Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins
Mythanimus is the fourth volume in a series that brings together Storm Constantineâ€™s short stories and in this book we are treated to some of her more recent writing as well as some stories that have only ever been published in limited capacity. With an introduction by the author herself and a short description about each story included in the volume, this is a thoroughly enjoyable book and a reminder of just how absorbing a well written short story can be.
What is most admirable in this collection is that it showcases in one place just how much control the author exhibits in the short story form. Tense, point of view, description and action are all well structured to portray maximum information to the reader with minimum detraction from the tale. As a writing student, this collection will certainly be of reference for educational purposes as well as being an enjoyable read for what it is â€“ an anthology of fantasy narratives that explore diverse themes and ideas in an engaging format and more often than not carry a moral lesson.
The story that stood out the most for me was â€˜Priest of Handsâ€™ which the author tells us went on to become the novel Calenture, although some experimentation was needed with the gender of the characters before the book made it to print. Anyhow the short story invites us into the eerie world of Ays, a Priest of Hands, whose purpose in life is to make the passing of the dying as smooth as possible by the use of his animal-skin gloves, music-maker and sleepy-jar powder. The arrival of a strange terranaut soon disrupts his peace and separates Ays from his once-satisfying existence. Beautifully framed, this is a haunting story of belonging and daring to be different and is a prime example of the magic and strength Constantineâ€™s writing represents in the genre.