Review: Love Machine by Electra Shepherd (Ellora’s Cave Publishing)

Published August 1, 2012 by ellenheights

One thing that caught my eye about this book first-off was the awesome cover! It’s got the whole sexy male thing going on, but the transparent blue combined with a mechanical interior was really very unique to the covers I’m used to seeing. It oozed originality, and that’s very important for me when it comes to erotica. I don’t want to read mechanical sex, but sex with a mechanical man? YES!

So this little novella was a really fun read, but I have to say it tailed off a little towards the end. I wasn’t disappointed, though, just…Eager for more of it, I guess. Which is a good thing!

Here’s the blurb from its page on Ellora’s Cave:

Good-time girl Cally Morgenstern has never paid much attention to the robots her father built. That is, until one night when her vibrator runs out of batteries. And hey, if you’ve got a six-foot hunky robot offering to relieve your sexual frustration, you’re not going to say no, right? Even if he is sort of…well, definitely…blue.

Cally quickly realizes Blue isn’t the average robot. He’s rapidly acquiring a personality, for one thing. And an avid interest in human sexuality, particularly when it comes to Cally. She’s eager to teach Blue all she knows about sexual pleasure, even if they have to build him a few necessary parts in the process. And even if Blue’s explorations of human feelings touch her own, very human, heart. (Love Machine, Elloras Cave 2012)

Exciting from start to finish, Shepherd does a great job of immersing the reader into Cally’s glamorous, if shallow lifestyle in her (late) inventor father’s mansion. She teams science fiction well with contemporary, entwining elements of the curious with the…Uh…Carnal?

As somebody who loved The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett, involving a sentient sexbot, and as a sci fi fan anyway (Daniel Keyes, Kurt Vonnegut etc) I was engrossed immediately by this very effective teaming of two genres. I’m a  massive fan of The Sims, so I’m definitely up for anything involving virtual reality, robots or the more physical forms of escapism when it comes to sci-fi. Sure enough, this novella had it all.

One slight downside was perhaps the happily-ever-after, because science fiction, to me, is always about the awareness that technology cannot always solve human issues. A robot certainly cannot replace love, even if Blue develops human emotions (a little far-fetched, but I wasn’t bothered by that). A big part of me wanted Cally to realize that she can’t treat men as objects, and yet here she gets her cake and eats it. There wasn’t really a moral lesson learned, and I did get the impression that technology won Cally over despite the fact that she never gave decent men a chance.

But hey, this isn’t a traditional sci-fi – this is an erotic novel.

Alas, Cally isn’t one for opening up to men from the start, and there is some redemption in the fact that she is the one running after Blue come the final chapter. I think it’s safe to say she swallowed her pride when she confessed her love, publicly, for a machine. 😉

All in all, this was an engrossing, fun and imaginative read – recommended!


2 comments on “Review: Love Machine by Electra Shepherd (Ellora’s Cave Publishing)

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