But in the grand way that fiction allows us, this book explores the idea of “what if”. What if Lovelace and Babbage had actually completed the Difference Engine, and then used its marvelous computing abilities to go on strange adventures? This book not only gives an accurate historical biography of Lovelace and Babbage and their collaboration, but also features a section where in an alternate universe the duo complete their engine and use it’s awesome power to have all sorts of adventures and mishaps (mostly mishaps).
Those who are particularly interested in the history behind Ada Lovelace, Charles Babbage, and the Difference Engine will be delighted by the sheer amount of research that must have gone into this book. There are extensive footnotes explaining and expounding on the historical events and people featured, as well as a very large appendix containing a vast amount of primary resources. But it’s not just about the history. The adventurous side of the book is quite fun too, and has a very steampunk-esque feel to it. This is where the author’s characterization of Lovelace and Babbage really has the chance to shine, such as when both receive Queen Victoria for a demonstration of the Difference Engine.
I have to say I quite enjoyed the art style of this one. It has a very whimsical feel to it, especially in the “adventures” section of the book, but it is also right at home in the very historical part one as well. The expressions and emotions I thought were particularly well done. Overall, this is a great recommendation for both the historical and alternate reality sections, which lends itself to the graphic novel format quite well. This one is definitely recommended.
Shady Glade Rating: 4 leaves
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