Do you ever wish you could change history? Do you ever think, if only the top notch minds of the 1800s could only have come together in person to FIGHT HISTORICAL CRIME? Well dear readers, fear not. Sydney Padua's got you covered in her extremely detailed rocking alt-history The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.
So if you're not up on your computer history, Ada Lovelace was renowned mathematician who, by all standards, invented the computer. Daughter of the also pretty famous poet Lord Byron, Ada's jilted mother wanted her children to grow up as far away from "scoundrel poets" as possible, thus turning Ada's genius to the "hard sciences." A woman of wealth, she corresponded with the great thinkers of the time. Though they never actually met in person*, Charles Babbage presented her his plans for a warehouse sized calculator called the Analytical Engine--but Ada envisioned more than just mathematical calculations. With a very complicated algorithm** the Machine could process functions and store results in its memory.
In The Trilling Adventures, Sydney re-imagines a world where these two pioneering engineers get together and solve crimes in a hilarious way. But don't be fooled, this book doesn't thumb it's nose at history. Much of it is based on primary documents and schematics*** found by the author--who is herself a computer engineer and graphic designer in addition to being an awesome female comic artist.
I'm a huge fan of graphic novels that think outside the box, and this beauty from Pantheon Books is a great addition to the genre.
Also did I mention how much I love books with footnotes?****
* though they ran in the same circles and corresponded heavily through letters
** at least, I think that's how it works? Maybe it's not that complicated, and there are lots of explanations in the book, but it feels complicated. I have trouble getting my phone to connect to wifi, so what do I know.
***these primary sources are included in the book, and you too can browse and UNBELIEVABLY large collection of actual documents thanks to Google's work to preserve and share these for free.
****and boy, does this book pack a punch in the footnote department.