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Patterns of Orbit: Stories

Patterns of Orbit: Stories

by Chloe N Clark
Patterns of Orbit: Stories

Patterns of Orbit: Stories

by Chloe N Clark


Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on April 4, 2023


Chloe N Clark's Patterns of Orbit spans genres, perspectives, and styles to articulate contemporary uncertainties in a rapidly changing world. Steadily gazing into and across the uncanny valley, Clark examines those jarring or subtle shifts in familiar stories, writing light into dark, and offering slivers of hope despite the longest of odds. Successfully navigating a potent concoction of science fiction, folktale, and horror this collection of literary, character driven stories combines the accumulated forces and darker natures of those genre elements, unleashing the terrors of alien fungi, forest demons, and interplanetary specters upon her characters. However, while these characters, capable and intelligent, face off against their prescribed monsters, it is their existential misgivings on the state of their worlds or conditions that will leave an indelible mark on the reader. An impressive entry in the literary/genre hybrid canon, this collection offers a satisfying read to the connoisseurs of both genre and literary fiction. So, be bold. Take a swim through the anti-gravity. You are sure to be captured by Patterns of Orbit.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936097470
Publisher: Baobab Press
Publication date: 04/04/2023
Pages: 166
Sales rank: 115,934
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Chloe N. Clark is the author of the short story collection Collective Gravities, an NPR pick for Best Books of 2020, as well as the poetry collections Escaping the Body, Your Strange Fortune, and more. She is a founding co-editor-in-chief of the literary journal Cotton Xenomorph

Read an Excerpt

Long in the Tooth

The lesson is obvious.

There will always be wolves in the woods. The woods will always be deep and dark. Anyone who strays from the path will always be punished. No matter that the forest floor was flooded with moss, so deep and green, so soft beneath the feet. No matter that there were flowers that only grew in the shade, such delicate buds. No matter how easy it was to follow the song of a bird without realizing. No matter that paths are not always easy to keep oneself upon.

The lesson is as old as time.

If you meet a wolf, he will always try to trick you. His teeth can only be sharp. His growl is one that is meant to get caught in the throat. It sounds like thunder if you listen closely. And you count, and you count before you remember that thunder follows lightning and not the other way around. You are waiting for disaster and its already come. What are you counting until?

The lesson is simple.

You taught the ones you love to keep themselves safe without telling them that’s what you were doing. You’d glance from side to side when crossing a street, hurry your feet when going past shadows, tell no one your whole name at first. Such simple things to learn: our calculations of what we must do to survive. No one told you how all those additions, things to remember, could also feel like subtractions. How the wolf might still be waiting—a multiplication of time and distance and fear. How the division at the center of the lesson was always going to equal yourself.

The lesson is universal.

The wolf is always a wolf. The wolf sharpens his claws every day with every step. Sometimes the wolf is a tiger. Sometimes the tiger is a hyena. Sometimes the hyena is a monster, creeping out of a cave. A castle. The lake behind the house. The wolf is everything and nothing. The claws are so sharp. The teeth are so quick. Sometimes even you are the wolf. You don’t realize it until you are old. You see it in the mirror, the way you shift and pace, like an animal caged. How much the running you have wanted is screaming under your skin, in your bones. Your claws are no longer sharp. You’ve spent so much time in the shadows cast by staying in the light.

The lesson is empty.

You walk in the woods, slip free from the path. The smell of the earth greets you after the rain. It is so deep and so dark and so easy to fall inside of. Was there ever a path to begin with? You can’t find it now. It’s all just moss beds and twisting roots and the flitter of bird wings and the rush of feet scurry scurrying. You could stop for a rest. You could wait for a traveler. You can taste it almost. All that you leave behind. There will always be wolves in the woods. You know this. You’ve found them after all.

Table of Contents


There is the World Within this Window 1

A Sense of Taste 5

Even the Night Sky Can Learn to be a Fist 13

The Waves Hear Every Promise You Make 15

The Day Lasts Longer the Further Away You Are    25

A Place You Know 27

This Skin You Call Your Own 31

Swingman 35

Buoyancy 39

Who Walks Beside You 41

Out in the Dark 51

Simultaneity 63

Wearing the Body 65

Long in the Tooth 79

Even the Veins of Leaves 81

Run the Line 93

Accidental Girls 97

Underwater Even Bells Sound Like Bodies 111

Static 113

Red as the Night Sky Burning 135

Supernova 137

Jumpers 139

Shapeless 149

The Ocean is Not Empty 157

We Are Still 165

So Far The Distance 167

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