Short story: “The Horse Lord”

by look i have opinions

“The Horse Lord,” by Lisa Tuttle

First appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in June 1977; collected in A Nest of Nightmares (Sphere Books, 1986; later reprinted as an ebook by Jo Fletcher Books) and in Stranger in the House (Ash-Tree Press, 2010); featured in episode 450 of Pseudopod, August 7th, 2015

Maybe 4,000 words?

I was frustrated with this story. The old Indian burial ground/curse/legend/warning trope just doesn’t age well. One of the Escape Artists staff argues that Tuttle subverts it by making the real monster something older than the tribes, but if that’s true, the warning given by the “brave” is still played totally straight, and the main characters’ indifference towards the Native Americans is still off-putting. I was also annoyed by some minor lapses in prose quality.

I liked the ending, especially the revelation about the monster’s real nature.