S&S snaps up speculative novel from Sweden's Stålenhag

S&S snaps up speculative novel from Sweden's Stålenhag

Simon & Schuster UK will publish a “lavishly illustrated” speculative novel by cult Swedish author Simon Stålenhag.

Set in a post-apocalyptic 1997, The Electric State is the story of Michelle who, accompanied by her toy robot Skip, sets out across the western United States in a stolen car to find her missing brother. Told in “achingly melancholy, spare prose” and featuring almost 100 full-colour illustrations, Stålenhag's The Electric State "is a novel like no other", according to an S&S UK spokesperson.

S&S UK editorial director Anne Perry acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Julia Angelin at the Salomonsson Agency. It will publish in autumn of 2018.

Rights have already sold in 15 territories and film rights were snapped up by the Russo Brothers’ production company with Andy Muschietti ("Mama", "It") attached to direct, according to Deadline.

Stålenhag is also a concept designer and artist behind books Tales from the Loop and Things from the Flood (both published by Design Studio Press). The way in which his images and stories convey illusive sci-fi phenomena in mundane, hyper-realistic Scandinavian and American landscapes have made Stålenhag one of the most sought-after visual storytellers in the world according to a spokesperson for S&S UK. 

Perry said: “From the moment I began reading The Electric State, I knew I was experiencing something incredibly special. Through a spectacular combination of prose and art, Simon tells a deeply affecting story about love, family and the search for connection in an isolating world. The Electric State is set in a 1997 that never was, but which will feel all too familiar to readers today.”

The Electric State totally blew my mind when I first read it,” Angelin said. “Simon Stålenhag has created something truly unique that combines the futuristic with the nostalgic at the same time it is one of the most accurate depictions of the world we live in today."

She added: "I could not be happier seeing The Electric State published by Simon & Schuster and to see it reach a wider audience in the English speaking world.”