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

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

by Sydney Padua


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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.) 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307908278
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/21/2015
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 173,033
Product dimensions: 7.10(w) x 10.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Lexile: 1130L (what's this?)

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.

Table of Contents

Ada Lovelace: The Secret Origin! 11

The Pocket Universe 40

The Person from Porlock 45

Lovelace & Babbage vs. the Client! 50

Primary Sources 91

Lovelace and Babbage vs. the Economic Model! 95

Luddites! 140

User Experience! 147

Mr. Boole Comes to Tea 208

Imaginary Quantities 215

Appendix I Some Amusing Primary Documents 259

Appendix II The Analytical Engine 285

Epilogue 311

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Dr_EAN More than 1 year ago
This graphic novel cleverly parallels actual historical works of Lady Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. It gives an account of the real history of the difference and the analytical engines. Sadly, neither were fully realized. But wait! What if they were? Enter a pocket universe in alternate history and see the power of steam and the world's first programmable computer. Full of foot notes just like Ada's real life publication documenting the analytical engine. Lots of fun satire and interesting true life facts. I was quite sad to have finished reading it and have no more to follow.... but I definitely will enjoy rereading it on future occasions.
constructivedisorder More than 1 year ago
The author has done a wonderful job of bringing Lovelace and Babbage back to life. This is one of those books that produces what I can only describe as mental orgasms - spasms of neuronal delight triggered by page after page of exceptional cleverness. Without question, this is one of the top ten graphic novels ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an incredibly fun and informative book although its subject matter and humor aren't for everyone. I originally took it out from the library with the thought that I'd wait to buy a paperback version if I really enjoyed it. As soon as I finished it I bought the hardcover. -Math in the “pocket universe” is treated much like science is in many modern day fictional works (basically magic that keeps the plot going). However the plots aren't created out of thin air by Sydney Padua but reference real historical events and mathematical concepts. The math rarely includes formulas and is presented in bite size chunks that I found much easier to get through than I would've with a textbook. In addition, Padua discusses both what math looked like during this time period and how it is now. This isn't a comprehensive history by any means but it is fascinating. -The art style is lovely and definitely not the overwrought aesthetic that usually defines steampunk. -The humor is lighthearted and very, very meta. If you don't like seeing the fourth wall torn down you'll probably give up on finishing it pretty early. That being said, it didn't feel gimick-y to me and the fact that all the characters are “stuffy Victorians” made it extra fun. There are however two cringeworthy, early internet humor jokes that could've been improved for the 2015 audience. -The main characters are very likeable. The fact that almost everything they do is cited with primary documents makes me appreciative of the vast undertaking of Padua's research. She tries to get them as close to their real-life counterparts as possible. This book is obviously a labor of love. I heartily recommend this book if you have any interest in either of these historical figures, math, the Victorian age, or the history of computers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am unable to read this on any Nook apps (Windows, iOS, Mac) nor on my Nook Glowlight. I can read it on my Nook Color. I like to read on my iPad to avoid carrying extra weight. It would be nice of B&N to mention this before selling the Nook version. Id suggest checking out Kobo or even Amazon for an app readable version. Granger