“Out There” by Kate Folk

About the book, from Penguin Random House:

“With a focus on the weird and eerie forces that lurk beneath the surface of ordinary experience, Kate Folk’s debut collection is perfectly pitched to the madness of our current moment. A medical ward for a mysterious bone-melting disorder is the setting of a perilous love triangle. A curtain of void obliterates the globe at a steady pace, forcing Earth’s remaining inhabitants to decide with whom they want to spend eternity. A man fleeing personal scandal enters a codependent relationship with a house that requires a particularly demanding level of care. And in the title story, originally published in The New Yorker, a woman in San Francisco uses dating apps to find a partner despite the threat posed by “blots,” preternaturally handsome artificial men dispatched by Russian hackers to steal data. Meanwhile, in a poignant companion piece, a woman and a blot forge a genuine, albeit doomed, connection. 

Prescient and wildly imaginative, Out There depicts an uncanny landscape that holds a mirror to our subconscious fears and desires. Each story beats with its own fierce heart, and together they herald an exciting new arrival in the tradition of speculative literary fiction.”

About the Author, Kate Folk:

“Kate Folk is the author of Out There (Random House ’22). Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Granta, One Story, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and Zyzzyva, among others. A recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she’s also received support from the Headlands Center for the Arts, MacDowell, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She lives in San Francisco and is writing a novel, as well as developing a television show based on the title story from her collection.”

Why I selected Out There for the March 2023 Giveaway:

  • Well, first of all, this gnome has never shared/hidden a short story collection since I started hiding books in 2021. WHAT?!?! This was a major oversight since I love a good short story collection.
  • Speaking of which, this is an absolutely phenomenal short-story collection. Kate Folk is the master of slightly weird and uncanny short stories that pack a punch.
  • Some of the stories in this collection definitely aren’t for the weak, but the body horror featured in several stories is just enough to make you go “hmm,” without venturing into too much gore.
  • These stories are incredibly poignant and timely, focusing on contemporary issues that many of us may have experienced. As a result, some of these stories may stick with you long after you’ve finished this collection. I read this book in April 2022, and have spent the last year still thinking about some of these stories!
  • Finally, it’s Women’s History Month! I appreciate that the women featured in these stories revel in their weirdness – which, in many ways, makes them so much more real. We need more of this kind of writing in the world ❤

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