Alethia is a web comic by Kristina Stipetic, that follows the story of a robot named Jun, who fell from space. We discover the world of Alethia with Jun, who lost her memories from the fall. She explores the many factories that populate this world, and the societies built into them. In her travels, she strives to correct the inefficiencies that she finds in each factory. Jun is the absolute best, and here’s why:
She values efficiency. We love an efficient gal.
She is relatable.
She views things logically.
I like a lot of things about Alethia, the art is gorgeous, the characters are unique, there’s lesbian robots…but what I like most about it is that it’s written in a way that makes you think. The analysis of labor in Alethia hits home. This webcomic features an all-female cast, which I love in any type of media, but in this case it also feels intentional. Each factory’s form of labor reflects on what is expected of women, from reproductive labor to emotional labor to partnership. I appreciate Jun’s objective view of these factories, and her attempts to correct the injustices that she views as inefficiency. Injustice is, after all, highly inefficient–despite being built into the fabric of our society.
This system is exploitative? Simply destroy the system!
It would be easy to say “Read Alethia, there’s robot lesbians!” and that is fantastic and a decent enough reason to read. But these characters are memorable and unique and lesbianism feels like more of an added bonus than a focal point. The robots Jun encounters along her travels don’t quite fit into the system of their factories. They are flaws in a flawed system. They can be funny, relatable, and sometimes heartbreaking. One of my personal favorites is Simone, who has been outcast by her factory and revels in being reviled.
Is it weird if I say ‘kinda hot’?
I particularly enjoyed the chapter featuring the Test Factory, where robots struggle with a logic test that accepts only wrong answers. Jun, being logical and efficient, questions the status quo in a straightforward way that feels refreshing. I relate to the struggle between following my gut instinct and doing what is considered widely acceptable. Jun, on the other hand, does not. I admire her for that.
Why are you booing her? She’s right!
Each chapter is a self contained story, all linked together by Jun and her journey. I recommend just sitting down with a nice cup of something hot and reading them all in one go. Maybe a couple of times over. I was thrilled to find out that Alethia is ongoing and I find myself coming back to it every few months, due partially to the fact that I always forget how to spell the name. Nevertheless, I cannot recommend this webcomic enough. If you enjoy thoughtful labor analysis, robots, lesbians, or lesbian robots, check it out!