The Bewitchments of Love and Hate

The Bewitchments of Love and Hate - Storm Constantine Although this bills itself as the second in a series, I had little trouble sliding into this particularly distinctive fantasy world. And by about page 10, I was saying, "I told you so." For Storm, I am fairly sure, is a woman, and she has created a kingdom which is nominally monosexually androgynous (I know that sounds contradictory, but it's actually fairly accurate) and in fact nothing more or less than a version of the earth where gays have taken over from straights (including reproductive powers). The hermaphroditic biology of the "Wraethtu" is thought out and explained in fairly complex terms. The remaining fantasy elements are fairly conventional, though very competently handled: this is a young boy's coming-of-age story; he learns to face the spectre of his violent father, and to realize that the preconceptions he has been brought up with in his northern, warlike tribe are not adequate. Swift (that's his name) has one destructive but fascinating relationship, then finds monogamous bliss with his true love, the moment of realization coinciding with a sex-with-higher-significance ritual (i.e. sex magic). This is very close in spirit to the various cosmos-saving sexual-telepathic unions of Kirk and Spock in the Star Trek under-fiction (just to give another example of a widespread and, in the right hands, rather powerful theme). I like this writer - she doesn't overplay her cards, and she can write a decent sentence. Other "Wraethtu" books are definitely on my list. [These notes made in 1990:].