picture.  The third requires specific knowledge of the names and manner of preparation of a wide variety of foods and drinks.  It also offers some opportunities for display--goblets on shelves that require a stretch to reach, and so on.  The last step is the primary show of submission as well as another opportunity for display.  Usually the food or drink is also offered with a small, graceful verbal formula appropriate to the one being served.  Once the serve is completed, and after any scolding for performing some esoteric detail wrong, the girl waits to be dismissed, or told to remain where she is.  If dismissed, she is expected to depart with submissive grace.
   Gorean rituals tend to represent display and submission.  By far the most common of these is the serve.  This is probably why so many rooms are set up as taverns.  The general structure of a serve is fairly rigid, with clearly established variations according to what is being served, and whether the one being served is male or female.  There are five steps: 1. responding.  2. rising and going to th servery or kitchen.  3. getting, preparing, or arranging what is to be served.  4. returning and kneeling.  5. serving.  Each step is to be treated in an individual way and expressed with grace and beauty and, in most cases, tailored to the one being served.
   One common problem, especially for the slave girls, is that each individual place has its own version of what is the absolutely right way to do or say anything, and though the differences are slight, even small differences are treated as important.  And Gorean males tend to be cantankerous and to view any variation in custom as not only wrong but subversive and destructive of good order.  Small changes and refinements are being forever added as well, and once a new rule or custom is in place, they seem to assume thiat it was always that way, even ones who have been around long enough to know better.  They also like to compare the degeneracy of the present to the earlier days of online Gor, ignoring the fact that there are far more and stricter rules now, that the girls are far better trained, and follow the rules far more closely.  I empasize the slave girls because thay are actually the ones that most of the rules, conventions, and customs most directly effect.  Anyone else with a little knowledge might fake the rest, but they are forever on the spot.  This sounds radically unfair, but it also means they get most of the action and drama.
    Those who visit with less of an agenda are usually treated with more politeness, but not necessarily.  It is no wonder that Gor and Goreans are widely unpopular on the internet.  This is not to say that there are not Goreans who are patient, helpful, long-suffering and all the rest, just that there are many who are not.  And, on the other hand, anyone male or female who knows the language and conventions and follows them will seldom have much problem.
    Even lower than a male submissive is a hng, a term familiar elsewhere on the internet as well.  This term refers to those who prowl the web seeking easy sexual titillation.  Goreans, though, are especially uncharitable in this characterization.  After all, what young, sexually deprived male, hormones raging, could possibly resist a room full of beautiful, elegant and very submissive women who will do absolutely anything he tells them to?  Unfortunately, the practice seldom works like the theory.  One cannot make a slave girl do anything without knowing the proper words and manner.  And, one also needs to know the nature of the specific place and its rules, and the situation of the various girls and what rules they may be subject to individually.  All of this can be found out, but one has to know how.  The lustful innocent quickly finds himself in a minefield.  And the submissive slave girls, smelling blood, will often go for the throat.  They are, of course, expected to be polite and deferential, and they are, but in a way that manages to make the other look stupid, and to call unfriendly attention to him from the males in the room.  This is a situation where they have the support of Masters, and so can push the boundaries.  The newcomer is usually humiliated and droven from the room.
    Online Gor is a surprisingly complex society.  Social and power relationships are worked out very complexly, and most interaction has a ritual quality that outsiders would find bewildering. Behavior is very formal, and very formalized; there is a proper way to do and say everything.  The manner is further backed up by a huge vocabulary of terms, some of them English used in a special way, some of it, "Gorean."  There are countless ways the uninitiated can commit a grievous breach of behavior without intending it or realizing it.  The problem is compounded by the fact that Goreans tend to be touchy and impatient.  Ignorance may or may not be accepted as an excuse.  No 19th century sea captain on a visit to Imperial Japan could have found the rules more bewildering and all-encompassing.
    There are essentially four groups on online Gor, free males, free females, slave girls (owned and unowned), and slave males.  One can only guess at the comparative numbers, which in any case are bound to fluctuate, but my gess would be 42% slavegirls, 36% free males, l7% free females, and 6% slave males.  Though submissive males are abundant elsewhere, they are unwelcome many places on online Gor, and receive little respect from many members of the other three groups.  They have to be pretty hard shelled to survive.  Most of the free females have been slave girls in the past, and many will be again.
    As one would expect, most of these are male dominated, at least in theory.  Females, however, exist on online Gore in such numbers, and supply so much of the dedication and, in some cases, the technical know-how that they are probably responsible for at least half of what is done.  For one thing, no matter how submissive they are in channel, they always have the option of leaving, or of simply not showing up if they are sufficiently dissatisfied.  There have been many efforts to make enforcable rules for all of online Gor, but so far they have never worked.
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