No Sh!t, There I Was: First of the North

We’re down to the last four stories in the No Shit table of contents! If you haven’t supported the Kickstarter yet, what are you waiting for? I guarantee, these four are just as awesome in their own way as the previous twenty.

Today’s story is First of the North by Andrew Barton. It’s probably the most brutally realistic story about superheroes that I’ve ever read. When the jackalopes and I were figuring out the table of contents, there was some disagreement on if First of the North is our bleakest story, or The Pursuit of Happiness. To be honest, I’m still not certain which of them wins. They’re both the sort of stories that hurt you in absolutely necessary ways.

First of the North imagines an economically desolate Vancouver and a superhero named Alpha Borealis who has lost her day job to the inevitable march of automation. To anyone who has ever been laid off, made redundant, or been victim of a force reduction–so many names for the same adult horror–this is a story that hits close to home. It certainly sucker punched one of my jackalopes, and me as well. As if that’s not difficult enough, First of the North posits a logical extension to the current poor treatment of the blameless victims of the economy and asks what good a superhero is against odds like that.

Andrew tends to write very stark stories, and it’s something I respect about him. He doesn’t waste words and he keeps everything feeling intensely real. It’s a style that serves this story well and makes it hurt.

It’s a good story, and well worth reading. And well worth supporting!

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