The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage

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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.jpg
Dust jacket of US edition
Author Sydney Padua
Illustrator Sydney Padua
Language English
Subject Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage
Genre Steampunk
Publisher Pantheon Books (US)
Penguin Books (UK)
Publication date
April 21, 2015
Media type Print, hardcover
Pages 320
ISBN 978-0-307-90827-8
OCLC 50841111

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer is a steampunk graphic novel written and drawn by Sydney Padua. It features Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage in an alternative universe where they have successfully built an analytical engine and use it to "fight crime".

The book was published simultaneously by Pantheon Books in the US and Penguin Books in the UK on April 21, 2015.[1] It has received positive reviews and awards.

Setting and publication history[edit]

The book grew out of a webcomic of the same name.[2][3] The comic began as a single comic strip for Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.[4] Disliking the fact that both Babbage and Lovelace died with their life work incomplete, Padua created a fictional ending for the strip, then found that "a lot of people saw it and thought that I was actually going to do a comic, which I had no intention of doing. But then I started thinking, 'What if I actually did the comic?' I started fooling around, and I guess I'm still fooling around with it."[5]

The setting describes an alternative historical reality[6] in which Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage have actually built an analytical engine and use it to "fight crime" at Queen Victoria's request.[7] Also featured in the comic is the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whom Padua has called "The Wolverine of the early Victorians".[8]

The comic is based on thorough research on the biographies of and correspondence between Babbage and Lovelace, as well as other bits of early Victoriana, which are then twisted for humorous effect. "Some of the documents are more entertaining than the actual comic. Plenty of times, I've thrown something into the comic just so I'd have an excuse to refer to some document," Padua says.[5]

Awards and reception[edit]

The book received positive early reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.[9][10]

In December 2015 it was announced that, for The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, Padua would receive the biennial Neumann Prize of the British Society for the History of Mathematics,[11] which is "awarded for a book in English ... dealing with the history of mathematics and aimed at a broad audience".[12] The UK edition of the book received the 2015 British Book Design and Production Award for graphic novels.[13]

In April 2016 The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage was nominated for the Eisner Award in the Best Graphic Album–New category, and Padua in the Best Writer/Artist category.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Tantaratara". sydneypadua.com. September 12, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  2. ^ Padua, Sydney. "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage". 2dgoggles.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  3. ^ Goh, Jaymee (October 26, 2009). "Experiments in Comics with Sydney Padua". Tor.com. Retrieved February 13, 2016. 
  4. ^ Padua, Sydney. "Ada Lovelace: the secret origin". sydneypadua.com. 
  5. ^ a b Byfield, Bruce (October 5, 2011). "Sydney Padua and 'The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage'". LWN.net. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  6. ^ "Pocket Universe Guide". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05. 
  7. ^ Padua, Sydney (August 21, 2009). "Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Client Pt 3". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  8. ^ Padua, Sydney (April 27, 2009). "Brunel". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018. 
  9. ^ "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer". Publishers Weekly. January 26, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer". Kirkus Reviews. February 3, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Winner of the 2015 Neumann Prize". British Society for the History of Mathematics. 10 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  12. ^ "Neumann Prize". British Society for the History of Mathematics. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "2015 Winners". British Book Design and Production Awards. British Printing Industries Federation. Archived from the original on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015. 
  14. ^ "2016 Eisner Award Nominees". 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 

External links[edit]