December 28 2020

Simon Stalenhag art books – Tales from the loop

Title: Tales from the loop, Things from the flood, and The Electric State
Author: Simon Stalenhag
Genre/ issues: Sci-fi. Dystopian fiction. Art books.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Tales from the loop

Tales from the loop

Tales from the Loop is incredible. This is another Christmas gift from Jacob, as we had watched the TV series made from this book and enjoyed it so much, we were both fascinated with its origins as an art book. It didn’t disappoint. Presented in pseudo-documentary style as the memoirs of a childhood lived in Sweden, the artwork and accompanying narratives tell of a world similar but oh-so-different to ours. The Loop operates outside of town, and creates anomalies in time and space. Abandoned metal spheres and robots litter the landscape, providing opportunities for strange and unusual encounters that just seem like normal experiences growing up around the Loop. Descriptions of magnetic flight and transport seemed so authentic and believable that at times I had to remind myself that this is fiction. And the artwork! Beautifully detailed and evocative of a rural, 80’s childhood not unlike the one I led, albeit with more metal structures, robots and dinosaurs in the surrounding fields. This is a truly fascinating book, highly recommended whether or not you have watched Prime’s Tales from the Loop. If you enjoy Black Mirror or The Twilight Zone, this could be right up your alley,

Things from the flood

Things from the flood

Things From the Flood. Aka, Tales from the Loop , now with 40% added spookiness!

This book follows the experiences of our narrator who shared his life growing up in the 80’s in Tales From the Loop, and shows us his life in the 90’s as the Loop operations are shut down, the neighbourhood floods with strange waters from the Loop, and the robots and machinery begin to exhibit some strange other-worldly traits. I was particularly fascinated by the chapter featuring itinerant robots with malfunctioning AI, one of which graces the cover. The illustrations are crafted with exquisite detail and I found myself getting lost in speculation about what life must be like for them. Whilst Tales from the Loop is serenely sci-fi pastoral, Things From The Flood adds a slightly more looming and sinister tone to the landscape. Equally brilliant but with a tension and suspense that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I’m sure that was the artist’s aim – and it was a job well done.
The electric state

The Electric State

The Electric State. The third book by Stålenhag, I didn’t think it possible for it to be weirder or my chilling than Things from the Flood – and yet here we are. Set in the US, a young woman and her robot companion are on a journey through the desert to the coast line, whilst around them the landscape and the remaining people become more disturbing. Drones take on a sinister role, engaging with humanity in inexplicable and disturbing ways. The majority of people left in the abandoned towns the girl and robot pass through wear neurocasters – a type of VR headset that resembles a plague doctor’s mask, and bodes just as ill for them. There are scarce few answers in this chilling narrative of an alternate 1990’s American landscape, but a lot of unpleasant questions, and thankfully this one feels slightly more fictional than Stålenhag’s previous two works – a fact for which I’m especially grateful as I’ve been kept up by insomnia and tinnitus, it’s almost 2am, and I don’t think a more realistic portrayal of this chilling story would have done anything to help me sleep when I eventually get back to bed tonight!

#TamaraReads #2020readingchallenge 104-106/100

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

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Posted December 28, 2020 by Tamara Reads in category Book chat, Graphic Novels, Serious Adulty Books

About the Author

NSWPRC Officer, Teacher Librarian, English teacher and social media advocate. I've been teaching in Western Sydney for my entire teaching career, and love my job more than I love Neil Gaiman. (That's a lot, in case you're wondering!) I stalk authors (but always politely), fangirl over books, and drink coffee. And one of my guilty prides about my children is that they all have favourite authors. All opinions are my own.

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