Dennis's Reviews > The Electric State

The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
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it was amazing
bookshelves: science-fiction, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, favorites, art
Read 2 times. Last read January 31, 2020.

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.

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People got addicted to a virtual reality and basically turned into shells of their former selves. That is, if they are not dead already.

The war had been fought and won by drone pilots-men and women in control rooms far from the battlefields, where unmanned machines fought each other in a strategy game played over seven years. […] The drone technology was praised because it spared us meaningless loss of life.
The collateral damage was of two kinds: the civilians unfortunate enough to be caught in the crossfire, and the children of the federal pilots, who, as a concession to the godheads of defense technology, were all stillborn.


The effects of the war on the landscape and also the effects of the advancements in technology on the few remaining people is shown through a combination of artwork and prose. But Simon Stalenhag also leaves some room for the reader's imagination.

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The result is a perfect symbiosis between melancholic prose, beautiful art and the power of your own mind.

Michelle also recounts moments of her childhood and adolescence, which gives us a better understanding of how the world turned to shit. Her recollections show some glimmer of hope from time to time, but mostly it’s the sadness of looking back on a time that is gone.

At some point, when I was about ten, I decided to lock up all the memories of my mother and not talk about her with anyone, and I managed to do that until one night in Soest six years later, when I suddenly told Amanda everything in an empty playground. We had been sitting in the net up on the jungle gym, and my head was in her lap. It was fall, and she was wearing knitted fingerless mittens and caressing my forehead. The gloves were gray, with snowflakes on them. She wore those gloves all winter, and then in the spring she moved.


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In the present we witness moments of tenderness and sometimes even playfulness between Michelle and her little robot. Maybe not all hope is lost.

Michelle’s narration is occasionally interspersed with a second POV. Someone else is on their way to the Pacific coast too.

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The rest you have to find out for yourself.

For the art alone this book deserves five stars. It is so rich in detail, photorealistic sometimes, eerily otherworldly in other moments. The coloring is amazing as well. Seriously, this is some of the best artwork you will ever see, in any book. It’s simply amazing.

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Easily among my top 10 books ever.


Link to the soundtrack that the author composed for this book: https://simonstalenhag.bandcamp.com/a...

Link to Simon Stalenhag's art gallery: https://www.simonstalenhag.se/
(There's a lot of artwork from his upcoming fourth book as well as from this one. Not all of it made it into the final draft. And I would consider a couple of images to be slightly spoilerish. But then again, there's no text, so you probably won't be aware of their meaning.)

Link to an animated video that uses artwork from this book (no spoilers): https://youtu.be/iXCKGrDWylE



********

2018 "review":

All the stars!

This book is a piece of art! Literally. It's like nothing I've ever read before.

I took a lot of pictures and now have to decide which ones to use for my review. The light got a little bad towards the end. So I'll also have to retake some of them tomorrow. Therefore the review will take some time. But this book is worthy of the effort. I loved every second of it.

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It goes straight onto my favorites shelf.

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There it is! :D

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Thanks, Trish! 😘
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Reading Progress

September 30, 2018 – Shelved
September 30, 2018 – Shelved as: to-buy
September 30, 2018 – Shelved as: science-fiction
November 1, 2018 – Shelved as: to-read
November 1, 2018 – Shelved as: next-please
November 3, 2018 – Started Reading
November 3, 2018 – Shelved as: post-apocalyptic
November 3, 2018 – Shelved as: dystopian
November 3, 2018 – Shelved as: favorites
November 3, 2018 – Finished Reading
January 13, 2019 – Shelved as: art
January 31, 2020 – Started Reading
January 31, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 53 (53 new)


Trish You are very welcome. I just hope you'll like it, too!


Dennis We'll find out now. :)


Trish Dennis wrote: "We'll find out now. :)"

Ha! *is excited*


Dennis OMG, the art! It's gorgeous. 😍


Trish 😬 I‘m so glad you seem to love it already.


message 6: by Dennis (last edited Nov 03, 2018 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Dennis Oh, I do. :) I'm really taking my time here. Savoring every second of it. Also taking a lot of pictures.

I wonder if you thought about the same thing than I did when you came across this one.

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message 7: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Looks interesting!


Dennis It is absolutely fantastic, Cathy. A road trip through the post-apocalyptic US, full of eerie images and melancholy. The art is not from this world. I'm awestruck!


Trish Dennis wrote: "Oh, I do. :) I'm really taking my time here. Savoring every second of it. Also taking a lot of pictures.

I wonder if you thought about the same thing than I did when you came across this one.

"


A certain book/movie we've read this year, absolutely. ;)


Trish So glad you loved it, Dennis, and am looking forward to the pictures you're choosing for the review. :D


Dennis Trish wrote: "A certain book/movie we've read this year, absolutely. ;)

Exactly! :) I'll give you something more difficult. What about this one?

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Trish (view spoiler)


Dennis I'm not sure why you're spoiler tagging that. *lol* But no, I thought of something else. Would have been a little scary though, if you did so too. ;)


Trish *lol* True, spoilers make no sense here. So tell me what you were thinking of!


Dennis I thought of Wipeout. Which has nothing to do with this book, of course. But that's why it would have been funny (and a little scary) if you'd thought of that as well.


Trish Dennis wrote: "I thought of Wipeout. Which has nothing to do with this book, of course. But that's why it would have been funny (and a little scary) if you'd thought of that as well."

Don't even know that title, I don't think? I only remember Whiteout.


