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The Dark Rider

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  • The Dark Rider

    Here I go, straining Mr. M's memory cells again by bringing something up from very early in his career, but this story which appeared in Eldritch Dreamquest in 1960 (was that a fanzine?) has an intriguing title and doesn't appear to have ever been reprinted. What was it about? There doesn't seem to be much information anywhere about it...
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

  • #3
    I was afraid you'd say that Has anyone come across it?
    'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

    Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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    • #4
      Dear Aral,

      Yes, I have a copy of 'Eldritch Dream Quest' #1 (11/'60), with 'The Dark Rider' -- "A [7pp.] story of Dark Age Britain" -- and also of 'E.D.Q.' #2 (05/'61), in which Mike contributes an illustration or two to 'No Monroe In Lothrorien', an article by Arthur R. Weir.

      Best,


      John.

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      • #5
        Oops!

        That was, of course, supposed to read '...Lothlorien', not "...Lothrorien"!


        J.

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        • #6
          A rare sighting! Glad to see someone has it :)
          'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

          Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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          • #7
            With the assistance of John Davey (thanks John!), I've finally managed to get to read this story. A minor but interesting Elric precursor, the pale-skinned hero is called Sharon (presumably pronounced Shar-on, could you get away with calling a male hero by that name nowadays?) and he has a runesword called 'Nightslayer' which is destroyed by the end of the story in his fight against the stone giant Cromm. A story for some future Moorcock completists anthology, I think.
            'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

            Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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            • #9
              Oh, proto-Elric!!

              I'd love to read that. Could anyone scan it up the site?

              I think I've now got some OCR software now which will make it practical to scan up stories like The Flame Bringers from Searchlight in return.

              Was there any illustration of the Dark Rider?

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              • #10
                mmm nope...never even heard of it. Kinda hard to get to places that actually have stories or novels or anything from generations before. -sigh-

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                • #11
                  The version John supplied to me was a photocopy. I could scan from that, unless John is able to put some images up from the original. It was billed as a story of Dark Age Britain and is set among the Picts and the Celts but the genesis of Elric is clearly there. There were a couple of illustrations included with the story. The rarity of this item alone makes it worthy of inclusion in the Image Gallery.
                  'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                  Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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                  • #12
                    No problem about scanning. Didn't Jim Cawthorn illustrate the Dark Rider story ? I wonder if it was a juvenile I'd done originally for Tarzan Adventures. Not sure if anyone knows the history of TA, which lasted briefly after I'd left. The editor was about 80 (not kidding) and he HATED what he called 'this rubbish' -- fantasy fiction. He thought healthy boys wanted to read about steam engines and Atlantic liners and thus ran the whole thing thoroughly into the ground. I'd left some stories of Rakhir the Red Archer, as I recall, with illustrations by Jim. One day I came into the office and discovered manuscripts and Jim's illustrations in the bin.
                    I know I rescued them, but I don't know what happened to them after that. Tarzan's circulation had been the highest they'd had while I was running fantasy fiction. You can see how it suddenly takes a VERY old-fashioned turn in those issues for, I think, 1958 or 9. By that time I was working for Fleetway.

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                    • #13
                      I've uploaded scans of The Dark Rider story, the EDQ cover and associated story illustrations here in the Limbo album:

                      [broken link]

                      I'm not sure who did the title page illustration, as it just has the artist's initials, the other story illustration is by Michael Thompson. It does read a little like a juvenile; the original Flame Bringers story (from Searchlight) seems rather superior in style by comparison. I'd love to know the order in which these early stories were written, but I doubt Mike can remember himself. Mike, any idea what that missing word is from the penultimate sentence? :)

                      By the way, is the 'Mike J. Moorcock' credit an indication of the original composition date? I could be wrong, but the story looks like it was reproduced from your original manuscript

                      Once again, thanks to John Davey for providing a copy for me to read initially and now scan for the site, bringing this very rare story to a much wider audience.
                      Last edited by Rothgo; 04-12-2010, 05:27 AM.
                      'You know, I can't keep up with you. If I hadn't met you in person, I quite honestly would NOT believe you really existed. I just COULDN'T. You do so MUCH... if half of what goes into your zines is to be believed, you've read more at the age of 17 than I have at the age of 32 - LOTS more'

                      Archie Mercer to Mike (Burroughsania letters page, 1957)

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                      • #14
                        Originally posted by Aral Vilsn
                        I've uploaded scans of The Dark Rider story, the EDQ cover and associated story illustrations here in the Limbo album:

                        [broken link]
                        Oop! Not any more! Chaos reins! The Eldritch Dreamquest/Dark Rider scans now reside [broken link]here!

                        Ah, ya gotta love that ever-shifting multiverse. Keeps things interesting to be sure.
                        Last edited by Rothgo; 04-12-2010, 05:28 AM.
                        "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
                        --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars

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                        • #15
                          How did I miss this thread? Thanks PWV. Aral & John, thanks for sharing the proto-Elric stuff. Amazing. I suspect very few people once knew. Now everyone will know. Thanks for sharing!
                          The cat spread its wings and flew high into the air, hovering to keep pace with them as they moved cautiously toward the city. Then, as they climbed over the rubble of what had once been a gateway and began to make their way through piles of weed-grown masonry, the cat flew to the squat building with the yellow dome upon its roof. It flew twice around the dome and then came back to settle on Jhary's shoulder. - The King of the Swords

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