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The Electric State

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  2,719 ratings  ·  505 reviews
In 1997, a runaway teenager and her yellow toy robot travel west through a strange USA. The ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, heaped together with the discarded trash of a high tech consumerist society in decline. As their car approaches the edge of the continent, the world outside the window seems to be unraveling ever faster—as if somewhere beyond t ...more
Hardcover, Kickstarter Edition, 143 pages
Published December 1st 2017 by Free League
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Monica I think it has to do with the map. There's a circle off the coast, with a dot on the town where she found him.

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Average rating 4.44  · 
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Oct 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trish by: Dennis
My friend Dennis asked me to look for a number of books while I was in London last week. This was one of them. When the Waterstones employee handed it to me, the first thing I noticed was the vibrant colour and the realism of the artwork. Naturally, I started flipping through the book. I brought it back to Germany for my friend but, of course, have read it first now. ;P

Before this little adventure, I had never heard of this Swedish author although he seems quite well-known. I also didn't really
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story is good, but the art is phenomenal.
2020 re-read.

Still a breathtakingly amazing experience. What a book! How many times can you say wow during a single read? I couldn’t stop. All the stars!

We follow 19 year-old Michelle and her little robot on their way from the Mojave Desert to the Pacific coast. In search of {spoiler}. Michelle narrates their journey through a strangely dead landscape littered with gigantic battle drones and the remnants of a society that has lost its way.



People got addicted to a virtual reality and basically tu
Edward Lorn
Dec 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Astounding artwork, a poignant, heartbreaking story, and one helluva presentation, all make this a pitch-perfect experience. Reading this was an utter joy. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about it. While the pricetag is high, it's worth every penny. Do not confuse this with a coffee table art book. It deserves your complete attention. Easily one of the best books of 2018. Dig it.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cataloged_it

Whatchya lookin' at, there, buddy?

This was definitely one of those right reads/right times dealios but even had that not been the case, this would have gotten a solid 4 stars out of me.

The art is incredible, all trippy photorealistic pastoral scenes of landscape and machinery, mostly. However, it's not all popartscifi; there's emotion and body language and ambiance and all sorts of other stuff that art people would appreciate and that I cannot clarify.

The story that goes along with the page-
Adam Smith
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
To say I love Simon's art is an understatement, so this book could have been all pictures and still attained 5 stars. Behind the art however is a story: it is a roadtrip across an alternative version of USA in the 90s, one filled with a mixture of analogue and digital and a curious array of science-fiction artefacts left to rust and decay after an apparent 'event'. Or are they?

The story is told using a mixture of the art and the writing, often using the writing to delve into some character backs
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't even know of this book until last week - okay I have to work on my patience as I dropped (not literally) everything else I was reading to start this book and unfortunately I finished it that night.

The work of Simon Stalenhag was brought to my attention by my brother who loves this kind of artwork (and usually waits for me to buy it so he can read it).

Now up until recently I thought he only did art - not realising he had used some of that art to create this bitter sweet story with yes
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
holy fuck
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthew Hunter
Wow. I've read plenty of unsettling works in my time, but Stalenhag's The Electric State might take the cake. The author uses a Wacom tablet and computer to create artwork resembling oil paintings. The dreamy, gritty photorealism of the illustrations, combined with disorienting nostalgia (?) for a past re-imagined (the post-apocalyptic landscapes littered with massive warships and goofy-faced battle drones are snapshots of life in 1996/97) makes for one creepy read.

Stalenhag gives up contextual
Tilly Booth
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
GUYS this was such a wonderfully weird book and as soon as I saw this come in at work, I was like "YES THIS IS RIGHT UP MY ALLEY" and I was right!!!!

This story is a puzzle with bits of information from chapters and stunning artwork laid out in front of you for the reader to put together. It's set in a sci-fi apocalyptic world and it's pretty damn epic.

You follow a young girl called Michelle and her yellow robot, Skip. I'm not going to spoil anything but THE ENDING. YOU'LL SEE. BECAUSE YOU SHOUL
Feb 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
A runaway teenager (Michelle) and her yellow toy robot (Skip) travel west through a post-apocalyptic United States. Many people have been turned into zombies by virtue of being plugged into neurocasters, which seem like a VR headset with full sensory experience. This dystopian landscape is littered with ruined battleships and technology. Michelle and Skip are inexorably headed towards a coastal town for reasons that become evident at the end. This is properly classified as a narrative art book, ...more
I'm a big fan of this fella's art, he does stunning stuff. Eerily beautiful and horrifying all at once, I really need to get hold of the Tales from the Loop and the Flood art books.
Emelie Eriksson
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Simon Stålenhag can draw AND write! Sometimes, the sentences were a bit too long and "flat" for my liking though. And the ending was a bit abrupt. Other than that, I loved this book. I've grown tired of stories set in the apocalypse/post apocalypse the last couple of years, because they've all felt the same. "Passagen" is different though, at least for me. I've never seen or read something similar before.
Feb 18, 2020 rated it liked it
A marked step down from Stalenhag's previous two efforts. The pictures were still compelling, but lacked the eclectic energy of his earlier work. The writing was too much and the story not interesting enough. In my opinion, he's at his best when he lets the reader fill in the details. Trying to provide too much info only highlighted the stories holes.
In the beginning, God created the neuron, and when electricity flowed through the three-dimensional nerve cell matrix in the brain, there was consciousness. The more nerve cells the better, and our brains contain hundreds of billions of neurons; that's why we make better lasagna than chimpanzees.

