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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (2015)

by Sydney Padua

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9174722,754 (4.02)108
Meet Victorian London's most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage's plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines. But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime -- for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage's mechanical, steam-powered computer.… (more)
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English (46)  Italian (1)  All languages (47)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
As you can see from all the shelves I put it on, this book is a little bit of a lot of things. Very informative, well-researched, extremely creative, and humorously annotated. Warning: it's not very linear, which is good if you like that sort of thing (I do).

I was first drawn to this as I recalled Babbage from a mentioned from a LIS prof. Lady Lovelace is new to me (shame on me). It was immensely entertaining AND informative. ( )
  mimo | Dec 18, 2023 |
This might be the nerdiest thing I have ever been into.

I think scholars can learn a thing or two from Padua. She has a passion for the subject that just jumps from the page and it is very infectious, also, she is hilarious. If I have just one criticism, it is that the footnotes during the comic, and the enormous notes after each story plus the historical appendicx made each story a little unhinged. It was hard to know what to read and in which order. On the other hand, this will make me read the book again at least one more time which I already look forward to. ( )
1 vote bramboomen | Oct 18, 2023 |
That was so much fun. Brilliant. ( )
  beentsy | Aug 12, 2023 |
The book was definitely worth reading, especially the extensive footnotes and addenda. The combination of cartoon with fictional elements and history was a bit confusing. ( )
  drmom62 | Apr 21, 2023 |
Oh my goodness, read this!!
(Caveat: if you consider yourself to have an inquiring mind. If you have the teensiest interest in math or computers or history. Then read this!!)

I should start by saying I'm not into graphic novels. But this captured me completely. It's the story of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace, the 19th-century duo that almost invented the computer 100 years early. (It would have been steam-powered.) But unfortunately their plans never quite came to fruition. Babbage's "Difference Engine" was only constructed as a fragment, and Ada's brilliant mathematical mind led her to write some stellar notes for software programming and then she died young.
UNTIL NOW! The cartoonist, Sydney Padua, admits to being so infatuated with these people that she couldn't stop researching them and drawing them. This giant book is the result. Sealed off in a "bubble universe" where their Analytical Engine is a reality and anything is possible, Lovelace and Babbage can have endless new adventures, assisted by their loyal footman Minion. (I particularly like when Minion starts impersonating Microsoft's much-maligned Clippy.)

This book is equal parts comic strip and supplemental material. There are footnotes and endnotes enough to keep even the geekiest happy. It's delicious!!! I've passed it on to my dad and he's glued. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
How, when, and where this vision occurred it is unnecessary for me at present to state.
--Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher
"The wisest and the best of men, nay, the wisest and the best of their actions, may be rendered ridiculous by a person whose first object in life is a joke."
--Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Dedication
For my mother
First words
It was in a pub somewhere in London in the spring of 2009 that I undertook to draw a very short comic for the web, to illustrate the very brief life of Ada Lovelace.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Meet Victorian London's most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage's plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines. But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime -- for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage's mechanical, steam-powered computer.

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