Moons of Gor
The moons of Gor seem to be yet another topic over which there has been much debate.
A long time ago now, I recall where someone went into great detail describing all the scientific facts as to the whys and wherefores of Gorean lunar orbit.
Instead of an "Einstein" explanation, here is what the Books say about the Gorean moons.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
First of all, of course, there are three moons orbiting Gor. One is larger and the other two smaller. One of the smaller moons is named the Prison Moon and the other two are never mentioned as having names.
One moon is white and one is yellow. The smallest moon is not always easy to note, even under better conditions.
In Book 5, Tarl mentions that he "looked up and saw the three moons of Gor, the large moon and the two small ones, one of the latter called the Prison Moon, for no reason I understood." - Assassin of Gor, Page 170
Well, much later on in the series Tarl finds out why the Prison Moon is so named. Book 28 actually begins on this very moon of Gor, the one of its three moons, and its smallest, that called the Prison Moon. It is referred to as the Prison Moon, because, it really is a prison. It's a prison maintained by the Priest-Kings.
We also learn the Prison Moon is the smallest of the three and is also the closest to planet.
In the first book, Tarl says all three moons are "small" but this might be in comparison to Earth's moon. They usually seem to be full but do have individual phases and there are lunar eclipses.
Evidently, in their orbits they move across the sky fairly quickly for they are said to be hurtling, rushing, coursing, swift, and having fled across the black sky.
As here on Earth, the moons appear to be larger when close to the horizon and then smaller when overhead since it is said that the moons were down to being looming, large, dominating, seemingly close enough to touch to being high in the sky.
They are described as being white and bright, to being faint, pale white disks. But another time as the light of the yellow moon.
Given the three moons, and the differences in their phases, moonlight is frequent. However, there are occasions when the night sky is moonless.
And finally, the largest of the three is evidently the one used to count lunar months and affect breeding cycles.
On the other hand, the High Castes, specifically the Warriors, Builders, Scribes, Initiates, and Physicians, were told the truth in such matters, perhaps because it was thought they would eventually determine it for themselves, from observations such as the shadow of their planet on one or another of Gor's three small moons during eclipses, the phenomenon of sighting the tops of distant objects first, and the fact that certain stars could not be seen from certain geographical positions; if the planet had been flat, precisely the same set of stars would have been observable from every position on its surface.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 41
Lastly, as the culmination of Ar's Planting Feast, and of the greatest importance to the plan of the Council of Ko-ro-ba, a member of the Ubar's family goes to the roof at night, under the three full moons with which the feast is correlated, and casts grain upon the stone and drops of a red winelike drink made from the fruit of the Ka-la-na tree.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 68
The night before, I had ridden over fields of grain, silvery yellow beneath me in the light of the three moons.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 73
Before I had time to gather my senses, a dark winged shape had materialized in front of me, and, in the light of the three moons, I saw a warrior on a tarn passing, thrusting out with his spear.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 74
We traveled together through the night, making our way through the silvery yellow fields of Sa-Tarna, fugitives under the three moons of Gor.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 110
As I dropped lower, my suspicions were confirmed. Perhaps the men of the mysterious camp heard the beating of the tarn's wings, perhaps I had been outlined for an instant against one of Gor's three circling moons, but suddenly the fires disappeared, kicked apart in a flash of sparks, and the glowing embers were smothered almost immediately.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 147
The light of the three moons was bright that night, and in the resultant exotic patchwork of shadows below, I caught sight of one of the larls, padding softly along, its body almost white in the moonlight.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 148
The thing stumbled forward, reaching for me, and fell to the ground with a tiny, moaning sound. It sat on the ground, wrapped in its yellow cerements a mound of decay and desolation under the three Gorean moons.
