The Steve Machine
Shortlisted for a 2009 Lambda Award
When Auden learns he’s HIV-positive, he decides to head for Toronto, leaving behind Sudbury and his old personality. Determined to construct a whole new Auden, he gets a new job, new clothes, new habits, new friends, new ways of speaking. And all of these things seem to be leading him inevitably towards Steve, Steve Reinke.
Steve – and here’s where it gets confusing – is, in real life as well as in The Steve Machine, a renowned video artist (The Hundred Videos), someone who makes television for one person at a time, small-screen excursions that cure migraines and allow viewers to see five seconds into the future.
There’s something familiar about Steve, thinks Auden. His voice. His dulcet, summery voice. It’s the voice inside Auden’s head, the one that he hears when he reads books. And then Steve tells Auden that together they will build a machine in the form of a book – a machine that will replace this inner voice with something more soothing and satisfying, a machine that will allow the reader to construct a new personality, a machine to make Auden healthy again. The Steve Machine is at once a plague narrative, a love story, a reflection on media technology, and a joy to read.
As an added bonus, this volume has been written both as a regular hold-in-your-hand novel with a beginning, middle, and end (though not necessarily in that order), and as a machine. The Steve Machine.
‘I love this book, though I prefer the original title, Steve Reinke, The Greatest Video Artist in the World.’ – The real-life Steve Reinke