ホースクラン登場 (サンリオSF文庫―ホークスラン) 文庫 – 1986/12
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It helps that I do not take them serious in any way. Robert Adams, who passed away far too soon, waxed polemically throughout the novels making it hard to tell what side of the political spectrum he was on while at the same time showing evidence of a disconnection with mainstream American thought. The books are really nothing more than a very simple approach to complex events. Flaws in the way Adams depicted things were to be ignored. That makes for great fiction, but not great reality. Still, the function of a writer is to entertain and thankfully, Adams entertained me for a decade in these books.
This is the first volume of the series. It opens with Milo Morai arriving in the Americas following a few centuries of searching for people like himself; undying mutants. He returns to North America and the group of people he calls Horseclans and then leads them to the Eastern Seaboard where they invade the Greek speaking lands of a degenerate people. Here Adams constantly invokes his dislike of Christianity, big government, foreigners, and liberalism, conservatism, and homosexuality. This is where the polemics come to play. So does the titillation factor which shows these were the sci-fi/fantasy equivalents to romance novels for teenage boys.
Other than that the story is good. I love the premise and the writing is really reminiscent of the old pulp fiction days. In fact, I think these are just as good if not better than much of the writing from that time period. The action is fast paced and events move fairly quickly. Yet, character development is limited to main characters most of the time. Even then, the development of them is somewhat shallow. Adams places for too much reliance upon simple plot devices in the novels, but then again that may be what makes them so easy to read. These are not meant to be high fantasy novels.
All in all, I can’t give them that bad a grade. I still enjoy rereading them. I just accept them for what they are, pure fiction. So if you have a need to relax and not be bothered by a lot of details while wanting to enjoy a simple tale of flashing swords, nubile ladies swept away by strong men, and good triumphing over evil, pick up this book and enjoy an afternoon of idle fun. I have found them to be great fodder for D&D campaigns as well.
The Horseclans saga takes place 600 years after a cataclysm that has twisted the North American continent into new shapes. Milo of Morai is a nearly immortal mutant human who has lived since the cataclysm began. He seeks to find more of his kind and lead the Horseclans of the central plains to a new home on the eastern seaboard which he believes is his destiny. The Horseclans tribesmen can speak with horses and great plains cats (think saber-toothed mountain lions) who often assist them in battle. Unfortunately for Milo and the Horseclans, the road to the eastern seaboard cuts through territory held by outsiders who have immigrated from Europe and they wont give up their territory easily. Perhaps worse, Milo encounters a creature created from pre-cataclysm technology able to jump from one body to another and take control over it. Though Milo is able to overcome the creature, it leaves a cryptic warning that its people are "not yet ready" to return.
While I've never reviewed a book this old before (I was one when it was written) and my not understand the writing styles of the time, The Coming of the Horseclans felt fairly disjointed and lacked explanatory prose throughout. The novel starts with a battle scene between forces the reader is unfamiliar with and progresses from one battle to the next without much explanation. Between the (often very one sided) battles, we learn a little about Milo's past and the history of the Horseclans, but otherwise the book is pure military fantasy fiction. Not bad really, it's just important to know that you're not getting a Tolkien or Spielberg epic here, you're getting hack and slash fantasy from the shallowest end of the pool.