a team of iron horses

Her companion wore black breeches and green jacket and boots. His cloak was black, lined with green, and he wore a sword and dagger at his waist. He sat astride a black, horse-shaped creature whose body appeared to be of metal.
-Dilvish the Damned by Roger Zelazny, 1965
Rod froze, hand on the pommel of his sword; then he dug his heels into Fess’s metal sides, and the great black horse sprang toward the ruckus.
-The Warlock in Spite of Himself by Christopher Stasheff, 1969

Meanwhile, in Aquilonia’s nighted capital, the chariot of thulandra thuu rumbles through the streets… drawn at high speed by a creature which, to a casual observer, might appear to be a large black stallion… but which a closer inspection would reveal to possess a strange, metallic sheen, as if it were carved of gleaming iron.
Conan comic based on Conan the Liberator by L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, 1979.

What’s up with swords and sorcery being so hung up on black robot horses? I ran into these three just in books I read this year. Two of these sources predate D&D’s Obsidian Steed.

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3 Responses to “a team of iron horses”

  1. megazver says:

    Well, they’re badass, y’know?

  2. Michael (Gronan) Mornard says:

    To be fair, Fess, Rod Gallowglas’ horse, looked like a horse. He really was an actual robot with a brain that popped out of his horse body and into another, or into the spaceship, or whatever.

  3. Daniel says:

    To be even fairer, Dilvish’s horse Black was actually a shapeshifting demon (if I recall correctly). So it’s black metal things that look like horses but aren’t. (With the possible exception of that last one?)

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