If you have some cash to spare, you may want to get hold of Simon Stålenhag’s new book, The Electric State, that has recently completed its Kickstarter, and is looking for publication at the end of the year.
The book tells the story of a teenager and her toy robot who travel across the USA in an alternative 1997. The landscapes she passes look familiar enough, but various ruins of gigantic battle droids and heaps of broken technological garbage show that this version of the states has tilted somewhere for the worst. Or, as the Kickstarter blurb puts it, “somewhere beyond the horizon, the hollow core of civilization has finally caved in“.
This is the third book for Swedish illustrator Stålenhag, after Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood. In each of these books, Stålenhag paints impressive vistas and recognisable scenes, always infused with alienating science fiction elements, such as robots, crashed space vehicles or just city structures that are just not quite right. He employs a highly detailed and realistic style, and is even able to embed his images with movement and dynamism, something that is quite often missing from similar artwork. And his books are stories, told in images, and not just a series of pretty pictures. This man has a message.
(The Electric State will be published near the end of 2017. Simon’s other books are widely available from all good bookstores. Also check out his artwork for the Swedish Museum of Natural History)