Tarnsman of Gor Book 1 Page 152
Also, at night, crossing the bright disks of Gor's three moons might occasionally be seen the silent, predatory shadow of the Ul, a giant pterodactyl ranging far from its native swamps in the delta of the Vosk.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 26
As I tore the thing from my leg, glad that the sting had not been that of the venomous ost, the three hurtling moons of Gor broke from the dark cover of the clouds.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 33
I prepared to set forth on my journey again, grateful that now the three moons of Gor might guide my path on this perilous road.
. . .
Black, scudding clouds again obscured the three moons of Gor, and the wind began to rise.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 34
The clouds had dissipated. In pools of cold water lying among the stones of the road I could see the three moons of Gor.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 41
The man who had boasted that he had drank Kal-da three times in the mines of Tharna wept as he gazed upward and caught sight of one of the three hurtling moons of Gor.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 167
The dark cheering shapes, many of them crooked and wasted with their labors, saluted me in the light of the three rushing moons of Gor.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 168
We faced one another under the three moons. He seemed sad, one of the few times I had seen him so.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 171
I knew that I didn't have a great deal of time, for the avenging tarnsmen of Tharna would soon be visible against the three moons.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 175
The three moons were faint now, like pale white disks in the brightening sky, and the sun was half risen from the throne of the horizon.
Outlaw of Gor Book 2 Page 176
Even larl cubs when found and raised by men would, on reaching their majority, on some night, in a sudden burst of atavistic fury slay their masters and under the three hurtling moons of Gor lope from the dwellings of men, driven by what instincts I know not, to seek the mountains where they were born.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 19
Through the dome I could see the three moons of Gor and the bright stars above them.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 32
I wondered at the things she said to me for they seemed strange, perhaps more so to my ears than they would have to one bred and raised from infancy as a Gorean, one as much accustomed to the submission of women as to the tides of the gleaming Thassa or the phases of the three moons.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 204
It was a windy, cold night and the three moons of Gor were full and the silvery grasses of the fields were swept by the chill blasts of the passing wind.
. . .
Outlined against the largest of Gor's three hurtling moons was the black silhouette, as sharp and keen as a knife, of a Priest-King.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 310
For a long time I, and the others, stood there in the windy night, almost knee-deep in the flowing, bending grass, and watched the knoll, and the stars behind it, and the white moons above.
Priest-Kings of Gor Book 3 Page 317
* A consequence of the chronological conventions of the Wagon Peoples, of course, is that their years tend to vary in length, but this fact, which might bother us, does not bother them, any more than the fact that some men and some animals live longer than others; the women of the Wagon Peoples, incidentally, keep a calendar based on the phases of Gor's largest moon, but this is a calendar of fifteen moons, named for the fifteen varieties of bosk, and functions independently of the tallying of years by snows; for example, the Moon of the Brown Bosk may at one time occur in the winter, at another time, years later, in the summer; this calendar is kept by a set of colored pegs set in the sides of some wagons, on one of which, depending on the moon, a round, wooden plate bearing the image of a bosk is fixed.
* Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 12
"I know," I said, "the herd sleen." They would have torn the girl to pieces on the prairie in the light of the three Gorean moons.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 166
In the distance we heard a sound like a thunder of wings and then, against the three white moons of Gor, to my dismay, we saw tarnsmen pass overhead, striking toward the camp.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 177
I could also see Harold bounding along, from roof to roof, in the light of the three moons.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 215
I could see the three moons of Gor reflected in its surface.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 218
Harold and I then got up and, with Hereena under one of his arms, we circumspectly made our way from roof to roof until we saw the keep, rising like a dark cylinder against one of Gor's three moons.
Nomads of Gor Book 4 Page 225
His crime, if he had had one, was that his build was rather like mine, and his hair, in the shadows, the half-darkness of the lamps and the three moons of Gor might have seemed to one who watched like mine.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 42
I could see the black disk now, moving swiftly, but not at great altitude, passing among the night clouds, under the three moons of Gor.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 93
I looked up and saw the three moons of Gor, the large moon and the two small ones, one of the latter called the Prison Moon, for no reason I understood.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 170
The stars over the city were clear and bright, the coursing moons white with splendor against the black space of the Gorean night.
