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Simon Stålenhag's paintings from a childhood that never was and a future that could have been – collected in a two book volume.
Simon Stålenhag's paintings from a childhood that never was and a future that could have been – collected in a two book volume.
3,890 backers pledged $321,680 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$321,680

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"Incredible paintings of sci-fi suburbia will make you wish you were Swedish"
 – THE VERGE

Simon Stålenhag's retro-Scandinavian sci-fi images have been wildfire across the internet in the last few years. Now - not only is his first artbook coming in English for the first time - with your help, we will publish a brand new second book as well, continuing his amazing story. 

With this Kickstarter we are seeking funds for two lavishly produced art books with homegrown sci-fi from Sweden. These are:

  • Book One: Tales from The Loop
  • Book Two: Swedish Machines, Lonely Places

The first Tales from The Loop book was released on the Swedish Book Fair in September 2014 and was an instant success. The book contained the full first set of paintings from The Loop, the enormous particle accelerator hidden beneath the pastoral Swedish countryside, as well as a score of short stories chronicling life in the shadow of the machines. For the first time the deep and layered setting behind Simon's paintings were available to the public. And soon, thanks to your help, this book will be available to the international English speaking audience.

But with this Kickstarter we are seeking funds for publishing not only one, but two beautifully crafted art books schock full with Simon Stålenhag's paintings and stories. The first book is translated, layouted and ready to be sent to the printers. The second book, with the working title Swedish Machines, Lonely Places is in development, Simon has done roughly half of the new paintings and we are planning for a late 2016 release for this one.

Here are some reviews of the Swedish edition:

"My Life as a Dog mixed with Transformers... absolutely brilliant."  
– SVT (Swedish national television)

“One of my greatest fantasy and cultural experiences during the 2000’s, maybe ever. Geez, I am so damn awestruck!”
– BOKHORA, book blog

"A hit of that rare kind that seems perfectly natural after it is made."
 – Göteborgsposten, Swedish daily

"Wow, I'm in love! This book is every sci-fi nerd's wet dream."
 – Bokdjungeln, book blog

The remote glove – spread from book one.
The remote glove – spread from book one.
The Bona towers and Ossian – spread from book one.
The Bona towers and Ossian – spread from book one.

Simon's paintings and stories take place in an alternate version of Sweden in the 80s and 90s. The central location is the countryside of Mälaröarna, a string of islands and half islands just west of Stockholm. The background is this:

In the 1950s, the Swedish government orders the construction of a large particle accelerator. The state agency RIKSENERGI is tasked with developing this massive project. In 1969 the The Facility For Research In High Energy Physics is ready, located deep below the pastoral Mälaröarna-countryside. The local population soon calls it THE LOOP.

From it's inception to it's closure in 1994, The Loop was the largest accelerator in the world. The thousands of staff: scientists, engineers and maintenance workers, all serve Riksenergi during these years – and makes possible tremendous scientific advances. But the power of the Gravitron, the heart of the accelerator, proves difficult to control. The side effects of the project are dramatic. Strange sightings and bizarre rumours taints the scientific image of The Loop.

In the shadow of the weird machines filling the countryside, life continues as normal. The kids of Mälaröarna grew up living above the technological marvel of The Loop, but for them it was just a part of their very ordinary lives. Until strange beasts from another time showed up, that is.

The Gauss freighters – painting from Book One.
The Gauss freighters – painting from Book One.
Invasive species – painting from Book One.
Invasive species – painting from Book One.
The Fire Guards – painting from Book One.
The Fire Guards – painting from Book One.
The Vagabond – painting from Book Two.
The Vagabond – painting from Book Two.
Missing person, Karasuendo – painting from Book Two.
Missing person, Karasuendo – painting from Book Two.
Hacking The Loop – painting from Book Two.
Hacking The Loop – painting from Book Two.

You can see a lot more of Simon's paintings at his Tumbr or website. Go have a look!

Simon Stålenhag – Photo: Mariette Svensson
Simon Stålenhag – Photo: Mariette Svensson

Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag burst onto the art scene in 2013 when his first series of paintings were shared on the Internet. His original blend of naturalistic landscape paintings with science fiction elements and a very low key recollection of growing up in the eighties struck a chord. Not just in Sweden, but all over the world. The Verge, Wired, IO9, Scientific American and The Guardian have all praised his work. But until late 2014, the only place you could watch his art was in digital form on the Internet.

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Simon uploaded his first digital paintings onto the Internet in 2013, since then he has become something of a phenomena in the art and sci-fi communities. Simon shares his time between a small cabin at Mälaröarna (the setting that inspires his work) and an apartment in Stockholm.

Interviews and other stuff:

Imagining a dystopian Sweden full of robots and dinosaurs
 – Wired

Childhood of Tomorrow
 – Scientific American

La Maison WERTN

December 1994 – painting from Book Two.
December 1994 – painting from Book Two.

There is more than just the books! For this Kickstarter we have created some additional goodies that will not be found anywhere else. T-shirts, coffe mugs and posters are available as add ons using the pledge level chooser to the right. As we are using Backerkit for this Kickstarter, you can easily upgrade or manage your pledge even after the Kickstarter is finished.

T-SHIRT RIKSENERGI – $30

 COFFE MUG RIKSENERGI – $20

POSTER 1 "THE GAUSS FREIGHTERS" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 2 "REMOTE GLOVE" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 3 "MISSING PERSON" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 4 "DECEMBER, 1994" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 5 "INVASIVE SPECIES" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 6 "DECOY" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

POSTER 7 "KLÖVSJÖRELÄET" – 18" x 24: $30 / 24" x 36" $40

Please note that some cropping may occur to fit poster dimensions. Printed on premium semigloss (170gsm).

CANVAS WRAP "REMOTE GLOVE" (18" x 24": $120 / 24" x 36": $200)

Hand stretched plain-woven fabric around kiln dried fir wood frame. Please note that shipping outside of US of this item is expensive (appr $45).

CANVAS WRAP "INVASIVE SPECIES" (18" x 24": $120 / 24" x 36": $200)

Hand stretched plain-woven fabric around kiln dried fir wood frame. Please note that shipping outside of US of this item is expensive (appr $45).

IPHONE CASE (4/4s, 5/5s, 6/6+) – $40

iPhone 4/5/6+ Case, tough yet lightweight shell made of hard rubber with textured side grips and strong metal back.

 IPAD CASE (MODELS 2, 3 AND 4) – $50

iPad Case, snap-on shell made of hard plastic with textured rubber for grip and durability.

LAPTOP SKIN (Available in 12", 13", 14", 15", and 17") – $30

Printed/Laminated on a Repositionable 4mil Vinyl Adhesive.

 MOUSE PAD – $22

9.25" x 7.75" Mousepad made of low density black rubber composites.

To add any addons click on the Manage Your Pledge Button. If you have not pledged yet it will say Back this Project. Increase your pledge in the Pledge Amount box by the total of the add-ons you want to add. Do not change the tier you are currently pledged at, unless you also want to change it while you are on this screen. You will then need to add the total of your add-ons onto the amount of the tier you have just chosen.

The funds raised in the Kickstarter will be used towards printing and shipping of both books. The books will be printed at an art house printer in Europe and then shipped to our distribution centers in the US and UK.

The money will also be used for translation (of the second book), proofing, layout, editorial work. Also, all paintings will be color graded carefully under the supervision of the artist himself.

Due to the amazing success we have now added a bunch of stretch goals. You can find them in the table above and the details are as follows.

Stretch Goal 1 – PDFs Included UNLOCKED!

Every backer that has pledged on the 80s KID level or above will get the PDF of the book (or books) they have pledged for. At no extra cost!

Stretch Goal 2 – Sketchpad 1: Vehicles UNLOCKED!

We will expand Book One with extra sketches showing the amazing vehicles of Simon's universe.

Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.
Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.

 Stretch Goal 3 – Swedish Edition of Book One UNLOCKED!

This one is for our Swedish fans. We will print the Swedish edition of Book One, complete with new content unlocked as stretch goals. If unlocked, you can choose whether you want Book One in English or Swedish when the campaign is over. Note that this applies only to the Standard Edition.

Stretch Goal 4 – Short "Making of" Film 1 UNLOCKED!

Together with film maker Magnus Lekberg we will produce a short "making of" video showing the process and the background of one painting for the second book.

Stretch Goal 5 – Sketch Pad 2: Dinosaurs UNLOCKED!

We will expand book One with extra sketches showing the dinosaurs invading the countryside around The Loop.

Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.
Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.

 Stretch goal 6 – Swedish Edition of Book Two UNLOCKED!

A second stretch goal for our Swedish fans. We will print the Swedish edition of Book Two, complete with new content unlocked as stretch goals. If unlocked, you can choose whether you want Book Two in English or Swedish when the campaign is over. Note that this only applies to the Standard edition.

Stretch Goal 7 –Short "Making of" Film 2 UNLOCKED!

Together with film maker Magnus Lekberg we will produce a second short "making of" video showing the process and the background of one painting for the second book.

Stretch Goal 8 – Sketchpad 1: Machines UNLOCKED!

We will expand Book One with extra sketches showing the strange machines dotting the landscape around The Loop.

Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.
Example of sketch – final selection has not been made.

 Stretch Goal 9 – Short "Making of" Film 3 UNLOCKED!

Together with film maker Magnus Lekberg we will produce a third short "making of" video showing the process and the background of one painting for the second book.

Stretch goal 10 – Wallpapers UNLOCKED!

A set of high definition wallpapers, suitable for one or two screens. Downloadable and available for backers at all pledge levels.

Stretch goal 11 – Marker ribbon UNLOCKED!

We will add exclusive marker ribbons in both books so you can easily find your favourite spread! Available for all backers who are eligble for physical books.

Stretch goal 12  – Sketchpad: Robots UNLOCKED!

We will add a section of robot sketches to book 2.

Stretch goal 13 – 3 small prints included in book 1 UNLOCKED!

A pocket will be added to the inside of the back cover of book 1, containing three exclusive prints.

Stretch goal 14 – Map, book 1 UNLOCKED!

We will add a poster sized map to book 1.

Stretch goal 15 – 3 small prints included in book 2 UNLOCKED!

A pocket will be added to the inside of the back cover of book 2, containing three exclusive prints.

Stretch goal 16 – Map, book 2  UNLOCKED!

We will add a poster sized map to book 2.

Stretch goal 17 – Role playing game 

We will produce a full length, full colour pen and paper role playing game set in Simon Stålenhag's universe. To be released during 2016. Backers at Local Citizen and above will get the full RPG as a PDF download.

Stretch goal 18 – Release party in the US 

Simon will host a release party in the US this autumn. Date and location to be decided at a later time. All backers will be invited, but the number of guests might be limited depending on the venue. A guest list where you can sign up will be opened at a later date.

Free League Publishing is the international arm of Swedish game and book publisher Fria Ligan AB. Since 2011 we have produced a range of pen and paper RPG's (of which Mutant: Year Zero has been published to an international audience), and have won several awards in the process including RPG of the Year for three consecutive years. In late 2014 we published acclaimed artist Simon Stålenhags book Ur varselklotet to rave reviews in Sweden. Join us on Facebook at facebook.com/frialigan!

Cabinet Entertainment

In this project we are collaborating with Los Angeles based Cabinet Entertainment LLC,  a production company based in Los Angeles and headed by Fredrik Malmberg. Cabinet will provide know-how and expertise for the international market.

FAQ

What about shipping? 

Shipping will be charged through Backerkit. Please be advised that if you order both books, we will charge you for shipping twice as the later book will be shipped in 2016. Shipping is always tricky as rates differ and change over time but we estimate that it will cost 10 USD within the US and the UK, and 15 USD to the rest of the world.

But will not shipping be super expensive as you are located in Sweden?

No! We are working with Shipwire for this Kickstarter and will have fulfilment centers in the US and UK. That means that we offer domestic shipping rates within these countries, and shipping to other countries will be from the closest fulfilment center.

Hey! I just bought the Swedish version and paid a lot for shipping across the world... 

We hear you. Let us know and we will pay for shipping of book one, regardless of which edition you choose.

What is the format of the books? 

The books will have a 280 x 250 mm landscape format.

What is the page count?

128 pages for Book One. It is too early to say what the exact page count will be for Book Two but it will be in the same ball park.

What kind of quality can I expect the books to have? 

Both books will be printed at our printer of choice who are specialized in premium grade art books. This is the same printer that most major publishing houses in Sweden use for top quality art books. Both editions of the books will have hardcovers, clothed spines and be printed on sturdy 170 g semi-matte, fully coated Arctic Volume White paper.

Will the books be available in book stores?

We will most likely team up with an international distributor so that the books will find their way to retail stores in US and UK. However, that is beyond the scope of this Kickstarter. The Limited edition will not be sold through retail stores.

Risks and challenges

When it comes to any Kickstarter project shipping and logistics is a challenge. As we are based in Sweden we have teamed up with Shipwire so that we can use their fulfilment centers in the US and UK.

Another risk is misprints of some sort. To avoid this we will work closely with the printer so that the finished book will be of top quality.

The first book is translated, layouted and ready to go. However, the second book is still in production, so naturally we could potentially face a delay there. However, we have set a deadline were we are comfortable that we should be able to deliver without any problems.

We have previously delivered on two successful crowdfunding campaigns using Indiegogo.

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FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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    RIKSENERGI WORKER
    Both books in standard edition. Two book volumes, hard cover, premium grade art paper.

    The first delivered in September 2015, the second in 2016.

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    LOOP TECHINICAN #2
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    ACCELERATOR SPECIALIST #1
    Book One - Signed Limited edition. Special cover, black cloth spine with gold lettering, hard cover, premium grade art paper. Signed by the author with unique sketch on the cover inside.

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    ACCELERATOR SPECIALIST #2
    Book Two - Signed Limited edition. Special cover, black cloth spine with gold lettering, hard cover, premium grade art paper. Signed by the author with unique sketch on the cover inside.

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    LOOP MANAGER
    Double the fun! Both books in Limited edition. Special cover, black cloth spines, gold lettering on front and cloth, hard cover, premium grade art paper.

    The first book will be delivered in September 2015, the second in 2016.

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    GRAVITRON ENGINEER
    The best of all possible worlds. Both books in signed edition and Limited edition. Special covers, black cloth spines, gold lettering on front and cloth, hard cover, premium grade art paper.

    Signed by the author with unique sketch on the cover inside of both books.

    The first book will be delivered in September 2015, the second in 2016.

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    TRANSDIMENSIONAL VISITOR
    Spend a day Sweden with the artist and author Simon Stålenhag.You will get the full tour of beautiful Mälaröarna by Simon himself, including all the places that have inspired his paintings. Get the full story behind his world and the creative process.

    Local transport and a full day's worth of guided field tours are included. Lunch and dinner at a nice country inn with Simon and the publishers and all the time in the world to pick Simon's brain. To take place in September 2015.

    Also, both books in signed and Limited edition as per the GRAVITRON ENGINEER level.

    Travel to Stockholm and living accommodation are not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)