Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Review Friday: The Thriling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer  (from the front cover)
By Sydney Padua
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage with Interesting & Curious Anecdotes of Celebrated and Distinguished Characters Fully Illustrating a Variety of Instructive and Amusing Scenes; As Performed within and without the Remarkable Difference Engine: Embellished with Portraits and Scientifick Diagrams  (from the cover page)
By Sydney Padua

A graphic novel history book.  Who knew?  Author/Artist Sydney Padua provides a factual, pictorial history of the lives of Ada, Countess of Lovelace and Charles Babbage,the mathematicians who originated the ideas for a programmable computer in the early 1800s.  Babbage's machine, the Difference Engine, wasn't built until the year 2000 and Lovelace died young, but in an alternate "pocket universe" Padua imagines what it would have been like if the amazing Difference Engine had been built.  With amazingly detailed illustrations she depicts some of the adventures Babbage and Lovelace would have had as they used the Difference Engine and interacted with notable characters of the day including Queen Victoria, Dickens, Darwin, and more.  Padua's drawings are incredible and the history is fascinating and the steampunk/alternate universe is a blast.  Padua outdoes herself with her footnotes and endnotes, which, if read, will give the reader an amazing education in the history of computers, mathematics, and Victorian England as well as providing a few good laughs.

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