I have just learned about the death of British fantasy writer Storm Constantine, popular for her Wraethtu stories and for her collaboration with Michael Moorcock on Silverheart. A strikingly original writer, I first encountered her work back in 1992, when I discovered the trade paperbacks of her first trilogy – The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire.
In a beautiful style reminiscent of some of Tanith Lee’s works, the Wraethtu Chronicles were ahead of their time, in tracing the future history of humanity’s slow but inescapable replacement by a new species of hermaphroditic beings, the titular Wraethtu.
The stories were rich of atmosphere and tackled a variety of ideas and situations not often seen in commercial fantasy – which probably explains why Constantine’s novels developed a sort of cult following.
Constantine would later expand the series (that also came to include a roleplaying game), exploring further aspects of her future history, finally launching a publishing house devoted to her works (including expanded versions of her earlier books) and those of other writers she supported.
She published other series – most notably the Grigori sequence – and she also wrote a number of essays on magic, including a few spellbooks.
Often described as a writer of “shadow fantasy”, Storm Constantine was an impressive writer, both for her bold ideas and her sophisticate style, and she was also that rarest of creatures, a fantasy writer that would have been perfectly at home in one of her imaginary worlds.
She’ll be sorely missed.
17 January 2021 at 02:48
I came over tonight saying “I wonder who died today?”, and then “Holy shit, she DIED?!” I would never have thought it, particularly with her being so young. I think I first came across her when I lived in London and devoured the Wraethu books. I read a couple of others of hers and found them challenging, as you say, in theme and language, but rewarding, as truly good literature is. We would all be better off for being required to think deeply more often. I too will miss her.
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17 January 2021 at 02:58
I am sorry that my blog is turning into the obituaries page, but 2021 seems to be well set to steal many of our favorite people.