The Electric State

Simon Stålenhag

Book cover

Boy, is this a weird book. I found it browsing at Books Inc. in Berkeley, and was drawn to the photorealist art style with weird mech wreckage in a 1990s California landscape. The art is truly amazing and worthwhile on its own; indeed, I think I might have enjoyed it more as a stand-alone art book. The accompanying text tells the story of Michelle and Skip making a road trip through a sort of post-apocalyptic hellscape of California that reminded me a lot of the setting in “Parable of the Sower.” Most of the economy seems to have been given over to supporting an immersive virtual reality simulation, kind of like in “Ready Player One” except much heavier. Meanwhile, there has been a drone-based war that has left a lot military wreckage all over the place. The story is pretty well written, but is just a little dark for me.

My Goodreads rating: 3 stars