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Out There: Stories

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4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,521 ratings  ·  409 reviews
With a focus on the weird and eerie forces that lurk beneath the surface of ordinary experience, Kate Folk’s debut short story 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 remain ...more
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published March 29th 2022 by Random House
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,521 ratings  ·  409 reviews


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Lala BooksandLala
Jul 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
a new all time favourite collection
Barbara
I found Kate Folk’s “Out There” stories to be so bizarre that I could not wrap my head around any of them! Perhaps it was the Sci-fi element!

For me the creepiest one “The Bone Ward” was about people suffering from a rare bone disease which makes their bones melt overnight. That made my own bones melt in sympathy!! The most disturbing was “Moist House” in which a man must keep a house moist at all costs, in which he develops a serious and disturbing attraction. And for those on the dating scene,
...more
Blair
Another collection of short stories about modern life and relationships with light speculative elements, to be shelved next to Cosmogony by Lucy Ives and You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South. Out There bears the hallmarks of many debut collections by young female writers (listless narration, joyless sex, life-on-the-internet stuff) and features what I described in my review of Forgotten as ‘not quite body horror, [but] certainly bodily squeamishness’ (organ fetishes, a condition tha ...more
Book Clubbed
Mar 05, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shouts out to Net Galley and Random House for the ARC.

Kate Folk fits neatly into the contemporary obsession with magical realism--when everything has already been written about, we have to warp reality just to illuminate it. Kelly Link and Aimee Bender were early contenders for the crown, although Carmen Maria Machado did her damn thing too.

At this point, the subgenre is clotted, imitators of imitators churning out "quirky" little tales with the same lessons about the patriarchy and listless mod
...more
Angie Kim
Apr 13, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
UPDATE: Finished reading, and I'm OBSESSED with this book. I don't know Kate Folk, but now I'm going to cyberstalk her and hope I can meet her at some point because, wow, this woman has a brilliant and very strange mind (in the best possible way!) and I want to pick her brain about storytelling and worldbuilding and EVERYTHING!

I started with reading her flash stories while taking short short breaks from writing, and I love how much she manages to pack in in just a few pages. The compression is s
...more
Elyse Walters
Audiobook…..read by Sophie Amoss, Hannah Choi, Michael Crouch, Will Damron, Renata Friedman, Kristen Sieh
…..7 hours and 13 minutes

These fifteen ‘short stories’ are crazy good….
…..fresh, contemporary, hilarious, weird, highly imaginative, …..and just the ‘mood changer’ audiobook entertainment I wanted and needed.
YEP …. a terrific ‘mood changer’ palate cleanser!

For me….and others of us who live in the SFBay area, it’s exciting to be introduced to a new Bay Area author, Kate Folk. (she makes
...more
Paul Ataua
A debut collection of short stories by Kate Folk that is receiving quite a lot of acclaim. It was just a little too quirky for me and one of which I found it almost impossible to remember any story twenty minutes after finishing it. I get it, and I am sure most people will love it. My three stars represents an attempt to situate my review somewhere between what I felt and what others will probably feel. I am sure that is not how it is suppose to work, but what the hell. No author should suffer f ...more
Katie T
May 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-safa
This collection of short stories was soooooo good.

An uncomfortably realistic take on the Bay area, the tech world, science and the body. After living in downtown San Francisco for 3 years I can tell you the stories about the "Blots" are probably actually happening for real.
...more
Theresa
First off, I love short story collections. And this one was just...BONKERS!

This collection contains 15 short stories, some are brief but leave a lasting impression. I truly enjoyed all of them. If you like weird, quirky, and eccentric stories - then you will devour this. Kate Folk has a unique and talented voice. A lot of these stories are absurd but absolutely addicting. The characters sparkle with personality and surprising depth. Even though many of the stories are out-of-the-box, there's a
...more
Martie Nees Record
Genre: Short Stories: Science Fiction/ Horror/Black Comedy
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: March 29, 2022

The stories of “Out There” offer a razor-sharp analysis of the madness found in everyday life in the digital age. They are creepy, bizarre, and filled with black humor, yet they have a sobering effect on the reader. What makes these strange stories almost credible is that they have elements of truth in them. Folk manages this by tapping into our deepest social and personal anxieties. Still,
...more
Stephanie B
15 short stories, sandwiched in the most perfect way by two that go together - “Out There” and “Big Sur”. Those two are such a highlight, but I thought the 13 in the middle also served to amplify their weird charm. "Moist House" is another standout. Most of these stories explore gender, particularly women’s place in society - and self-alienation - she seems to ask, how can we manage to find “personhood” within society’s constraints pressing upon us at every turn? She quotes Murakami as an inspir ...more
ReadingWryly
Aug 11, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5⭐️

This felt like a book of ideas. I loved every idea in here! And I love how Kate Folk's brain works.
But most of these stories were just too short to hook me and ended with less of a "twist" and more with a vaguely threatening note. I wanted more.

If all of these stories had been 75-100 pages, I think it would have been fantastic!

I really loved the stories involving the "blots," The Bone Ward, and The Moist House.

I will definitely read from her again.
...more
Bill Hsu
With a number of these stories, I loved the premise, but didn't care for the development (or lack thereof). The writing is mostly light and enjoyable, though occasionally there'll be an explosion of irrelevant throwaway detail. I live in San Francisco where most of these stories take place, and for instance, I can't say naming specific streets and intersections add much to a story, when they could very well be different streets and intersections. But maybe readers who don't live here enjoy this ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*3.5 stars rounded up. This is a collection of short stories that are definitely 'out there.' My favorites are the first and last stories in the book, both dealing with dating blots or 'biomorphic humanoids,' another Russian scam to mine data from unsuspecting women.

