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frumious

Interrupting Soliloquy

I enjoy most things, and don't believe that enjoying things means that I shouldn't rip it apart critically. Also don't think reading is the panacea of all ills, so I read a lot of comics and play a lot of video games.

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Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East
Gita Mehta

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 - Sydney Padua I’m not entirely sure if the sheer amount of exclamation points on the cover has clued you in, but this book is quite exciting. Just visually, the illustrations are wonderful and give an immediate likeability to the characters that Padua creates out of Lovelace and Babbage.

If you’re not in the know, Charles Babbage was one of the first people to conceptualize the computer, and Lady Lovelace (the daughter of the (in)famous Lord Byron) was one of the first people to conceptualize the language that this computer would speak in. They are together considered the inventor of the computer and the first computer programmer respectively. Unfortunately, in our reality, the story ends less than ideally: Lovelace is lost to cancer at the age of 36, and Babbage’s inability to finish and fund his project results in it never being realized and him dying bitterly, though at the significantly healthier age of 79.

All of this is related in the humorous and heavily annotated illustrations, rife with snarky jokes. Then Padua goes a step further. In the pocket alternate dimension of the book, Lovelace and Babbage are able to collaborate on the fully functional Analytical Engine unhampered by things like critical existence failure. The result is some of the most mathematically and historically informative graphic novels (which is spliced with so many footnotes that it becomes a history book in its own right) that I have ever read, despite a large portion of it never having happened.

This book is alternate parts graphic novel, alternate parts a book about mathematics and computing, or a book about the history of Lovelace, Babbage & Co. or a fun Steampunk-y book filled with informatively incorrect interactions of some major names of the time period. I'd say it's got something for everyone.