The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Comptuer
By Sydney Padua
Graphic Novel, Biography, Sci-fi, history, computer science.
This is a great book. It’s a fictionalized biography of Ada King, the Countess of Lovelace (Ada Lovelace)and her interactions with Charles Babbage and their quest to create the first computer. The first Chapter of the book, is a good overview of Ms. Lovelace’s life. Highlights include her parentage, the erratic George Gordon Byron, more commonly known as the poet Lord Byron, and Anne Isabella Milbanke, Baroness Wentworth. Their separation, his madness and death, and her resentment of Byron. From that resentment Anne drove Ada away from poetry and towards mathematics to prevent the “Byron Madness”. From her study of mathematics Ada eventually met Charles Babbage, and from there they collaborated on his Difference Engine and the larger, more complex Analytical Engine until her death at 36. The rest of the book is the “Mostly True” part. Padua extrapolates what could have happened and re-imagines a pocket universe where instead of dying early before Babbage completed his Analytical Engine (he spent all the resources that he raised for his engine lobbying for more funds to complete a bigger and better engine) they finished their engine and put it to use fighting crime (including their personal scourges, poetry and street musicians).
At times it can be a difficult read, there are many different threads going on, with the graphic novel hosting the main story, footnotes at the bottom of the page filling in details. Then the footnotes have endnotes at the end of each chapter the give more particulars of the era and people. Then some of the endnotes have footnotes, with asides and other interesting factoids. It can be a very dense read.
Written by Boaz Lavie, Illustrated by Asaf & Tomer Hanuka
Graphic Novel, War, Children Soliders
The Divine is a very intense story about children soldiers in a conflict in South East Asia. The American protagonist is a ex-military, who is convinced to go back into a conflict zone for one big payday. While there he sees the horrors of war first hand, and sees how people and civilians are the ones who suffer from war.
The dialog is understated, and many pages are wordless to great effect to emphasize the art and color work which is fantastic. The story is a little heavy handed, and the characters are flat, but overall and interesting read.
Written by Gene Luen Yang, Illustrated by Mike Holmes
Graphic Novel, school, computer science, coding
This is a great introduction to computer science, dressed up as a kids story about going to a new school and experiencing being the awkward new kid. It’s a fun, quick read that teaches kids to think logically and get into a programming mindset. There are puzzles that Gene Yang poses to the reader before giving the answer in the next chapter. It does end a little too early,
I would have liked to see more of the story revealed before it cut off. There are going to be a series of books following this one, and more content available online at the book’s website.