This entire storyline is based on my online dating experiences. Only, you know, with more science.
I think that’s a scanning tunneling microscope Dave is working on. Every once in a long while I’d bother to get some photo reference and draw real lab equipment.
Lovelace is of course named after Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, 19th-century mathematician and computer pioneer. Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage star in their own awesome webcomic now.
Helen is maybe a little insecure about this development. She really does hold Dave’s tech skills in very high regard, though.
“We have enemies! Insidious enemies!” is the best line here. I don’t know what enemies Helen thinks the lab has, but what we’ve seen so far would not exactly be described as “insidious.” Her mother, maybe.
I just wrote this one to fill out the week, although my friend Rob was inordinately excited that I made a “Love Boat” reference.
Dave’s online name, Bluemoose, comes from the children’s book by my ultimate hero, Daniel Pinkwater. He’s been using it since way back when he was a character in my college strip, The Ratio.
SPOILERS: I put a lot of references to stories about AIs into the backgrounds of the strips introducing Lovelace, as a not-especially-subtle clue to her identity. Here, Dave has the poster for Blade Runner on his wall. The books on top of the file cabinet are way too small for the titles to be legible here, but they’re something by Richard Kadrey, probably his Blade Runner-like cyberpunk novel Metrophage, and Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead.
I read tons of Orson Scott Card in high school, and then he got really, really bad and really, really homophobic, and it just wasn’t fun anymore. For my money, Jane, the AI with the inexplicable crush on smug, whiny Ender Wiggin, is the only worthwhile thing in any of the Ender books after the first one. Wait, no, I also kind of like the Chinese girl with the OCD. She and Jane should have fallen in gay love, ditched their respective stupid planets full of bickering twits, and gotten the hell out of Orson Scott Card stories before it was too late and Jane ended up with her consciousness downloaded into a magic mind-clone of Ender’s sister that came out of his subconscious or something. (SPOILERS: This happened.)
Incidentally, the Li’l Mell storyline “The Horror of Rukavina Caverns” is based simultaneously on “The Originist,” the story Orson Scott Card wrote for the Tor Books “Stories Inspired by Isaac Asimov” anthology, and “Feed the Baby of Love,” the story he wrote for the Tor “Stories Inspired by Ray Bradbury” anthology. One of these days I should probably do commentary for the Li’l Mell stories like I’m doing for Narbonic.
Oh, Dave. So close, and yet so far.
Remember the girl from Dave’s gaming group? Iris? End of the time-travel storyline? Never mind, we’ll get back to her next week.