Love Strange but True
The story is always the same, right? Boy meets girl, they fall in love, complications, they get it on… or something. I mean seriously, how do you talk about the age old story? College English Lit courses give us all manner of viewpoints to use in criticisms. The only problem with that is when the story is a universal theme any one of them can be interpreted in any manner of viewpoints and The stories have already been told in the viewpoints that make these interpretations moot.
And already, you are wondering what the heck I am blathering on about. See, a story snuck up on me, Alex and Ada (Image Comics 2014). Written by Jonathan Luna, this a forbidden love story. (Aren’t they all?). The basic premise is the cultural clash between the side considered normal and the side on the outskirts, in this case it is humans and their android companions.
Questions are raised of course, what will happen when we strive and reach the point with true sentience within our mechanical devices? And how far can we go and still consider them little more than machines? In the face of it, if we take it out of context and apply the situation to ones we currently face it becomes easier for us to look at the situation for what it is.
Of course, that is a bit of a sticky wicket. See, I just deleted a decent bit of side track from this piece because it took the focus from what we have in front of us. The same thing would happen if we follow the ideas of literary criticism and view these stories through various lenses. The concept of a love story is fairly universal no matter what the players are for the story. What changes is how we view those players through our own experiences in life and our world views.
We can take in Shakespeare; he did the love story in just about any imaginable way. And through that it is a universal look at what the love story entails. Which is why we can adapt and change many of the stories he gave us and still maintain the idea of what they were originally.
And with that I find it is better to look at the story for itself instead of through the eyes of how we want to compare it to a part of our world. Of course, I am still going to compare it to our world but in a more direct translation so we can take the story for what it is instead of what we wish it to be.
This is a three book arc that takes us from first giving Alex’s (the main character) android (Ada) sentience, through the trials and tribulations, and finally to the time when their love is accepted. The thing of it is, I can already feel your resistance in this. I would imagine you see this and think that it is a machine and how can a person love a machine in any way that we can understand as love. While these are important things to consider, I think we have somethings that are a bit more important to think about, raised within the narrative of this story.
The first is the idea of requited love. The concept of love is pretty straight forward. We can love so many things while at the same time realizing that this love will never come back to us. At the same time we can force our love in ways that it isn’t requited but the same time it is inappropriate. Of course, this takes us into a moral quandary that I am not really in a place that I want to get into the details of how we can each disagree. We all draw the line differently. This is where fiction comes into play for all of us. It gives us an opportunity to find where we draw the line. Sometimes it gives us an opportunity to expand our views on where the line should be placed.
I think that this is where the genius of how this story is presented comes into play. It was done in three separate graphic novels. In each of them there is a form of love that plays into the main story line. The first is the love of giving. In this there is no expectation of return. Alex felt that Ada could be something more than what is essentially a mindless automaton (the idea that our mind is linked to our autonomy and our soul). He does what is needed to unlock the person inside the body. What’s more, he does this with the knowledge that she could decide to leave him.
In the second story we encounter one of the lines. The question is posed, “is this love morally right?” And with that I don’t mean the love of man and machine. That is the overlying question. Instead we have the question of, “are both in a place where they are capable to make these decisions.” It seems a strange one to consider, but when people are rational (I mean are any of us really rational) and capable of making full decisions for their own lives, how do we decide such a thing? No matter how we look at it, we all make this mental check. Sometimes we find it was a mistake and other times we find it works out well. When it boils down to it this is the mind-fuck that is dating and relationships. We never really know and it can be potluck sometimes figuring it out.
The final book explores the love of sacrifice. In the story we find that both Alex and Ada have made huge sacrifices with no idea if it will work out in the end. Isn’t that what we all do? When we put ourselves out there, we run into obstacles and situations, but we still hope that it will come out for the best when all is said and done.
Ya know, I have no idea at this point if I said anything worth a damn for this story. I guess the better thing to do would be to read it yourself. There were times that it surprised me and times it hit me with the feels. In the end this is a great story that speaks to us in a way that we can all understand.
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