Friday, December 17, 2010

John Norman (aka John Eric Lange) interview
from 'Questar' magazine, February 1980

There are no more quintessential examples of the PorPor ethos than the novels of John Norman, the pen name of American author John Frederick Lange. Starting with 'Tarnsman of Gor' in 1976 and working up to 'Captive of Gor', I dutifully purchased the Ballantine paperbacks with their Boris Vallejo covers, and then, when publishing rights for the remaining entries in the series moved to DAW books, 'Hunters of Gor' on up to 'Tribesmen of Gor'. 

I thought the Gor books were cool. When you're 16 years old, and it's 1976, and there is no such thing as the internet, the Gameboy, and your TV has only 4 channels, and you really don't know what a 'dominatrix' is, or why some adult men might have Impure Thoughts involving clothespins, 'Tarnsman of Gor' is real entertainment.

It's beside the point to mock the Gor books for having puerile plots, stilted dialogue, a relentless atmosphere of misogyny, and an unhealthy obsession with S&M. Despite all these flaws they were always very readable. I'll take 'Raiders of Gor' any day over 'Island of the Blue Dolphins', 'To Kill A Mockingbird', 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' or any other piece of literature handed out to generations of hapless high school students. Indeed, the Gor books are nowhere near as subliminally warped and perverted as 'A Seperate Peace' by John Knowles - !

Posted below is a five-page of an interview with John Norman from the February 1980 issue of 'Questar' magazine. Norman, who at the time of the interview was a member of the philosophy department at CUNY, is wordy and pompous and plainly stung by the criticism heaped on his books. Of course, the interviewer carefully avoids inquiring about the Freudian underpinnings of Norman's fantasy vision of Bondage and Domination....

1 comment:

MPorcius said...

...various individuals in the science-fiction community bear me great hostility.

I find this kind of thing irritating. What individuals is Lange referring to?

Similarly, in the article about Jack Vance in the July 15, 2009 New York Times Magazine we read that, "During our conversation he [Vance} had already summarily dismissed several people, including two celebrated science-fiction writers I grew up reading, as a jackass or a show-off." Ever since I read that I have been wondering who Vance thinks a jackass or show-off.