Reviewed: 2012-04-09 - (Review Updated: 2012-04-30)
Here's a story that's just plain fun by an author who clearly has a passion for what he writes about.
To open, the description downplays the story's "intelligent computer". Fact is, Alpha is my favorite character in the whole thing (though it's close to a tie with one of the females). AP's portrayal of an artificial intelligence (AI) as a friendly, helpful entity prone to hilarious understatements it a great change from the too-often depicted killer AIs, and I would probably read an entire story which featured nothing but the main character and Alpha hanging out in the basement talking about items of little importance.
The fictional characters brought to life are well chosen; they fit into the plot and the world flawlessly, and if you're a fan of any of them (as I happen to be), you'll find that they're portrayed lovingly and with almost disturbing accuracy. The characters react exactly how you would imagine to events, and this goes all the way into the sex scenes.
There are only two complaints I have about this story:
1) There are a number of chapters where the character shifts viewpoint and tense. This is, initially, a bit jarring, since we get used to the main character and his viewpoint. To complicate this, there are times during this where verb tenses are improperly used. Once you get past this, however, the scenes do work, and they certainly add some great variety and characterization to the story.
2) There's almost no conflict until the later chapters. The main character gets to tinker around and do whatever he wants, unopposed, for the majority of the story. Despite his ever-growing harem, and constant awesomeness from Alpha, this does get a bit tedious. There's only so many times I can read about having sex with a superheroine before I start wishing there was a supervillain to provide some sort of challenge to the main character or his incredibly intelligent companion.
"Life With Alpha" is easily one of my top 10, maybe even top 5 favorite stories on SOL even though it isn't finished yet. The characters, including the fictional ones, are effectively conveyed, "complex" science fiction topics (and potential readers should note that this is obviously not hard science fiction) are explained in ways that are interesting, yet unobtrusive, and there's robots. Really, really, hilarious robots.