From the Middle Shelf


The last post, From the Top Shelf, was about British spanking magazine’s as republished in the new blog of the same name (see link on right). Interestingly several people thought it was about Hermonie’s regular feature about paperback novels that contain spanking references.

Before the magazines, for most of us there was indeed the search for spanking references in more mainstreams books and as Hermonie points out, a rich source of this material was on the middle shelf of the sci-fi fantasy section. Sharon Green was great source of this material and wrote many great series on modern powerful woman being transported to primitive cultures where disobedient women were spanked. The Warrior series was a classic example of this.

However there was another series, which has captured the imagination even more and has in fact inspired a whole life style within the BDSM community. That was John Norman’s Gorean Saga.

The early books of both Norman and Green were apt to be coy about spanking references in their early books. Sharon Green talked about her heroines “being struck below the small of their backs” and Norman often spoke of switchings and “I applied the switch to the place above their thighs.” This was one of the shortcomings of literature that was not specifically of the spanking genre.

The other shortcomings of these books also lie with the authors themselves. Green could not decide whether she was a submissive or not and her storylines often ended up going around in circles as the heroine both hated and loved the hero for spanking her.

Whilst with Norman and the Gorean saga, even when reading them at a young age, you could not quite shake the sense of misogyny. This does not detract from the detailed and complex body of work that the saga represents.

Gor, also known as the Counter-Earth, is the alternate-world and the setting for a series of 28 novels that explore philosophy, erotica and science fiction.

The Gorean lifestyle that it inspired has a huge world wide following, which includes the extreme BDSM practice of branding and a life of 24/7 slavery.

There was even one report of two women travelling from Canada to live as Gorean slaves in England, where they had their passports and credit cards destroyed and lived the ‘dream’ for several months. This apparently ended up in more tears than they were counting on and the authorities soon caught up with them.

One of the great features of theses books, was the cover art. It has become quite rare now and the best illustrations could not be found for this post. But the largely inferior picture above gives a flavour of some of the great art that was often featured.

3 Responses to “From the Middle Shelf”

  1. I had one of the Gor books, and looked for passages that I could share on my blog. However, the scenes were too violent for my taste, and much too extreme to be shared. I also parted with the book – largely unread.


    • 2 DJ

      Hi Hermione

      Yes I only read about six or seven of the 20 odd books – but they changed radically over the span of years that they were published (1970s-2002). Most of the violence was man-on-man sword stuff in those that I read. But I can well imagine that the later books got more cruel.

      In the early stuff most of the BDSM/spanking elements were alluded to. I was drawn by the racy art on the covers, but never read any much out of my teens.

      It always amazed me that he would be coy about CP and describe the branding so lovingly. But as I say in the article – I think the books tended towards misogyny too much for my taste as well. There was more than a hint of revenge against women who had betrayed his main character.

      Thanks for the input here and for previous posts.


  2. 3 DJ

    Hi All

    By a strange coincidence the Spanking Blog ran a similar article to this, comparing and contrast Green and Norman a few days ago, I just noticed.


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