Surfing tonight, I discovered a very cool literary journal called A Thousand Faces. They say they look for character-driven pieces that rise about the usual superhero genre technique of making stories as a framework on which to hang a fight scene. They also have an interesting revenue sharing model that they use to pay writers.
Anyway, so far I’m very impressed with the quality of fiction there. As an example, check out Michael Obilade’s “Matchstick.” I was completely won over by the first line:
In the eleventh grade my brother fell in love with a girl made of fire.
The story plays with something that I think is a common theme in superhero stories: the girl’s superpowers make it hard for her to be around people in a normal way. However, in this case, that’s really the focus of the story, and the result is an odd and moving work:
I didn’t know much about Josie, except that she was made of fire, and my brother loved her. I wasn’t even sure of these. She didn’t go to this school – no one knew her – which meant she was either home-schooled, or from another town. We spoke briefly. She said she was sixteen, like Dural, but she looked like she still belonged in junior high. My brother wasn’t evasive about many things, but he was doggedly secretive when it came to her. The only conversation I ever had with him about her occurred on a morning when I caught him peeling blisters off his hands in the backyard. I sat beside him, and stared at the sun, pale white in a blue sky.
This story was a breath of fresh air to me, after an evening of wandering around the Internet not being too excited by what I found. I’m really glad to have discovered A Thousand Faces, and am looking forward to seeing more of what they have to offer.