Combining both a knowledge of notable Victorian mathematicians AND fluid illustrations suitable for storyboards, Sydney Padua creates an intelligent and entertaining read.
What I do want to point out is the sheer amount of research poured into this work, complete with footnotes that at one point engulf the page in a visual gag that can only be halted by Her Majesty herself. It's like listening to a good friend go on and on about something they're particularly passionate about. Whether or not you share the same amount of investment doesn't matter, it's just so much fun to gain insight on this facet of their interests.
Loved everything about this book!
Too many footnotes, endnotes, appendices, etc. Boring, tedious. Ordinary drawings, little storytelling.
This graphic novel focuses on two historical figures (Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage) who are credited with inventing the idea of the first computer and computer program. The two were colleagues in real life but very tragically Ada Lovelace died before she could continue her scientific contributions and Babbage did not have the drive to finish many of his inventions. Sydney Padua has invented a pocket universe where the two survive to have many adventures together. I adored this book, both the learning of the actual facts and the author's use of snarky humor.
It starts out like a historical comic about Charles Babbage's never constructed Difference Engine and Ada Lovelace's role in the creation of the first computer (also never really realised since she died young and Babbage never built his machines). Then we enter 'the pocket universe' where Babbage and Lovelace get to build their engines and have adventures! It's fun and whimsical but there is also a ton of research put into this. There's probably more text here (in the form of footnotes, endnotes, and appendices) about the two and early computer science in general. Lots of fun and learning to be had.
What started as an historical comic about the inventors of the first computer, turned into a whole series on the adventures that Lovelace and Babbage could have had (if this was an alternate universe). Even when Padua charges full steam into the realm of fantasy, she continues to line her stories with facts, letters that characters wrote to each other, or other historical tidbits. Almost every single page is footed by notes describing the sources, and explaining their relevance. Chapters end with additional pages that delve further into larger topics, and the appendices provide examples of the primary sources she used, and a detailed look at Babbage's analytical engine. Padua has done extensive research into the lives of Lovelace and Babbage, and the workings of their machine, and it is what makes this comic so unique. Her humour too is spot on, taking the quirky personas of these two individuals and rolling with it. While their adventures are fun, and certainly in line with comic antics, they never stray too far from the realm of possibility. The feel of "history" never disappears. Much of the humour is visual. Characters are drawn as caricatures, with expressive faces, and bold actions, and sound effects are prominent. This is not a quick read, but it is an easy one to get through thanks to this. An absolutely delightful historical lesson, and what-if scenario.
Great fun even for those of us who can't quite follow the mathematics. It brings to life many aspects of 19th century history, from steam engines to economics to literature.
Unbelievably clever! This graphic-novel book takes an amazing true episode in computer history and makes its explosively entertaining and an informative read (adding a what if ending). This talented comic illustrator has done her research - no doubt about it. Highly recommend this book to young adult women who love history and love computers.
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