Issue #167: His Other Fathers

When I was growing up in the 80s, we made Super 8 movies for fun. Most of them involved robots and alien invasions, but the one I remember most is “The Gallbladder Gang,” where we dubbed the music from Raiders of the Lost Ark over a massive fight scene that involved every kid on our block. Those old movies were full of some pretty creative stunts, so I was happily surprised to see Super 8s make an appearance in our new issue, “His Other Fathers” by Michael Byers. The cutting and snipping of film to create a narrative inspires our hero, Paul Lake, as he navigates through another common factor in most kids’ lives from the 80s: divorce. For the first time in America it became common for families to split like cells, dividing into smaller and smaller chambers, and this is just what happens to Paul. As his home breaks apart, his relationships become more tenuous, and his only grounding points become short, fleeting moments with the fathers of his different girlfriends. Between these very different men, he somehow finds direction, and eventually how to be a father himself. Be sure to check out our Q&Awith Michael Byers on how he wrote the story, which includes some details on his own Super 8 film experiences from the 80s (involving a Mohawk and some gold chains), as well as some great advice on writing from Charles Baxter.

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