The electric state

Simon Stålenhag

Book - 2018

"A teen girl and her robot embark on a cross-country mission in this illustrated science fiction story, perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Black Mirror. In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world... outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in"--

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2nd Floor 759.85/Stalenhag Due Jul 18, 2022
Subjects
Genres
Science fiction
Published
New York : Skybound Books 2018.
Edition
First Skybound books/Atria Books hardcover edition
Language
English
Swedish
Item Description
Originally published in Sweden in 2017 by Fria Ligan AB -- back page.
Translated by Martin Dunelind.
Physical Description
133 pages : chiefly color illustrations ; 26 x 29 cm
ISBN
9781501181412
1501181416
9781501181429
1501181424
Main Author
Simon Stålenhag (author)
Other Authors
Martin Dunelind (translator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* A young woman and her yellow robot find an abandoned car and drive toward the Pacific Ocean. That's the simplest way to describe the plot of this haunting illustrated novel. It is, like all good speculative fiction, much more complicated. Michelle's narration reveals the strained relationship with her too-chipper foster family, and that a congenital neurological condition makes her unable to use a neurocaster, a sort of virtual-reality helmet that channels intercerebal intelligence into the Convergence. Stålenhag's (Tales from the Loop, 2015) hyperrealistic paintings reveal the dark truth: the journey is littered with skeletons wearing neurocasters, and roads are dwarfed by the remains of giant robots draped in wires. Beneath the ruin, it is clear that these were also advertisements—there are familiar fast-food logos, fake TV shows, happy-menacing cartoon heads—suggesting that society went willingly, soma-like, to its own demise. Though not strictly a graphic novel, The Electric State will find an audience among readers interested in graphic storytelling. All readers of bleak, emotionally rich dystopian sf will be fascinated with the way Stålenhag doles out details—Michelle's thwarted romance with fellow orphan Amanda in words, the addictive nature of the neurocaster in images—all the way to the open-ended, heartbreaking conclusion. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this jaw-dropping science fiction artbook (originally crowdfunded and self-published), Stålenhag (Tales from the Loop) brings to life a technologically ravaged Southwestern United States circa 1997 to accompany a melancholic story of a teenager traveling with her kid robot. Interspersed with maps and quotes from an unseen narrator describing how the world got in this derelict state, the story is small, centering on the struggles of a lone girl, despite the epic backdrop of mountainous technology that dwarfs humans and their everyday lives. Michelle describes her journey with Skip, a yellow toy robot who behaves in a childlike but intelligent manner, as they travel slowly through a world pockmarked with deep scars from war. Stålenhag depicts the abandoned landscapes in realistic, beautiful illustrations. Michelle's recollections of her old life in negligent foster care and her rebellious adolescence with her girlfriend are accompanied by her observations of the current world. Her birth mother was a drug addict, and her foster parents slowly gave in to the popular and widespread addiction to neurocasters, a virtual reality helmet that turns living people into shambling hordes and uses their minds to power large technological beings. This quiet, sad adventure is an excellent and visually stunning addition to any graphic novel, art, or science fiction collection. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In late 1997, a teenager and her yellow toy robot travel west through a strange landscape where the ruins of battle drones litter the countryside, along with the trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A teen girl and her robot embark on a cross-country mission in this illustrated science fiction story, perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Black Mirror. In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

NPR Best Books of 2018A teen girl and her robot embark on a cross-country mission in this illustrated science fiction story, perfect for fans of Ready Player One and Black Mirror. In late 1997, a runaway teenager and her small yellow toy robot travel west through a strange American landscape where the ruins of gigantic battle drones litter the countryside, along with the discarded trash of a high-tech consumerist society addicted to a virtual-reality system. As they approach the edge of the continent, the world outside the car window seems to unravel at an ever faster pace, as if somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in.