Jemima Lewis: All hail the galactic lords of ... Darlington

Sensing his readers wouldn't have much luck with the ladies, he created a race of women who never say no

Share

 

Officers were tipped off by the parents of an Essex teenager, a usually timid, well-behaved teenager who announced one day that he was leaving their Essex home to become a full-time "apprentice" in the Kaotian cult. The teen - a Star Trek fan whose previous ambition was to be a computer technician - is now hiding out in the pebble-dashed lair of Lee Thompson, self-styled "master of the Darlington Kaotians".

Kaotians, for the benefit of the uninitiated, are an offshoot of the Goreans - a cult with about 25,000 members in Britain. (Amazing: who knew?) Both groups are inspired by the Chronicles of Gor, a series of sci-fi fantasy novels by John Norman, the pen name of Dr John Lange, a philosophy lecturer from New York.First published in the 1960s, they are politically incorrect beyond the wildest dreams of The Daily Mail.

On the planet Gor, where insectoid priest-kings rule, species are divided into strict castes and there is no pretence of equality between the sexes. Instead, men and women strive to attain the perfect master-slave dynamic. Gorean men are muscular and merciless, their women soft as butter. Most are slave-girls, or kajira, who grovellingly submit to their master's sexual commands, as well as cooking, cleaning, and servicing the master's friends where necessary. A typical passage, from the 1978 classic Beasts of Gor, gives a flavour of the genre:

"It is late now," I said. "I think we should sleep."

"What is your name?" he asked.

"Tarl," said I. "Let that suffice."

"Accepted," he said, smiling. He would not pry further into my affairs. Doubtless he assumed I was bandit, fugitive or assassin.

I took Constance by the arm, and threw her to his feet. It was a simple act of Gorean courtesy.

Constance looked at me, wildly. "Please him," I said.

"Yes, Master," she whispered.

The trouble is, this kind of caper doesn't go down so well in Darlington. The neighbours already had reservations about Lee Thompson - a plump man in his early thirties with a carefully cultivated look of diabolism (shaven head, goatee beard, fiendish smile playing about the lips). The local butcher banned him from the premises after he turned up with his girlfriend on a leash.

As for the teenager's parents: they are worried sick. "He told his mum he had met the master of the Kaotians on the internet and had decided to join his cult," said a family friend. "It has made her hair stand on end because he is not exactly a man of the world. He had never even had a girlfriend."

Alas, these should have been the warning signs. Fantasy sci-fi has always been the particular vice of the nerdy, withdrawn teenage boy. Filled with manly desires but trapped in the body of an acne-ravaged half-child, longing to seduce the girl of his dreams but lacking the courage or the know-how - can he be blamed for preferring fantasy to reality?

In my day, boys of the teenager's ilk sought solace in Dungeons and Dragons. It was always a wonder to me, how much pleasure these gentle, bespectacled creatures could derive from slaying gnolls or doing battle in the troglodyte cavern. Generally speaking, the more knock-kneed and pusillanimous the player, the more ferocious-sounding his chosen character would be: Blade, Warrior of the Giant Kings, or some such.

The recurring themes of fantasy fiction - master races, mighty battles, baffling Elvish vocabulary - are all evident in The Chronicles of Gor. Crucially, so is the one thing that Dungeons and Dragons lacked: sex. Dr Langan, perhaps sensing that his typical reader wouldn't have much luck with the ladies, created an imaginary race of women who never say no. With the advent of the internet, it was only a matter of time before a cult was born.

Living one's life according to the rules of fantasy fiction is, however, a trickier proposition than just playing at goblin warfare after school. There is, for instance, the dispiriting contrast between ruling over the vast plains and mountains of Gor, and ruling over a pebble-dashed terrace in north-west England. On Gor, the bravest warriors get to fly about on enormous prehistoric birds; in Darlington, it's just trains, trains, trains.

And then there's the problem of the natives. Lee Thompson claims there is no shortage of volunteers to be Kaotian slave girls. "It is all voluntary and safe. Lots of women want to come and find out about it." Reading between the lines, however, it seems that not all are impressed with what they find. "It's hard work for everyone," sighs Thompson. "Girls leave when they've had enough."

I don't think it's the hard work that puts them off: it's the gradual realisation that their "masters" are in fact overgrown nerds. It's one thing to be submissive: quite another to have to do it in Elvish.

jemima.lewis@virgin.net

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance & IT Assistant

£20200 - £24800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Senior PHP Developer - Zend Framework

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This number one supplier of Coo...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Forecast Analyst

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Forecast Analyst is required to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Auschwitz death camp survivor Jadwiga Bogucka, 89, holds a picture of herself from 1944  

Holocaust Memorial Day: This isn't the time to mark just another historical event, but to remember humanity at its worst

Jennifer Lipman
John Rentoul outside the Houses of Parliament  

If I were Prime Minister...I would be like a free-market version of Natalie Bennett

John Rentoul
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea