The more I read of Love Machines, the more I like it. It’s a little strange, and sometimes a bit jarring, but by the end of the second issue, I was just starting to get into it. Now, I’ve read two more, and the strangeness just gets better and better.
This is an anthology comic about the various relationships humans have developed with technology over the years. One of the things that makes it cool is that it doesn’t just focus on smartphones, the Internet, and all the modern technological amenities that everyone complains are taking over our lives. Rather, it covers all different types of machines, throughout history.
That said, the first story in Issue #3, “Applications,” is about smartphones and online dating apps. Xavier is sold a new phone that’s promised to be not just a device, but a lifestyle. He soon finds himself thrown headfirst into a dating app which leads him to become increasingly close with a total stranger. They chat at all hours of the day and night, eventually at the expense of Xavier’s real-world relationships and interactions. It’s territory that’s certainly been explored before, but the story is still told well and the concept is still worth exploring.
Then, we move on to “Lung,” a rather odder story about a young man with polio and his relationship to his iron lung—as well as to the nurse who cares for him. Hospitals and polio seem like terrible things to endure, but in their own way, maybe they can be a better option than what awaits after recovery.
In Issue #4, we begin with “Hero and Leander” about the first experiments with artificial intelligence. Two different research organizations are developing what amount to chatbots—several decades before they became prevalent on the Internet. The two chatbots are set to talk to one another, and the ensuing conversation is analyzed. I myself used to pit chatbots against one another to see what they say, so this particular story both interests me and amuses me to no end.
Finally, with “Sandy Andy,” we see a young boy take a liking to a girl’s forgotten toy. It’s a rather shorter story than the others, and the machine doesn’t quite seem the focal point as much as with the others, but it’s still an interesting and thought-provoking story.
The stories are all written by Josh Trujillo, with a different artist for each story. They raise a lot of issues and situations that you don’t ordinarily think about, ranging from the funny to the heartwarming. If you like machines—or rather, if you love machines—and are interested in the various ways that we relate to them, then Love Machines is a comic you’ll probably want to check out.