The Electric State is the third of Simon Stålenhag's graphic novels, and by far the most ambitious in story. Where the first two were reminiscences, this time we follow our protagonist and her brother on
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommend, sci-fi
The illustrations alone are a reason to read this book. I requested if from the library, expecting a hardback book, but it's more of a smaller "coffee table" book. The story was frighteningly unique, and seemed a called to humankind to monitor its dependence of technology. The landscape is the stuff of nightmares and haunted me throughout the book. Even after finishing it my head whirled with scenes of battleships falling from the sky and VR advanced helmets attached to peoples head. I highly re ...more
Andras Szalai
Aug 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-have-it
Stålenhag paints worlds that are highly realistic and retro-futuristic at the same time. In the Electric State, he offers a short story that is illustrated with his art (or an artbook that is structured by a short story?). In it, we are slowly trecking through the Pacific coast of the US with the protagonist, Michelle, and her robot Skip, as civilization slowly crumbles around them due to the ubiquty of an addictive new technology. The artwork is phenomenal: beautiful, eerie, and c-o-l-d. The sh ...more
Chance Lee
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Astonishing, mesmerizing, and deeply unsettling work of sci-fi. Set in an alternate 1990s in the midst of a technologically induced apocalypse, a young woman travels across California for an unknown purpose. A richly layered story of personal struggle during global crisis. Highly recommend reading in one slow sitting and absorbing everything.
Aug 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning . The art was so mesmerising . The writing was pretty much faultless . I was looking for something apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic to read and this was the perfect thing .
David Quijano
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I started this sometime in March and stopped reading it because I got distracted during the quarantine. Don't let that fool you, though. This is a great read if you like post-apocalyptic graphic novels. The social commentary is thought-provoking, taking place in a world where people are so drawn into their devices, they neglect all other responsibilities. This is an idea that many have pondered and it is scary to think about. Video games are already addicting but imagine if they were ten times a ...more
Bonnie McDaniel
I don't think I've ever read a graphic novel like this. It's almost a picture book, with the gorgeous art telling as much of the story as the text. This is a cyberpunk alternate history set in the alt-90's of a decaying America that has splintered into several smaller states: the protagonist is on her way to "Pacifica," for instance. We are plunked abruptly down in the aftermath of a drone war, in the midst of a sort of virtual reality zombie apocalypse. This stems from the "neurocasters," VR he ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is like nothing I have read before. I guess “read” only covers part of the experience, as words are sparsely used, and act as framing for the incredible art that dominates every page.
This is a haunting tale of a young woman cautiously travelling through a collapsed society, heading for the coast, and something lost. Through her narrative (and sometimes from the powerful artwork alone) we slowly figure out what has happened, and what she is seeking, as pieces of the puzzle drop into place.
Oct 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a very eclectic book, a merger of a book, a hybrid of a book, somewhere on the borderline between a picture book, a comic book, a traditional book and even an installation book.
The story per se will never be complete without the illustrations, and the illustrations will never tell the whole story -it is a truly symbiotic book. The illustrations are also quite realistic, and they resemble the court sketches in the attempt to add authenticity to the narrative.

The story, on the other hand
Chris Greensmith
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"What we're doing isn't civilised. I know that. But I know it must have happened to you too. Like me, you must have woken up one day and suddenly realised the inevitable: we no longer live in civilised times.
You're almost upon them. Walter. It is almost over."

I needed more, but I was satisfied. Beautiful, real artwork, incredible artwork! The story was very poignant, very apt. Just a great, read, I loved it, so rich...5 🌟
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reminiscent of the postapocalyptic road trip of The Stand; the eerie, sometimes downright terrifying atmosphere of The Last of Us and the stark warning about technology inherent in The Matrix; told in competent prose but set apart by stunning, mesmerising artwork. This one will stay in the darker recesses of my mind for quite a while.
I read this in one go, in a dream state. It's like nothing else I've ever read – a mix of the immersive, visual worldbuilding of a computer game, and the introspective prose of a novel. I've already bought Stålenhag's other two books, and I can't wait to be immersed in them.
Philip Shade
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
I really wasn't looking for beautiful, mysterious, and heart wrenching; but here you have it.

What I love about libraries is I can pick up random books, because they look interesting, and not worry about spending money or finding place fo rat ebook to live. I figured Electric State was just an art book with an interesting concept; putting giant, derelict, robots into everyday settings. From about pages one I found myself immediately drawn into a dark, and foreboding alternate reality/post-war Ame
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this has been on my to-read list ever since i first saw it in a waterstones in 2018 and i'm so glad i finally read it! four stars because that's rated purely based on the story - an interesting, spooky, and bleak tale exploring a post-apocalyptic america set in the 90's. but the art is just breathtaking. the scale, the colours, it all comes together to tie the story up in a bow made of wire. so, so glad i've finally read it!

EDIT: i've had to raise this to five stars, because i've just listened t
Jonathan Maas
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The empty apocalypse

I've been a fan of Stalenhag's art for awhile, and was happy to see he had attached a tale to it.

And it is a great tale. It's the end of the world, but there are no roving gangs out to destroy you.

The world is empty, and save for leftover machinery - most people are alone.

But whatever the case - this is a great tale, and more than just art. I highly recommend it to everyone!
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All I had hoped for and more 1 20 Dec 26, 2017 03:56PM  

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Konstnären och författaren Simon Stålenhag är mest känd för sina digitala målningar som ofta visar vardagliga scener med fantastiska inslag. Efter sitt genombrott 2013 har Stålenhag publicerat två böcker om ett alternativt 1980- och 90-tal på Mälaröarna utanför Stockholm. Ur varselklotet (2014) och Flodskörden (2016) har hyllats både i Sverige och utomlands. Den ansedda tidningen The Guardian kora ...more

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