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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story… (2015)
by Sydney Padua
Books Read in 2016 (473)
Top Five Books of 2016 (159)
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Do you fancy computer history, steampunk, and fine English literature? If you said yes to any of these than this comic book is for you. Keep in mind that even though this is a comic book this book has a ton of footnotes and reading material. In a way this is more of a non-fiction book with some comic book humor. This isn't your typical comic book. In someways this reminds me of a friendlier From Hell.
I'm not really into computers, how they work, or the history for that matter. For me that can really boring. While this comic was mostly about that, what interested me more was Ada Lovelace's life and her relationship with her famed father Lord Byron. But wait, there's more! As I said before there is a lot of facts about English authors and literature for the 1800's. George Eliot makes a big appearance which I got super nerdy with excitement. Nice to see one of my favorite authors in a comic book. Maybe more people will read her books now.
There are other author references too. At the end, there is a whole parody/homage to Lewis Carroll and his Wonderland. Yes Wonderland is an overused concept, but this comic focused on the mathematical part behind the story that others tend to forget Carroll was a mathematician. There is also an apprentice of Dickens, Collins, Gaskell, and a small cameo of Austen. It might help to do some Victorian reading before reading this comic book, while she gives you a good idea who they are, parts she don't really tell you much about the books they wrote that she quotes.
If you like comic books, you might like this. Like I said before this really isn't a comic book. It uses the term lightly. Very little of the book is actually comics. It's more of a non-fiction book. The drawing my look cute, but this isn't kid friendly either. There were parts (especially the appendix pages) that were way over my head. I'm glad the author clearly took her time doing research. Some of the non-fiction comic books I question were they get there idea if they don't source enough.
I'm interested to she if Padua makes anymore comic books. I like her art style, but I like how this was a different kind of comic book collection for me. I may have learned more about computers than I would have ever wanted, but it was worth it, and I have more respect for Lovelace and Babbage.
Excellent introduction to the difference engine, Babbage and Ada Lovelace and a really enjoyable read. The author includes historical notes and info on finding more, google books and the internet archive.
Really liked it, just the sort of thing for me but not quite sure for how many others?
Things you might need to know or like to enjoy this:
Computer Programming,, i've done some.
Victorian History, check for me, i don't think this is the best introduction to victorian history some prior knowledge would be useful.
Engineering, no for me, the actual descriptions of Babbages machine were a bit hard for me to follow at times.
Comics, check for me,
Biography, check for me, sort of, i'm not a hardcore biography person and this was a perfect amount of fact. It also preferred to rely on tidbits from letters, magazines etc, Its definitely entertainment first, information second which i much prefer to a straight forward dry biography, however informative.
Mathematics, apparently a no for me, despite liking math in general some of the stuff in this went over my head.
The author also used Archive.org and googlebook scans to find some of her info which made me like this that little bit more as i love raiding those places for obscure books.
Some notes on the physical object: My edition stinks, like literally, smells like paint or turpentine, of course this wears off after a while but not the best first impression. Not sure if its the ink or paper but i was actually holding it at arms length when i started reading it.
Secondly the book is divided into comic, then footnotes below them and then additional endnotes after each chapter.
Except its really annoying if you want to refer to an endnote as you can't easily find them, especially since there is no uniform length to any of the chapters. They should have blackened the corners of the endnote pages, so they could be easily seen when flicking through the pages... hold on.. one black marker and some time later ... ok done, now MY book has black corners on all the endnote pages, which can be found super easy :D .
Note: Be careful with this, make sure to have a piece of cardboard behind the page, the black marker soaks though the paper REALLY easily.
So awesomely wonderful that words fail me. Read it yourself.
References to this work on external resources.
Wikipedia in English (2)
THE THRILLING ADVENTURES OF LOVELACE AND BABBAGE . . . in which Sydney Padua transforms one of the most compelling scientific collaborations into a hilarious series of adventures. 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, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible. (With black-and-white illustrations throughout.)
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Melvil Decimal System (DDC)741.5 — The arts Graphic arts and decorative arts Drawing & drawings Cartoons, Caricatures, Comics
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(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. ( )