Webcomic: Never Mind the Gap
Never Mind the Gap
is a "small town romance in a Sci-Fi
future" webcomic hosted on ComicFury
. The story concerns the day to day lives of several people and robots living in a small town, in a future where robots are capable of sentient thought. The author is an American artist known only as view.
It's a slow paced but unique web comic, putting a different and very believable spin on the "what if robots lived amongst us as equals?" concept.
The author always made clear that the comic "has a beginning, middle and end." The story has now concluded, with the last set of pages uploaded on July 14th, 2012. If you are reading the comic for the first time, make sure to start from the beginning
There is occasional nudity and sexuality in the comic — it is a romance story, after all — but it is never gratuitous or tasteless. There's plenty
else to keep the reader's attention, like complex characters, excellent writing, and a carefully crafted setting.
Also see Space Pulp
, view's next comic.
Never Mind the Gap provides examples of:
- Attempted Rape: This punk over there tried to rape Marina, but was interrupted.
- Bittersweet Ending
- Blah Blah Blah: on this page, Miwa isn't listening what a teen robot is saying to her. He apparently notices.
- Cyber Cyclops: Gretel is a robot with one large circular eye, as per this trope — but she subverts it by being a Ridiculously Human Robot, a generally nice and pleasant person, and a little bit ditzy. It's likely that the only human being she's capable of intimidating is that boy who has a crush on her.
- Still, the author has pointed out that Gretel's eye does reflect a not-entirely-human nature. Her face isn't always great at producing human expressions (though it has a built-in display to help this), and the author commented at one point that, compared to most humans, Gretel suffers from a bit of "tunnel vision" when it comes to the way she thinks.
- Dug Too Deep: Parodied with the construction site, that was canceled because it unveiled dinosaur bones.
- Expressive Ears: On this page. Justified, as the ears belong to a Ridiculously Human Robot, and so may have been a conscious design choice to give the character a way to express emotions.
- Fatal Flaw: Miwa's would be perfectionism and/or pride, which means she isn't great at coping when things don't go her way. She has few other flaws, being a young, attractive, rich, generally popular genius.
- Fear of Thunder: Miwa. This inspired her to create a program for predicting thunder strikes.
- First Girl Wins: Mary with Jim
- Genki Girl: Gretel somewhat
- Godzilla Threshold: Loose bioweapons tend to cause this. Usually with "XVT Saturation bombing" as Godzilla.
- Impossibly Cool Clothes: Miwa's invisible halter neck top. Not see-through, mind you — it uses futuristic light-bending materials to actually make her upper torso appear completely transparent.
- I'm Melting: The effect of XVT on any biological lifeform.
- Insufferable Genius: Miwa is one of these, but she works hard on hiding it. In public, she's kind, friendly, and gregarious. In tense personal moments she'll say quite frankly that everyone in town (with the exception of her love interest, of course!) is an idiot compared to her. And, given that she can design entire ecosystems and predict lightning strikes to within a tenth of a second, she may well be right... Except when it comes to matters of the heart.
- Man Child: Both Miwa and Mary, though in different ways. Mary seems to lack confidence, and often chides herself for showing any trace of immaturity; Miwa seems overconfident if anything, and is dedicated to proving herself to be a super-competent adult to get the townspeople who watched her grow up to stop thinking of her as a kid.
- Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness: Somewhere around level 5 ("Speculative Science"), or possibly 4 ("One Big Lie"). The main speculative aspect of the setting is that Ridiculously Human Robots are commonplace thanks to the development of quantum computing (and in addition they have to be very human-like because AI researchers found no other way to give machines human-level intelligence). The author has clearly put a lot of thought into these aspects of the setting. Otherwise the science is quite hard. No other particularly speculative technology is shown, except for the ability of one character to make extremely accurate weather forecasts (but she needs a room-full of super-computers to do it, in a setting where quantum computing is common). Even though the robots are very human, they're quite realistic in other ways — for example, they must make trade-offs when it comes to the complexity of their mechanical joints (their bodies can be strong, or flexible, or fast — but not all three at once, unless they're willing to pay a fortune in maintenance costs).
- Naked Apron: Mary at the start of chapter 8.
- Nice Guy: Jim
- Nightmare Fuel: In-universe example: I want your skin! Jim is obviously a bit... disconcerted, though it turns out to be a perfectly innocent request.
- Scarier forms of Nightmare Fuel are hinted at, and eventually explored, in the back-story. The characters lived through some unpleasant times in the years leading up to the events of the comic, and these occasionally come back to haunt them...
- Not Listening to Me, Are You?: On this page.
Miwa: Did you just honk my tit?
Hanzel: I asked! You said "mmhm"!
- Razor Floss: A living one, forgotten bioweapon.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: Robots act pretty much exactly like humans in this setting, and even grow up in a very human-like way, going through infancy, different stages of childhood, and so on. The justification is that building very human-like robots is the only way to create an AI with any recognizable sapience or human-level intelligence at all, or at least the only one that AI researchers ever found. There are also various non-humanlike robots and "smart" devices in the setting that act more like realistic robots, but their mental capacities are very limited — just slightly smarter than what already exists in Real Life, with no capacity for any self-awareness.
- Robo Family
- Robotic Spouse
- Robosexual: Robots and people can marry in this universe
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Invoked unintentionally by Dr. Kirk on this page. He certainly doesn't want to be thought of as scary, but it seems he can't help it — this isn't likely to help the "creepy" reputation he's acquired amongst the town's robots...
- Shoot the Messenger: When Jim warned the banks about a critical security flaw in the payment system, they called him The Cracker (which sadly happens in real life) and had him arrested.
- Shown Their Work: Clearly a lot of research went into creating a believable universe.
- Sliding Scale of Robot Intelligence: Level 3, but fully emotional and social. Robots in this universe are exactly like human beings, capable of intelligent thought and emotions (even writing books and getting married to humans), save for the occasional need to have their circuits checked up on, and growing up for them involves having someone build them a new body.
- Spider Tank: The kids accidentally stumble across a buried spider-tank left over from the bio-weapon war in the comic's back-story. It's disabled and filled with mud, but Jim appears to feel nerdy glee at the prospect of restoring it.
- Tranquil Fury: Jim looks emotionless when he's really angry. Including when murderously so, like against Mary's corrupt doctor: his friends had to restrain him.
- Transforming Mecha: Gretel wants the new body she's getting for her birthday to be one of these (also she wants it to fly). It's not a realistic request in this relatively hard setting, where robot bodies need to worry about things like joint complexity and the economics of maintenance and construction... But then, Gretel is just a kid, and what kid wouldn't want to be a Transforming Mecha?
- Tsundere: Mary
- Uplifted Animal: The local octopi.
- We Can Rebuild Her: Miwa after being hit by lightning twice needed one replacement limb, a serious patching up on two more, and new eyes.
- What Does He See in Her?: Miwa regarding Jim and Mary.
Miwa: (alone) Why an idiot, Jim?