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Simon Stålenhag

Teoksen The Electric State tekijä

9 teosta 1,087 jäsentä 45 arvostelua 3 Favorited

Tietoja tekijästä

Image credit: LA2

Tekijän teokset

The Electric State (2017) 354 kappaletta, 14 arvostelua
Tales from the Loop (2015) 351 kappaletta, 14 arvostelua
Things from the Flood (2016) 231 kappaletta, 11 arvostelua
The Labyrinth (2020) 110 kappaletta, 5 arvostelua
Urtidsbilder (2019) — Kuvittaja — 12 kappaletta, 1 arvostelu
STALENHAG SIMON - LOOP - STALE (2017) 2 kappaletta
Flood (2021) 1 kappale

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The Labyrinth didn't have the same impact as The Electric State, another standalone novel. The artwork here doesn't quite match the captivating quality of his previous books. While the story moves at a quicker pace and revisits themes from earlier works, this one more explicitly tackles ethical dilemmas, particularly "what price survival?" Although the threat to humanity comes from extraterrestrial sources, the real danger lies within.
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mpho3 | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 23, 2024 |
I enjoyed the television adaptation, when it was initially released on Amazon Prime. Years later, I'm coming around to Stålenhag's "narrative art" books. I like what he does, but I like even more how it was brought to life for the screen. The device of using a child's recollections is great.
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mpho3 | 13 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jun 7, 2024 |
Very dark, depressing, spooky, and beautiful.
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markm2315 | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 3, 2024 |
Another brilliant work, in which a seemingly advancing society still thrums with the undercurrent of a dark and mysterious past that threatens to resurface. In some ways, it's an illustration of how we can never escape the things we've made or the things we've done as a human race, even as we remove all the physical signs of its existence. In this installment we follow the narrator through the next phase of his coming-of-age journey - being evacuated from his home for three years when the decommissioned Loop floods, and exploring more of the tech-ridden landscape with new companions. The same motifs occur as in the first book, but with a new dimension: it's no longer a series of idyllic childhood expeditions but more of a growing discovery of the xenophobia and cruelty of humans, in parallel with our narrator's struggle with acceptance among his own age group.

One example that painfully struck me was "The Vagabonds", where fear ultimately decided the fate of these sentient robots which had fled one massacre in Russia... only to be rounded up a second time by the Swedish locals. And yet the robots' conduct seemed at worst simply childlike - they settled in abandoned houses, worshipping living creatures and collecting bright, soft objects out of fascination. It's yet another statement of how this world can be a cruel place, crushing those who are not prepared for it and had no choice in the matter, whether they are humans or robots, and how this cruelty may simply be a part of our nature. The narrator himself exhibits one such moment when, frustrated with an AI teddy bear that won't talk, he points a gun at it and finally receives a response.

Yet another, more horrifying dimension is added to the book when it turns out the flood might be more than just water clogging the Loop - and this is where I found some parallels to the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which turned up a species of fungi that consumes radioactive material. In Things From the Flood an "unknown biological component" infects the hulking machines in a macabre and fascinating way, producing growths that look like flesh and blood and even, in some cases, entire series of limbs. Once again, as with Tales From the Loop, there's that quality that comes with anecdotes where you have no way of confirming what's true and what's false, and yet you can't help but suspect that the strangest rumors of why this happened might actually be true. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I found myself sympathizing more with the robots than the humans, because all things considered they were created and brought into the world without a choice, and were doomed to destruction whether by human or alien hands.

On another note, the brief cyberpunk-like glimpse into city life (and the accompanying artwork) was so neatly conceived. I found the concept of vertical cities intriguing - entire megabuildings containing thousands of apartment units, with entire schools and subways on the bottom level, definitely seems like something a futuristic world would have to free up land for various purposes. The logistics of such a place would be mind-boggling but fascinating to consider. And this setting is also where the familiar phantasmagorical images of The Electric State begin to show themselves, from creepy grinning cat balloons to deceptively cheerful floating billboards. Once again I'm utterly impressed by Stalenhag's comprehensive vision of this alternate-universe dystopia, and I would love to know the process through which he created all this.

Finally, the ending seems to take us full circle - "closing the loop" as it were, even as we're reminded that what is buried does not always stay that way. The narrator returns to his home with a faint feeling of loss that he manages to shake off as the immediacy of everyday life begins to set in again. It really illustrates the fleeting nature of human memory, how quickly we can forget the darkness of our history, and I love the hints sprinkled here and there that the Loop and its mechanical children may not be completely gone.

Definitely recommending to all my sci-fi enthusiast friends!

Adding my favorite quotes to come back to later:

"Somewhere out there beyond the cordons, beyond the fields and marshes, abandoned machines roamed like stray dogs. They wandered about impatiently, restless in the new wind sweeping through the country. They smelled something in the air, something unfamiliar.
Perhaps, if we had listened closely, we would also have heard it. We may have heard the sound rising from the forgotten and sealed caverns in the depths: the muffled pounding from something trying to get out."

"In everyday life, our surroundings only shifted slowly and subtly, such as altered designs of door handles and alarm switches, a soft color change in the glow of streetlights and lightbulbs, or a new font on the signs in the subway... Each is a minor change, but often, when looking back at them all together, they are as glaringly obvious as a sudden industrial collapse."

"Change is the dynamo that slowly but inevitably drives our society forward, while past days are clouded more and more in mystery and myth. The dynamo only spins one way - there are no return tickets to the land disappearing in the mists behind us."

"In the twilight hours, it is hard to discern the details marking the passage of two decades. It is hard to separate memory from reality; my mind fills out all the blurry sections. At dusk, the field looks like an ice-covered lake. You could almost believe that the flood is back."

"They were called vagabonds. They were an odd group, and were fascinated by colorful fabric, complex patterns, fur, and feathers. Anything organic and soft was exotic and highly valuable to them, and they seemed to have developed some form of religious worship of biology and nature."

"I happened to glance out at the landscape outside the window and was struck by a brief sensation. It was a sense of something having been lost, but also a sense that I was already forgetting what it was. I shook the feeling off, turned up the volume on my stereo, and returned to more important things - in thirty minutes I was supposed to be at Martin Hagegard's party and my hair had to be just so."

"Somewhere deep within the bedrock, where the nation kept its radioactive waste and where only machines labored, there were now endless rows of echo spheres filled with concrete. If we had been able to linger there without being incinerated by the radiation, and if we had been able to put our ear to the spheres, we might have heard it - the nervous heartbeats of something in there, slumbering restlessly."
… (lisätietoja)
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Myridia | 10 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 19, 2024 |



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