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.