. . .
The long, curving terraces of tiers gleamed white in the light of Gor's three moons.
Assassin of Gor Book 5 Page 172
To my astonishment, as the dances continued, even the shiest of the rence girls, those who had to have been forced to the circle, even those who had tried to flee, began to writhe in ecstasy, their hands lifted to the three moons of Gor.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 46
Now, from the height of one of the investing walls, some hundred yards from the high bleak wall of one of the holdings of Sevarius, said to be his palace, I, with Thurnock, Clitus, and others, by the light of Gor's three moons, observed the opening of a postern gate.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 169
We had flown over the city, seeing below us the darkened buildings, the reflection of the three moons of Gor flickering in the dark canals.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 285
In the light of the three moons the marshes flickered.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 307
Disappearing now in the rence of the marshes under the three moons, were the many small craft of the rencers.
Raiders of Gor Book 6 Page 308
I lay on my back and looked up at the stars, and the moons.
There were three moons.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 42
Soon, to my interest, the guards had hitched up the bosk, and, by the light of the three moons, we were moving slowly again over the fields.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 77
The three moons were bright in the sky.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 106
The light of the three moons filtered through the trees, speckling the glade.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 125
I could see glimpses of the three moons high above.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 129
Bright in the dark, star-strewn Gorean sky, large, dominating, seemingly close enough to touch, loomed the three moons of Gor.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 131
The moons fled across the black sky, burning with its bright stars.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 134
I look out upon the marshes, which are in the light of the three moons of Gor, very beautiful.
Captive of Gor Book 7 Page 365
The three Gorean moons gleamed in the black, starlit sky.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 35
The three moons were beautiful.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 100
I looked up at the large, white, swift moons. There were three of them, a larger, and two smaller, looming, dominating.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 137
The moons, the three white, dominating moons of Gor, were now rearing over the tree tops.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 194
I looked at her, standing in the clearing, the bit of silk at her ankles, beautiful in the light of the three moons.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 217
What turbulence there was, was remote, seemingly far removed from us, a matter only of clouds silently whipped in distant unfelt winds, like rivers, invisible in the night sky, breaking their banks, hurling and flooding in the night, carrying the intangible debris of darkness before them, soon to extinguish the fires of the stars, the swift lamps of the three Gorean moons.
Hunters of Gor Book 8 Page 255
Few eyes, I think, in the ruins of that hall, under the torchlight, beneath the stars, the height of the Torvaldsberg in the distance, illuminated in the light of the three moons, were dry.
Marauders of Gor Book 9 Page 280
I saw her hair on the sanded boards, in the light of the three moons.
Marauders of Gor Book 9 Page 296
Outside, the three moons were full.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 123
Outside the three moons were full.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 129
It was late at night, in single file, over the sands, silvered in the light of the three moons, that we came to Two Scimitars.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 151
We stood under the three moons of Gor.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 181
She went to the window angrily, furiously, and looked out, over the walls of the kasbah to the sands silvered by the light of the three moons.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 198
In the bright moonlight of Gor's three moons we turned.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 206
I could see the stars, the three moons.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 266
We saw Klima white in the light of the three moons.
Tribesmen of Gor Book 10 Page 268
Low on the horizon I saw, rising, three moons.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 29
I looked up at the three moons, I did not know what to believe or how to live.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 32
Turning my head I could see the three moons.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 60
Sometimes he pointed to the largest of the three moons above, in a few days it would be full.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 88
More than once had a man gazed at the largest moon in the sky. In some days it would be full.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 90
Above me were the bright stars in a black sky, and three moons.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 106
The largest of the three moons was now full.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 109
I looked up at the largest of the three Gorean moons. It was now full.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 113
One lunar month from this date, by the phases of the largest moon . . .
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 113
I, though a girl of Earth, was chained in coffle under three barbaric moons.
