- Series: Pantheon Graphic Novels
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Pantheon; First Edition edition (April 21, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307908275
- ISBN-13: 978-0307908278
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,833 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer (Pantheon Graphic Novels) Hardcover – April 21, 2015
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James Gleick, author of The Information
“Don’t be fooled by the word ‘comic.’ Sydney Padua tells a story that is tender, passionate, and true.”
Charles Petzold, author of Code and The Annotated Turing
"So there. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is learned, clever, funny, and above all very silly in the best sense of the word."
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“The immensity of Padua’s research and the wit and allusions of her prose are striking, saying as much about what drove her to explore the possibilities of her protagonists’ relationship as about the protagonists themselves. Permeated by delightful illustrations, obsessive foot- and endnotes, and a spirit of genuine inventiveness, it’s an early candidate for the year’s best.”
Martha Cornog, Library Journal
“Padua’s extravaganza is very much for the whimsical intelligentsia and will speak to those interested in computers or math who will delight in the abundant background materials.”
“Sydney Padua’s impeccably researched, yet playfully imagined graphic biography is a treat for history buffs and graphic novel lovers alike…With fantastically detailed art, footnotes and diagrams…, this is a whimsical graphic account like no other.”
Margaret Quamme, The Columbus Dispatch
“Reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is like auditing a dozen high-level, inventively taught college classes simultaneously: more than a little overwhelming yet fascinating.”
Etelka Lehoczky, NPR.org
“Sydney Padua’s new book is definitely ‘Yowza!’ material.”
“An outlandish, enlightening tale.”
Nancy Szokan, Washington Post
“Informative and entertaining . . . . It’s a book that makes you a lot smarter as it makes you laugh.”
“Novelist Sydney Padua has found quite a pair: the girl with the unstoppable brain; the male inventor 24 years her senior, part-poet, part-genius; this Victorian odd couple, dedicated to crime foiling and cleverness, is easily worthy of Holmes and Watson with a title to match.”
Maria Popova, BrainPickings.org
“Immensely delightful and illuminating …a masterwork of combinatorial genius and a poetic analog to its subject matter.”
About the Author
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 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. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is her first book.
Top Customer Reviews
Well, as a woman in software engineering, I'm painfully aware of what a controversial figure Ada Lovelace is. She's been hailed as the inventor of computer programming -- which has led to some incredibly virulent backlash, accusing her of having been some sort of hack who merely copied down other people's ideas without even really understanding them herself.
Now, let's not kid ourselves. If a man had written the article Lovelace wrote, There's no way we'd see the same sorts of ferocious efforts to prove him incompetent. OTOH, if it had been a man, we hardly would have heard about him at all. He'd probably be accepted by some as the "father of computer programming"... in kind of a footnotey, nobody-cares kinda way. But in my line of work, it's dangerous to talk about sexism unless you want a ton of it to rain down on your head, so I wasn't terribly interested in miring myself in this controversy. Thus a book that looked like it was probably a sunny-and-dry retelling of team Lovelace's side of the story didn't jump out at me as something that would be appealing.
Boy was I wrong!!
Surprisingly, the author used the oldest trick in the book for dealing with an acrimonious controversy: present the evidence. The primary sources. And then even-handedly discuss the controversy in light of the evidence.
Now, if that sounds more boring to you than "a sunny-and-dry retelling of team Lovelace's side of the story," here's the genius of it -- it's not boring at all -- it's wildly fun and entertaining!! Quite sincerely, I think the author of this book has invented a new genre, and a brilliant one at that.Read more ›
Charles Babbage is Victorian London's unrecognized inventor of what would become the modern day computer with his plans for a monstrous mechanical calculating machine. Ada Lovelace is the Countess of Lovelace and daughter of the mad and brilliant poet, Lord Byron. Ada Lovelace translates a description of Babbage's calculating machine with annotations that were three times longer than the original plans. These footnotes from Lovelace actually contain the first known general computing theory, a century before the first actual computer was built! Unfortunately Lovelace passed away before her paper was ever published and Babbage never built his brilliant machine.
Sydney Padua creates an alternate reality where Lovelace and Babbage create their awesome calculating machine. A behemoth that grows and grows in steam powered engines, and gears, and analytics, and doo dads and just freakin' awesome stuff. They will open up and explore the wild and untamed dimensions of mathematics! They will create economic models to stave off depressions! The will battle the demons of spelling errors! And for the Queen herself, create dot matrix kittens!
Tongue in cheek perhaps, totally geeky surely, but fun all the same. Original. Thought provoking. Full of "what if" and untapped potential.Read more ›
Central to the book is a lighthearted comic starring historical figures. Charles Babbage designed the first computer and Ada Lovelace was its programmer. In reality, the computer never got built, but in the comic, it did. The driven Lovelace and impulsive Babbage find new ways to use it in 1800's London and struggle to keep it running amid mice, cats, and untrained users. I thought the author and artist did an amazing job of creating and drawing these characters and their world. The plots were often thin, but I got a sense the plots were only a pretext for ...
Each page has multiple footnotes, each chapter then has pages of endnotes, and the book has two appendices and an epilogue! Each delves deeper into the historical facts surrounding Lovelace and Babbage. You learn about each's background and how they both ended up working on the Analytical Engine. You find out about their struggles, Lovelace with her family and Babbage with getting funding for his projects. You also learn more about the characters who show up --- I especially loved learning about Brunel! Also tucked in there is some mathematics (Boole) and computer science (flow charts). Appendix #2 is a description of the Analytical Engine itself, which was fascinating for a computer geek like me.
This is the author's first book and I see it as experimental. I loved the comic part and I loved the history part, but I don't think she has got the right format down yet. It doesn't flow. I'm not sure if it should have no endnotes, and let the comic run freely through the book, or no footnotes, so that I read the comic smoothly like any other comic. In any case, I would love to read more of her work. I hope she find an editor that can direct her curiosity and whimsy into a thought-out structure.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I bought this book as a present for friend who reads a lot and is pretty picky. He loves it.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
I first came across this charming graphic adventure on the web and enjoyed it greatly myself. This holiday, I decided to purchase the book for my nearly 11-year-old son, who is... Read morePublished 14 days ago by Dorothy N. Gray
This book is a real joy. It both brings Babbage and Lovelace to life and illuminates the more adventurous aspects of the Victorian age. Read morePublished 27 days ago by Bunkie
Well written, researched, illustrated. Dense and informative.Published 1 month ago by Elisabeth Kerns
Loved everything about this. Educational, imaginative, funny, expertly drawn, excruciatingly researched... I didn't want it to end!Published 2 months ago by Ashley S.
I’d heard of this book before, and probably of the webcomic it derives from, but for incomprehensible reasons I hadn’t read either until recently when a Twitterite posted news of a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by rsholmes
I kept waiting to review this one, though I finished it awhile back. For some reason, I thought it might "grow on me" and change how I felt overall. Read morePublished 2 months ago by C. W. Smith
A wonderful romp through an alternate reality where Babb age did finish the Analytical Engine, with appendices detailing parts of its design. Loved it.Published 2 months ago by Mario C
Very funny and great artwork. The books is high quality. The characters and story are well written.Published 2 months ago by David Bailey