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The Electric State

4.44  ·  Rating details ·  688 ratings  ·  141 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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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
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.

Because it's fantastic and deserves a proper 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.


It goes straight onto my favori
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
Johan Thilander
Till skillnad från det disparata och världsbyggande berättande som vi har sett i Simon Stålenhags tidigare böcker så är Passagen ett mycket mer sammanhållet narrativ. På gott och ont - det är inte utan att jag saknar den unika berättarstil som han hittade i ur Varselklotet.

Allt som allt är detta dock en väldigt väluttänkt och skrämmande science fiction. Varför den ska filmatiseras är mig helt oförklarligt.
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.
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
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, recommend
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
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
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.
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 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
INCREÍBLE. IMPRESIONANTE. IMPRESCINDIBLE. Este libro no es sólo un catálogo de bellísimas ilustraciones, que aunque lo fuera sería una auténtica joya. Además el artista/autor añade una historia sobre los protagonistas que no sólo da más profundidad al mundo creado por este genial sueco, sino que te va atrapando a lo largo del libro y de propina te sorprende con un cojonudo giro final. Leedlo YA y recrearos en las formidables ilustraciones.
Ivana Futrikaničová
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Pomoc... toto je najkrajšia kniha akú budem v roku 2019 citat... je to trúfalé tvrdenie, a predsa dosť realistické. Tie ilustrácie sú úplne dychberuce. Klenot v knižnici. Knižný blade runner - atmosférou aj farbami. Najkrajšie sú obrazy zachytávajúce hru svetla na vode či cez okno.

A obsahovo? Prijemne a žánrovo v poriadku. Tak akurát. Ak by to bolo bez obrazov, tak asi 4*, lenže tie obrazy sú tak sakra dôležité. Toto je o atmosfére. O zimomriavkach skoro na každej strane.

Post-apo in its best.
This is a very beautiful and epic story from a young Swedish artist. It is definitely one of the most atmospheric graphic novels I've read in my life, thanks to the illustrations that bring everything that's happening to life. They are so details that at times it seemed that I'm looking at real photos.

The story (meaning the textual part of it) is almost as good as the images. Yes, I believe the text in this book is secondary. At first it's pretty hard to tell what's going on because the author t
The story and images of Simon Stålenhags retro-future Passagen (or as it will be called in English: The Electric State) are much, much darker compared to his earlier works. Coherent, eerie, very intense and not so little disturbing, this is dystopia as I like it best.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeous, haunting art.
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
Michael Bafford
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Julia Waters
Dec 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Something inside me wanted to stop the car and get out, to walk up to them and touch them and closely examine every single one of these strange growths. In another reality I would have loved this. I would have calmly walked these streets, fascinated - certainly with a degree of disgust, but rapturous, pleasant disgust.”

Well, I am rapturously, pleasantly disgusted. The grotesque beauty of this book’s imagery and story has fed my soul. It reminds me a lot of Zdzislaw Beksinski’s work, which is s
Oct 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the first time I’ve really got on with a visual novel, or at least found it more than the sum of its parts. The text and art follow Michelle and her robot Skip across an America that is strewn with the wreckage of a war, and both emanate a sense that everything is falling apart. The narrative stays character focussed whilst the images show sublime landscapes marred with technology, and the atmosphere of one feeds back into the other.
I was blown away by this, I’d recommend anyone whose st
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Set in the future where AI is overtaking humanity through the use of virtual reality devices, a young woman and a robot trek across the landscape in search of a particular place.

It was a short story that raised more questions as the plot continued to its conclusion. The story touched on an old war, rebellion against the AI and what life was like before the virtual reality devices rose in popularity.

I urge the author to write a novel in this world. I think there is enough here to write a series.

Tomáš Drako
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tak, to bolo niečo.
Dievčatko s robotoom putujú naprieč zdevastovanou Amerikou.
Čo stránka to skvost. Bez nadhodnotenia. Tento grafický romám..bacha nie komiks... je moje prvé tohtoročné prekvapenie a to sa sakra len rozbieham.
Vyslovene že krásne, temné ilustrácie, zabalené do veľkého formátu.
Ale je tú jedna vec, čo mi prekážala. Vlastne to je akási peha. A to zmätočné delenie príbehu na prítomnosť a spomienkové úseky. Len tak si čítam, a ani neviem ako, zrazu sa ocitnem ako dievča niečo rozpráv
Ashleigh Mattern
Dec 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Electric State is a beautiful and disturbing vision of an alternate 1990s America where an addictive virtual reality has brought on an apocalypse. A young girl travels through this world, driven to get to a destination without being apprehended by the authorities. The artwork is stunning and eerie, and the story can be downright creepy at times. The art is much stronger than the writing, though, which is awkward at times. It felt as though the pictures were drawn first and then the story cam ...more
Stephanie (aka WW)
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The first thing I did upon finishing this graphic novel was to flip back to the front and read it again. The art is absolutely mesmerizing. It depicts the Western American landscape following a war fought with drones. People are reduced to little more than walking robots after a virtual reality program takes control of their minds. Kind of like how I’m reduced to staring at this art. Recommended for graphic novel lovers.
Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk
I bought this book for the artwork but discovered a story, dark and depressing for its relevance.
Beautiful artwork skillfully accompanying an interesting tale with a twist. The artwork enhanced the story and made for a memorable read. I would definitely read more by this artist/writer.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Грустная история..
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: actual-books
I read this on my Kindle Paperwhite, and unfortunately, the main appeal of this book - the art - was pretty much completely lost to me. Without the art, this is pretty unimpressive; I'd been expecting a proper book, or at least a novella, and instead I got a short story with just enough to pique my interest, not enough to make me care.

I'd definitely read a full-length novel set in this world, but I don't think I'll pay much attention to anything else in this series unless it is a full-length no
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Like many people, I also was immediately drawn to this book for the illustrations. By themselves they would already hint at a fascinating story. Moments which leave me staring and entirely creeped out even as I'm admiring the beauty. With text to tell us of what the characters think it becomes something of an eerie travel log. Glimpses of the rapid decline in civilization and the quiet devastation of moving across the states. An entirely satisfying whole and very quick read.
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All I had hoped for and more 1 9 Dec 26, 2017 03:56PM  
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