Slave Girl of Gor Book 11 Page 133
I stood alone on the platform, and gazed at the snow-capped mountains, glistening under the mingled light of the three white moons.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 78
It is beautiful to fly alone by night over the wide fields, beneath the three moons in the black, star-studded sky.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 99
The three moons were high.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 120
The storm had passed, and the light of the three moons was bright on the snow and ice.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 325
Then it threw back its huge, shaggy head and, jaws widely distended, it long fangs white, exposed, gazed savagely upon the three calm moons of Gor.
Beasts of Gor Book 12 Page 385
The three moons were high abeam.
Explorers of Gor Book 13 Page 85
It was not difficult to see in the light of the three moons.
Explorers of Gor Book 13 Page 395
The three moons were now high.
Fighting Slave of Gor Book 14 Page 201
The three moons were high over the trees, bordering the shadowy inlet.
Rogue of Gor Book 15 Page 265
Slowly, creaking, foot by foot, I saw the heavy latticework of the sea gate lifting out of the water, dripping, shiny in its wet blackness, in the light of the three moons.
Rogue of Gor Book 15 Page 273
Through the ruined roof, between unshielded beams, I could see patches of the night sky of Gor, and one of her three moons.
Savages of Gor Book 17 Page 14
I saw the creatures mounted on the tarns, silhouetted against one of Gor's three moons, fleeing over the marshes.
Savages of Gor Book 17 Page 55
I looked up at the stars, and the three moons of Gor.
Savages of Gor Book 17 Page 168
The three moons, visible through the branches, had risen.
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 329
The three moons were full, and beautiful.
Blood Brothers of Gor Book 18 Page 394
I could see two of the three moons of this world.
Kajira of Gor Book 19 Page 82
It was still quite dark. Here and there were morning fires. The moons were down.
Kajira of Gor Book 19 Page 201
In the light of the three moons I made my way across the prison yard, through the sand of the baiting pit.
Players of Gor Book 20 Page 331
Then it threw back its great shaggy head and howled its defiance to the three moons, to the men who threatened it, to the universe and stars, to the world.
Players of Gor Book 20 Page 364
I looked up into the sky, and saw the three Gorean moons.
Dancer of Gor Book 22 Page 345
The three moons were full.
Dancer of Gor Book 22 Page 427
The moons were full.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 253
I looked up and gasped, for then, for the first time, I saw the three moons. I had learned there were three moons here but this was the first time I had seen them. One does not see the moons in the pens, or in the depths, and, if they were visible, I had not noticed them during the light of the day.
Witness of Gor Book 26 Page 382
All kept their birds low, moving swiftly and silently through the forest of cylinders, toward the walls, none visible against the three moons.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 341
She looked up at the three moons. They are so beautiful, she thought. This is such a beautiful world.
Prize of Gor Book 27 Page 345
Indeed, our story, in particular, as you may recall, has to do with the monster. It begins, in its way, on a moon of Gor, one of its three moons, and its smallest, that called the "Prison Moon."
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 9
The gravity in the venue, the Prison Moon, was currently indexed to that of its mother world, Gor, to which it was a satellite. We are not clear, given the small size of the moon, a mere several pasangs in diameter, how this was managed.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 21
They cannot stay here long, thought Cabot. This breach of the Prison World must be detectable in the Sardar. They must, after sealing themselves to it, or by means of protective gear of some sort, doubtless to be reassumed later, have burned through a lock, or even the shielding of the satellite. In any event Cabot had little doubt but what Priest-Kings would even now be apprised of the presence of unauthorized Kurii in the Prison Moon.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 84
They must know the security of the Prison Moon has been breached. How long does it take to bring ships to this orbit, with their technology, the closest of the three moons?
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 88
The gravity, he sensed, was much like that of Gor, and much the same as on the Prison Moon. But he did not think he was on Gor, or on the Prison Moon.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 94
"She bespoke herself kajira on a satellite of Priest-Kings, the Prison Moon," said Cabot.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 120
On Gor, given the three moons, and the differences in their phases, moonlight was frequent.
