Flashback Friday is something I do here at Bookwraiths every once in a while; a time when I can post my thoughts about books that I’ve read in the past. With the hectic schedule of day-to-day life, there never seems enough time to give these old favorites the spotlight that they deserve, but with a day all to themselves, there is no reason I can’t revisit them.
Today, I’ll be taking a look back at a pulp fiction series from the past: Horseclans!
Genre: SciFi / Fantasy / Post-Apocalyptic / Pulp
Series: Horseclans #1
Publisher: Various (Initial Publication January 1, 1975)
Length: 199 pages
My Rating: 3 stars
The Horseclans series by Robert Adams (no relation to yours truly) is a post-apocalyptic, pulp fiction series that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is about gory battles, psychic animals, a brutal world, and larger-than-life heroes and villains. Or as the author himself put it:
The following tale is a fantasy, pure and simple. It is a flight of sheer imagination. It contains no hidden meanings, and none should be read into it; none of the sociological, economic, political, religious, or racial “messages” with which far too many modern novels abound are herein contained. The Coming of the Horseclans is, rather, intended for the enjoyment of any man or woman who has ever felt a twinge of that atavistic urge to draw a yard of sharp, flashing steel and with a wild war cry recklessly spur a vicious stallion against impossible odds.
The tale is set in a 27th century post-apocalyptic America, where a past nuclear and biological war has completely transformed the world. The protagonist Milo of Morai, a mutant from the 20th century, has survived all these centuries, returning now to the horseclans he helped create to fulfill his own prophecy by leading them to their ancestral homeland. (Well, sort of.) Naturally, the journey is fraught with danger, as the clans cross a near unrecognizable America where decadent city-dwellers, other Immortals, and vicious survival rules the day.
What drew me to this series back in the early 1980s was the concept of the story and the amazing, pulp covers. Being a huge lover of sword and sorcery fiction by Robert E. Howard and others at the time, Robert Adams Horseclans seemed like a can’t miss for my reading tastes. I mean, if I loved Conan the Barbarian fighting wizards and monsters across the Hyborean world of the distant past, why wouldn’t a story of a post-apocalyptic world where nomadic warriors (Think Mongolian horde with mutant horses!), telepaths, ancient technology, and Immortals fighting for control of the world not entertain me? It was pulp fiction fun with a modern twist. A can’t miss like I said.
Now, to be completely transparent, I didn’t ever love this series as much as I wanted to. It was a bit too brutal for my tastes back then. The heroes and villains both too violent, callous, and prone to rape anyone who didn’t move out of the way quick enough. The plot lines fairly straight forward and predictable. And the writer’s style was adequate but never very refined. So while I did read several books in this massive series, I soon lost interest and never returned.
Even with my lack of love, I still feel Robert Adams’ Horseclans series is one which should not be forgotten. For its time, it was a thrilling, realistic, pulp fiction story which was short (The longest novel was only 253 pages. The average length of a novel was 202.), violent yet realistic (The author was a Vietnam veteran who understood the horrors of combat and their aftermath.), and mixed science fiction with fantasy into a nice mixture. So I’d encourage lovers of pulp fiction to go out, grab copies of the first few books, and see if this adventure series is the entertainment you crave.