Swordsmen of Gor

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Book: Read Swordsmen of Gor for Free Online
Authors: John Norman
tends to be little interaction, at least ashore, amongst these powers. Much contest, however, is done for the mastery of certain sea lanes, particularly toward the south, and towards Tabor and Asperiche, and even as far south as Bazi, Anango, and Schendi. If the forests were less abundant, one supposes, of course, that wars would be fought for scarce, possibly dwindling resources. On the other hand the environed trees, and, in particular, those marked or badged, tend on the whole to be left unmolested, in the various precincts.
    I was soon to learn, however, that these surmises, however sound in principle, required certain qualifications.
    “Your Home Stone,” I said, “is that of Port Kar?”
    “Yes,” he said, “but I have not seen her for years.”
    “You were not born in the forests?”
    “No,” he said. “There are few free women in the forests.”
    Slaves are commonly used for work and pleasure. They may be bred, of course, as the livestock they are, at their master’s will. There are slave farms here and there, but they are rare, and often specialize in exotics of various sorts. It is expensive and time consuming to raise female slaves from infancy. It is easier and less expensive to allow others to raise them, so to speak, and then, when convenient, attend to their harvesting and collaring. There are many female slaves on Gor and it is often, to the irritation of venders, and the mortification and chagrin of the slaves, a buyers’ market. Almost all Gorean slaves are captures, having once been free women. The bred slave, other than in the sense that all women are bred slaves, is rare.
    One might mention, at this point, a word or two about the stabilization serums, which were developed centuries ago by the green caste, that of the Physicians. By means of these serums a given phase of maturation, say, beauty in a woman, strength in a man, and so on, may be retained indefinitely. The caste of Physicians, long ago, construed ageing as a disease, the “drying and withering disease,” and not as an inevitability or fatality, and so set to work to effect, so to speak, its cure. Scientists of Earth, as I understand it, are only now beginning to sniff about the edges of this problem. A radical shift in perspective, of course, is necessary. And such conceptual reformulations, as is well known, are difficult, rare, and, oddly, often unwelcome. Major truths, no matter what the evidence in their favor, are often, in the beginning, denied, then ridiculed, then battled, and then, if the cultural situation permits, and insufficient numbers of the heretics, or proponents, of the new views are imprisoned or executed, grudgingly accepted, and then, later, hailed as obvious, and those originally most adamant in their opposition, perhaps having run out of penitentiaries and firewood, will claim credit for the discoveries to which they have so reluctantly succumbed. Indeed, can they not find passages in their texts which hint of those very secrets, and other passages which allude to them in now-transparent metaphors?
    Claims to the effect, say, that ageing is, or is not, a disease are at least cognitive. One can be right or wrong about them. They should be distinguished from claims, or seeming claims, which are noncognitive, namely, which lack either truth or falsity. For example, it is impossible to confute nonsense for it is neither true nor false, and that which is neither true nor false cannot be shown to be either. The truth or falsity of such things is not hiding. It just does not exist. It must not be lost sight of in these matters, of course, that nonsense is often well armed. Consider poison. It, too, is neither truth nor false, but it is dangerous, and it can kill.
    Please forgive the above digression.
    I thought it germane to the narrative, however, to refer to the stabilization serums, because of the reference to the rare “bred slave.” Two characteristics of the economic condition, as is well known, are the

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