Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

The Thrilling Adventures of  Lovelace and Babbage: the (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer, by Sydney Padua

I should have written this post for Ada Lovelace Day last week, but I've been having some trouble with my arms and repetitive stress. So I've been putting off writing any posts. I'm now experimenting with voice recognition on my tablet, and I'm pretty impressed by how well it works. I could type these posts - I'm not that badly off - but I need to save my typing for work. Of course, the voice recognition doesn't work anywhere near perfectly, but I can get a good amount of material down and then go back and edit it by hand.

The author of this graphic novel says that she wrote one comic for fun and then responded to popular demand by producing the entire work. It is a whole lot of fun to read. Padua posits that Ada Lovelace did not die at a young age, but survived, built the Difference Engine with Babbage, and then had some wild adventures with it. The book claims that they all live in a tiny pocket universe. This allows the author to play with time and history, bringing people like George Eliot in to the comic. Everybody in Victorian England seems to have known everybody else anyway; it's exactly how like today there are only about 10 British actors and they are all in everything. So you can find letters where Dickens tells a funny anecdote about Babbage, and someone else mentions lady Lovelace.

There are several adventures collected into the graphic novel, such as when Queen Victoria visits, the time when George Eliot's latest masterpiece was ripped to shreds, and my favorite episode: the day that Mr. Boole came to tea--librarians will rejoice. The author puts in lots and lots of fun footnotes explaining the history, who knew Babbage and Lovelace (everybody), and bits and bobs about other memorable Victorian characters. I also love how Wellington keeps showing up, always with his horse, even though they are indoors. It's a very funny graphic novel, and anyone with nerdly predilections would love it.  Thanks to my mom for making me read it!








3 comments:

Nancy Leek said...

You're welcome! And I see you returned the book to the library. That was one of the "funnest" books I've ver read.

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I have many nerdy predilections and I cannot WAIT to read this book.

Kristen M. said...

I read this during readathon and it was so fun for, essentially, being a non-fiction book! I feel like it gave me so much knowledge in the most fun way possible.