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".
|Subject||Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage|
|Publisher||Pantheon Books (US)|
Penguin Books (UK)
|April 21, 2015|
|Media type||Print, hardcover|
The book was published simultaneously by Pantheon Books in the US and Penguin Books in the UK on April 21, 2015. It has received positive reviews and awards.
Setting and publication historyEdit
The book grew out of a webcomic of the same name. The comic began as a single comic strip for Ada Lovelace Day in 2009, a celebration of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 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."
The setting describes an alternative historical reality in which Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage have actually built an Analytical Engine and use it to "fight crime" at Queen Victoria's request. Also featured in the comic is the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, whom Padua has called "the Wolverine of the early Victorians".
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.
Awards and receptionEdit
The book received positive early reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews.
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, which is "awarded for a book in English ... dealing with the history of mathematics and aimed at a broad audience". The UK edition of the book received the 2015 British Book Design and Production Award for graphic novels.
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 was nominated in the Best Writer/Artist category.
An opera based on the book, with music by Elena Ruehr and libretto by Royce Vavrek, was first performed on February 3–5, 2023, by Guerilla Opera in collaboration with the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology.
- ^ "Tantaratara". sydneypadua.com. September 12, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- ^ Padua, Sydney. "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage". 2dgoggles.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- ^ Goh, Jaymee (October 26, 2009). "Experiments in Comics with Sydney Padua". Tor.com. Retrieved February 13, 2016.
- ^ Padua, Sydney. "Ada Lovelace: the secret origin". sydneypadua.com.
- ^ a b Byfield, Bruce (October 5, 2011). "Sydney Padua and 'The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage'". LWN.net. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- ^ "Pocket Universe Guide". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
- ^ Padua, Sydney (August 21, 2009). "Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Client Pt 3". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- ^ Padua, Sydney (April 27, 2009). "Brunel". sydneypadua.com. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
- ^ "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer". Publishers Weekly. January 26, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- ^ "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Computer". Kirkus Reviews. February 3, 2015. Retrieved March 18, 2015.
- ^ "Winner of the 2015 Neumann Prize". British Society for the History of Mathematics. December 10, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- ^ "Neumann Prize". British Society for the History of Mathematics. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- ^ "2015 Winners". British Book Design and Production Awards. British Printing Industries Federation. Archived from the original on December 22, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2015.
- ^ "2016 Eisner Award Nominees". 19 April 2016. Archived from the original on April 19, 2016. Retrieved April 19, 2016.
- ^ "Cosmic Cabbage and Lovage". The Boston Musical Intelligencer. January 27, 2023. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
- ^ "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage Digital Program". Arts at MIT. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
- 2D Goggles - Dangerous experiments in comics, official website of the Lovelace and Babbage comic
- "Picturing Lovelace, Babbage, and the Analytical Engine: A cartoonist in mathematical biography" – article by Padua on the composition of the book