Kur of Gor Book 28 Page 314
The light of the yellow moon, high to my right, broke through some clouds.
Swordsmen of Gor Book 29 Page 448
"Then, perhaps near midnight, in the darkness, for clouds obscured the two moons then in the sky, when I thought I could go no further, to my joy, I glimpsed a small light, in the distance. It was, I took it, a small camp.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 62
I saw its silhouette briefly against the yellow moon.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 80
It was night.
It was cold.
The rain was fitful, I could see the Prison Moon.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Page 189
The night was now moonless.
Even the Prison Moon was no longer visible.
I did not know why it was called the Prison Moon. It had a grayish look at dawn and dusk, almost, interestingly, as though it might be a sphere of metal, and not a natural moon.
Mariners of Gor Book 30 Pages 195 - 196
I could see two of the three moons through the foliage above.
Smugglers of Gor Book 32 Page 116
The yellow moon was no longer obscured by clouds.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 194
The sky was overcast, but occasionally the light of the white moon, the clouds parted, broke through, illuminating the street and adjoining buildings.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 257
Two of the three moons were in the sky, occasionally visible through the clouds, the white and yellow moons. The smallest moon could not be detected, and it was not always easy to note, even under better conditions. The smallest moon is called the Prison Moon, but this name made little sense to me. How could a tiny moon, or any moon, be a prison? Perhaps it was called that because it seemed prisonlike, small, remote, forbidding, cold, and desolate.
Plunder of Gor Book 34 Page 287
Too, of course, there are three moons here, the White Moon, the Yellow Moon, and a smaller moon called, for some reason, the Prison Moon.
Quarry of Gor Book 35 Page 4
Both the White Moon and Yellow Moon were in the sky.
Quarry of Gor Book 35 Page 248
I could see my interlocutor, he now crouching, in the light of the yellow moon.
The somber ruins of huts were visible in the light of the two moons in the sky.
"We are vastly outnumbered," said Thrasymedes. "Do not do so. The clouds thin. The yellow moon will soon be in the sky. It will soon be morning. You would be noted as soon as you left the gate."
"The clouds part," said Clitus. "The Yellow Moon has risen."
The Yellow Moon was now well in the sky.
In a few moments the yellow moon emerged from the clouds and, briefly, illuminated the bare, broad half-circle of the beach.
From the saddle, in the light of two of Gor's three moons, the white moon and the yellow moon, I looked down and saw the ribbon of a road amidst the darkness of the woods. Samnium was now well behind me.
Most tarn battles, or land battles, do not take place at night. When they do, the battle is referred to as a Moon of Blood.
Dawn was still some Ahn in the offing, but the now-present, gibbous white moon brightened the fog, the yellow moon having fled the sky. Commonly both moons were visible or not at the same time. In Gorean folklore, the yellow moon is commonly thought of as feminine and the white moon as masculine, possibly because the yellow moon is thought to be more beautiful or because the white moon seems to follow, or pursue, the yellow moon. Sometimes, particularly in the southern hemisphere, the yellow moon is referred to as the Tabuk Moon, possibly from the yellow pelt of the Tabuk, and the white moon as the Sleen Moon, possibly because it seems to trail, or follow, the yellow moon. Gor's third moon, the tiny moon spoken of the Prison Moon, which I had once learned was an artificial satellite, was not visible.
From our camp we could see two of the moons of Gor, the white moon and the yellow moon. The white moon was full and the yellow moon gibbous. Gor's third moon, the tiny "Prison Moon" was not in the sky.
The night was cloudy and the white moon, the only moon in the sky, was no more than a slim crescent. The joke was that it was a "slaver's moon." On such nights, guardsmen are especially alert.
My benefactor, the noble Seremides of Ar," said Xenon, "checked the tables. The yellow moon should rise by the First Ahn."