Saturday, March 26, 2022

Out There: Stories

Out There: Stories by Kate Folk
3/29/22; 256 pages
Random House

Out There: Stories by Kate Folk is a highly recommended collection of fifteen short stories examining odd and disturbing peculiarities existing during common experiences found in alternate bizarre realities.

These speculative fiction stories have a science fiction/alternate reality/magic realism quality to them. The ordinary experiences in the stories are understandable to our sensibilities, but they all have an absurdist twist toward the realities they really represent. For example dating app sites being infiltrated by blots, handsome biomorphic humanoids posing as real men, that Russian hackers use to steal data;  a medical facility for a nighttime bone-melting disorder; a house that requires an exacting and time consuming level of care; a tourist finding a way to survive a sudden violent revolution; and a void that is slowing expanding and erasing Earth. 

All of the stories have been previously published and the writing is excellent. The stories can be humorous and horrifying at times. Folk's gives her characters development, and the plots in her short stories are compelling and vary widely. As with any short story collection, there are hits and misses. Out of the fifteen stories presented in the collection all were basically successful (with varying degrees of satisfaction) except for two stories which were absolute misses for me.

Stories included are: Out There; The Last Woman on Earth; Heart Seeks Brain; The Void Wife; Shelter; The Head in the Floor; Tahoe; The Bone Ward; Doe Eyes; The House’s Beating Heart; A Scale Model of Gull Point; Dating a Somnambulist; Moist House; The Turkey Rumble; and Big Sur.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House via NetGalley.

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