Thursday, December 13, 2018
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag
A teenager and her yellow companion robot travel the western United States in this graphic dystopian story about a consumerist culture addicted to a virtual reality device which is in decline and collapsing in on itself. The images are by turns darkly comical and horrifying, and in any event are thinly veiled metaphors for the way that our own Internet has taken over our lives and created addictions to our online devices. The pair do make it to their destination, but beyond that you’ll have to read the book and look at the very moving pictures and make your own determination. To me, this book is its own genre. It’s dystopian, yes, but it is also a unique presentation—it’s the closest thing to a picture book for adults that I’ve ever seen, combining pictures designed to create emotion with truly moving text and very adult subject matter. Bottom line: You can’t miss this one. Read the book, and then turn your smartphone off.