I received an arc of this new collection from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
...more
michelle
following in the magical footsteps of machado, saunders, and moshfegh (ok these are all authors referenced in the pitch blurb but iT'S ACCURATE OK), folk's stories are about being human in the worst ways. we've got sentient & sinister houses ("moisturize meeeee"), tinder bots irl, dissatisfied wives, the last woman on earth (and still dealing with misogyny), a sleepwalking boyfriend who brings increasingly weirder things back to bed, sadomasochistic family gatherings, and oh god so much more. lo ...more
Mitch Loflin
Feb 02, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This last story!!!!! I liked all of the stories here, loved pretty much all of the longer ones, will never get over the last one as long as I live. The SATISFACTION I got reading this...tremendous. Great stories great stories. There were a few times a story would start and I'd be like "I don't know about this..." and halfway through I would be reading with the rapt-est of attention (@"The Bone Ward" I'm looking at you). Great writing, great IMAGES, interesting premises that are heightened by the ...more
Vincent S.
“Years passed and nothing did happen, and I realized that without my intervention, my hand pushing against the warm back of fate, it was possible nothing ever would.”

This isn’t the type of story collection I would usually enjoy. I’m more into “slice-of-life” stories, simple stories that don’t feel the need to provide you with a “punch,” or a big finish.

In Out There, the stories are generally “self-contained,” with a surprising twist/punch. But it works every time. Every new story is as surprisin
...more
Susan Tunis
Apr 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This debut collection is strange, absurd, and frequently very funny. It's well worth a read! ...more
Stephen Haines
This is one of those collections where almost every story begins with an interesting and/or surprising premise but then fails to develop and/or deliver. It feels like the author thought the idea itself was all she needed and then threw up flimsy scaffolding around it and called it complete. Some of them reek so awfully of this that you can almost just sense how clever/quirky the author thinks they are every time you get a premise involving: a head stuck in a floor; a house with walls that need l ...more
Thea
Jul 10, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ahh!!!!! Wow wow!!!

Uniformly good and creepy and charming throughout!

I’m sad that there isn’t more work from Folk to read yet, but maybe this’ll be my gateway into more magical realism in the meantime.
Laura
Mar 27, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kate Folk's debut collection of short stories, Out There, shares a lot of concerns and themes with many collections I've read recently from female writers; body horror, AI infiltrators, the hidden violence of heterosexual relationships, female sexuality, mysterious medical conditions, folktale themes, returns from the dead. I'd place it alongside collections such as Julia Armfield's salt slow, Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body And Other Parties, Mary South's You Will Never Be Forgotten and Irenos ...more
Taylor
Apr 03, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022-releases
[4.25/5]

**Thanks to Random House for the gifted review copy!
InkedWxtchReads
This was a roller coaster for me. When I liked it I loved it, when I disliked it I hated it. The main issue with this collection of stories is consistency. Out of the 15 stories I only liked 3 of the longer ones and like 2 of the shorter ones. The rest I really didn’t care for. I don’t regret my time with it though.

What I liked was how weird these stories in general are. Mundane experiences of life being shown in a weird sci fi light. If you liked “bunny” or “a house at the bottom of a lake”, t
...more
vanessa
Seriously, I'd read a whole book about blots. The more I sit with this collection, the more impressed I am by what Folk accomplished here. These stories are weird: robot-like men created to scam & collect women's data, a head that is literally coming up from a floor, creating art in an apocalypse where people are dying left and right, a man who has to keep a house moist with lotion at all costs. You read these thinking, "What is happening?" but you slowly get bits and pieces that make you relate ...more
Maddy Gallup
I was completely absorbed into this eerie, futuristic world from the very first story. I really don’t know how to summarize my feelings about this collection in a coherent way, but ultimately I adored these weird little stories and fascinating explorations of the human condition in the digital age. Folk creates narratives that are essentially grounded in our reality and twists them into something absurd yet vaguely familiar- stories of tinder bots and catfishes but as real, tangible entities (ve ...more
Deedi Brown (DeediReads)
All my reviews live at https://deedispeaking.com/reads/.

TL;DR REVIEW:

Out There is a collection of the exact kind of short stories I love: punchy, speculative, feminist, metaphorical, and weird. Kate Folk is definitely on my watchlist now!

For you if: You like weird short stories with strong metaphors.

FULL REVIEW:

Thank you Random House for the advanced review copy of this book! I had such a good time diving in and out of these weird, speculative, feminist short stories. In fact, these are my exact
...more
Elizabeth Arnold
These stories were so fun, unique, sometimes funny, and sometimes effortlessly heartbreaking (by which I mean they got under my skin, made me feel without making me feel manipulated into feeling.) Everything I look for in short stories, really, and I'd love to see what Folk might do with novel-length fiction. I'll be looking forward to seeing what she writes next. ...more
Gerardine  Betancourt
Certainly one of my favorite books of this year.
Highly recommend!!!
5 stars
Jane
Aug 18, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection of weird and horror storis grew on me.
Till Raether
Sep 24, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Committed to the bit 💪

Some of these story ideas are extremely original, and even the lesser ones had enough loving detail to keep me more than happy (aaah, the Murakami shade 😎).
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Kate Folk is the author of OUT THERE, a story collection, and a forthcoming novel, both from Random House. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Zyzzyva, and One Story, among other places. A former Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University, she's also received fellowships from MacDowell and the Headlands Center for the Arts. Originally from Iowa, ...more

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