Dennis Lol. That's not even close. Wipeout is a futuristic racing game that was (in)famous for its relentless speed and high difficulty in higher levels. As well as product placement (Red Bull, I think) and its soundtrack (The Prodigy and other popular bands).


message 18: by Trish (last edited Nov 04, 2018 02:04AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trish Well, that is quite unfair, then, because I don't know any sports games. *pouts* But it is very likely that the author does and used it in this book (there are a number of game references).


Dennis There are? I was only thinking of The Last of us and Wipeout, of course. I think I'll have to look for them when I'm retaking my pictures. It's so dark today, though, I don't even know if I'm doing it now. :(


Dennis Trish wrote: "So glad you loved it, Dennis, and am looking forward to the pictures you're choosing for the review. :D"

At long last the sky lit up for a few minutes and I took the pictures. So now I only have to choose the right ones from the 88 I got. Should be easy, right!? :-/


Trish Dennis wrote: "There are? I was only thinking of The Last of us and Wipeout, of course. I think I'll have to look for them when I'm retaking my pictures. It's so dark today, though, I don't even know if I'm doing..."

Ha! I thought about The Last Of Us, too! :D


Trish Dennis wrote: "At long last the sky lit up for a few minutes and I took the pictures. So now I only have to choose the right ones from the 88 I got. Should be easy, right!? :-/"

88?! Dear booksgods, you're worse than I am! :D


Dennis Trish wrote: "Ha! I thought about The Last Of Us, too! :D"

Ha! Cool. :)

88?! Dear booksgods, you're worse than I am! :D

Well ... yes. *lol* This review will probably take an whole evening to materialize.


message 24: by Trish (last edited Nov 04, 2018 01:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Trish Dennis wrote: "Trish wrote: "Ha! I thought about The Last Of Us, too! :D"

Ha! Cool. :)

88?! Dear booksgods, you're worse than I am! :D

Well ... yes. *lol* This review will probably take an whole evening to mat..."


All the more to look forward to.


message 25: by Mir (new) - added it

Mir This was excellent! Thanks to you and Trish for bringing it to my attention.


Dennis You're very welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I think I loved this even more the second time around. Now I just have to find the time to finish the damn review.
Speaking of, where's yours? ;)


Trish Miriam wrote: "This was excellent! Thanks to you and Trish for bringing it to my attention."

You're welcome indeed.


Dennis Trish wrote: "Dennis wrote: "Trish wrote: "Ha! I thought about The Last Of Us, too! :D"

Ha! Cool. :)

88?! Dear booksgods, you're worse than I am! :D

Well ... yes. *lol* This review will probably take an whole..."


Or maybe it will take another year. Lol. I added the link to Stalenhag's art gallery. There's some artwork that didn't make it into the book. Some of it quite nice. If you want to have a look.


Trish Dennis wrote: "I added the link to Stalenhag's art gallery. There's some artwork that didn't make it into the book. Some of it quite nice. If you want to have a look."

Yup, definitely do. Might have to get this (and one of the upcoming) book(s) of his. :D


Dennis I want all of them. :) Seems like Tales from the Loop will be adapted into an Amazon series, in 2020(?), as well.


Trish Really? Cool!


Dennis Yeah, hope so. I mean, the movie rights to The Electric State have been sold as well. And so far nothing came of it. But since there's quite some cast already for the other one, I suppose this is actually going to be real.


Trish Well, sold rights mean nothing much. Look at how long Sandman has been waiting.


Dennis I wouldn't know. But generally speaking, yes, you're right.


Trish Some books I know have had their movie rights sold 16 or more years ago. Never did anything come of it. Some had a cast, some even a pilot episode or first version shot and shown to a test audience before getting scrapped. :/


Dennis Yeah, that sucks. But maybe you've heard about this? Isaac Asimov wrote a pretty great short story in 1946. It is called Evidence. He sold the film rights to Orson Welles (for $250). And, well, Welles died in 1985. He never used them.


Trish Yup, heard of it though I haven't yet read the story. More Asimov is another thing on my bucket list for this year. Especially after the references in Picard.


Dennis Ah, yeah, I had that plan as well. In 2018. Lol.


Trish *lol* I tend to realize my reading plans a wee bit more quickly.


Dennis I know. I'm just too much of a mood reader. That's the main reason why I rarely read and almost never finish a long running series.


Trish Oh, I understand mood reading. Especially catering to different seasons and weird weather. It's why Brad and I are gonna read King's The Stand right after the The Dark Tower series. Bwahahahahahaha! But if a series is good, my mood ensures I also finish it. ;P


Dennis I don't quite understand the mood reading part about your plan to read The Stand, to be honest. Not sure "mood reading" and "plan" actually go together. Lol. Or are we talking about starting it right now?


Trish We're talking about reading it because of the Corona virus. So that mood prompted us to read it - but only after having finished the book we already started (the last DT one). It's still a mood - unless your moods swing from one end to the other faster than normal people change their underwear. *lol*


Dennis They do. ;) But anyways, I misunderstood. I thought that for some reason you two had planned to read it after DT, before you even started the last book.


Trish There is no way the DT train can be stopped now. I'd suffer a heart attack.


Dennis Bahahaha! I've not read your reviews since The Gunslinger, as my train stopped there. But I've seen that you rated all of them 5 stars.


Trish Yep. Some are better than others but only within King's standard - compared to other fantasy and/or scifi authors, this is brilliant. No other word for it.


Dennis Well, I could think of another word for The Gunslinger. But maybe it's better to leave well enough alone. :)


Trish I could think of something too. Not something to call The Gunslinger, but something I'd like to do to certain people. But maybe it's better to leave well enough alone.


Dennis Yep. I think it is. :)


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