STORM CONSTANTINE 1956-2021
The Fantasy Hive is saddened to report the passing of Storm Constantine after a long illness. Storm Constantine was a writer of rare skill and passion, well known for her support and encouragement of younger writers, and a familiar friendly face on the UK convention scene. She will be missed by all who were lucky enough to have known her.
Constantine began writing from an early age, her interest in Roman and Greek mythology, the Tarot, and the punk and goth subculture feeding into her work. She remains most widely known for the Wraeththu books. Beginning with The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit (1987), and continuing with the sequels The Bewitchments of Love and Hate (1988) and The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire (1989), the original Wraeththu trilogy is an incredible, pioneering work of speculative fiction and fantasy. Exploring a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by a post-human androgynous race of hermaphrodites born from humanity, the novels broke new ground in their representation of alternative sexualities and genders. Additionally, Constantine’s punk and goth influenced fantastical world, combining elements of fantasy, science fiction and horror, challenged the boundaries of genre fiction in the late 80s. Jeff VanderMeer would cite Constantine and the Wraeththu books as an early example of the New Weird. Constantine would continue to write Wraeththu stories, including a second trilogy The Wraiths of Will and Pleasure (2003), The Shades of Time and Memory (2004) and The Ghosts of Blood and Innocence (2005), and various short stories.
Constantine’s other work, though less well known than the iconic Wraeththu books, was just as powerful and genre-defying. Combining her interest in science and paganism, her books are fiercely feminist, and explore ideas around gender, sexuality and power dynamics. Of particular note are Calenture (1994), which with its exploration of the urban Weird is another important early example of the New Weird, and the feminist space opera Monstrous Regiment (1990) and its sequel Aleph (1991), which is in dialogue with other key feminist SF writers such as Sheri S. Tepper and Suzy McKee Charnas. She collaborated with the legendary Michael Moorcock on the gonzo steampunk adventure novel Silverheart (2000). In 2003 she founded Immanion Press, initially to bring her own work back into print, but soon became involved in publishing fiction, bringing key works by Constantine’s friend Tanith Lee back into print, and esoteric non-fiction. She leaves behind an incredible legacy of work as both author and editor, as well as the legacy of her support and kindness to her fellow writers and fans.