PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Fans of genre literature will happily tell you that tastes and trends in books come and go. Currently, the big thing is dystopia and steampunk, though that is in the process of changing. The popular sub-types have launched the careers of some, many of whom will go on to break away from their sub-genre of origin into bigger and (hopefully brighter) things. Back in the ‘80s however, it wasn’t the cogs and brown leather of steampunk that sold books. Instead, bats, black leather and all things gothpunk defined that era. Amid it all, the undisputed queen of British gothpunk was Storm Constantine.

Splinters of Truth brings together fifteen short stories from throughout Storm’s career, including four new tales. Prolific authors often scatter their work across magazines and small press publications, so it’s nice that all of this is finally in one place. The stories themselves are an interesting hodgepodge of ideas that serve as a bit of an overview of Storm’s back catalogue.

Many focus on interesting and intelligent characters trying to make their way in the real world, whilst trying to cope with mundane nonsense that tries its level best to crush creative spirits. Others are fragments of what it was like to be goth in the ‘80s; these tales are filled with a mix of weird magic, delusion, illusion and desperate love. Constantine’s talent for twisting the mundane and making it dark and delicious shines out on each page, making the whole thing fascinating reading.

As this is a collection drawn from the breadth of her career, the stories do vary in quality. Some feel rushed, as if too much has been crammed into a short space, whilst others stretch out one idea for too long. This pacing isn’t much of an issue because each tale is a gem in its own right. The collection also includes a Wraeththu story, which is sure to delight followers of that quintessential gothpunk series.

Splinters of Truth is a great way to get into one of the most genre-defining authors of the age. Stick on The Mission or a spot of Sisters of Mercy, scrawl on the eyeliner and dive in.


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