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Love Bytes by Josh Elder, Randy Fairman and Gigi

01/04/2010. Contributed by Neale Monks

Buy Love Bytes in the USA - or Buy Love Bytes in the UK

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pub: Platinum Studios. 40 plus page graphic novel softcover. Price: $2.99 (US), $ 3.70 (CAN.

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'Love Bytes' is a romantic comedy in the form of a digest-sized graphic novel. The central character is a handsome but not particularly successful young man called Sam Driscoll, working at a very junior level inside some sort of investment bank. Although he doesn't realise it at first, a supercomputer called DANTE has decided to use him as a lab rat of sorts.

DANTE is aware of the fable told by Glaucon in Plato's 'Republic' about two magic rings that confer invisibility. If one was given to a good man and the other to a evil man, the good man would soon become like the evil man because he could steal and kill with impunity. No-one has the strength of will to impose lawfulness and morality on themselves if the sanctions for lawbreaking and immorality are removed. In other words, everyone knows that being evil is more beneficial to the individual than being good, but we behave properly because we're afraid of the punishments, guilt or shame that would follow on is our improper acts were discovered.

So DANTE decides to explore this by giving Sam promotions, money and all the tips and tricks he needs to succeed with his new girl-friend and outmanoeuvre his scheming boss. But what Sam doesn't realise at first is that this is an experiment in two halves and what DANTE gives, DANTE can also take away -

In general terms 'Love Bytes' is a quick and pleasant read. The Manga-style cartooning is quite good and well reproduced in this relatively small format book. On the other hand, the storyline is straightforward almost to the point of predictability and the characterisation is, at best, elementary. The lead female character is especially flat and more a (young) man's fantasy of a perfect geeky girlfriend than anything more realistic. Likewise, Sam Driscoll slips from being 'good' to 'bad' awfully quickly, even allowing for Plato's hypothesis.

Overall, an entertaining rather than profound book that will appeal more to teenagers rather than adults.

Neale Monks

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