I saved this beautiful hardcover graphic novel I gifted to myself a while back, for my first read of 2016.
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.
What was there not to love about this graphic novel? The extent of Sydney Padua’s research is impressive, but perhaps not as impressive as the way she has translated her obvious love for the characters to the page to share with others.
Readers are quickly drawn into the story by Padua’s striking black and white illustrations featuring such expressive facial and body language — you want to cheer on the feisty Ada and the hapless eccentric Charles, boo the villains (those who held the professional opinion that the study of mathematics was too great a physical exertion for the minds of females!) and laugh along with the jokers.
While I’m sure all would enjoy this graphic novel, it is extra special for those who’ve undertaken studies in mathematics, engineering, economics or similar technical field. Padua decries her knowledge in the area but the dramatic and prescient humour imbued in her tall tales, along with that ever present in her personal commentary in the footnotes, makes me think she’s being more than a little humble.
The many great literary names woven into their adventures are a treat for book lovers also.
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage was such a great way to kick off my new year of reading!
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
Book Depository | Amazon | Kobobooks | Booktopia(Aus)
Check out which title other book lovers chose for their ‘First Book of the Year’ at Book Journey.
Genre: Action-Adventure, Graphical, History, Humour
Author Information: Sydney Padua is an animator and visual effects artist, usually employed in making giant monsters appear to be attacking people for the movies. She started drawing comics by accident with the webcomic 2D Goggles or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage and is still trying to figure out how to stop. Originally from the Canadian prairie, she now lives in London with her husband and far too many books.
Check out Sydney Padua’s website.