Babbage and Lovelace in Glorious Technicolor

This entry is part 3 of 12 in the series Meanwhile..

OH FAME THOU GAUDY BAUBLE! Charles Babbage Foresees the Future on BBC’s Techlab! When they asked me to do this I read their little intro where it says it’s a forum for “The World’s Leading Thinkers” to speculate about the future, and I thought, if that’s me, boy are we in trouble.


There’s footnotes (of course!!) on the comic but of NOT ENOUGH FOOTNOTES FOR ME!! So–

The expression on the front page comes from this drawing (scroll down). The pose on page 2 is based on my least favorite portrait of Babbage, where he conspires with Samuel Laurence to make himself look like a pompous ass. Not that he couldn’t be a pompous ass, but when I saw the ‘Laurence’ I momentarily thought it was Thomas Lawrence, and was like, “Geez, way to phone that one in, Lawrence!”.

For the record, my favorite image of Babbage is this one. He looks downright hot there. Well, kind of. As a rule, Babbage looks way happier in photographs than he does in portraits, I guess because there’s a gadget in the room.

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  1. Professor_Briar2 on February 18, 2010 at 10:34 pm

    Beautiful color! But where is Ada’s pipe?
    I know, people do complain and for such trivial things.

  2. revjack on October 22, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    Namaste Sydney

    Sadly your comic is no longer on the BBC website.
    Is there perchance another copy?
    Thank you for the high brow humor, it is such a pleasant change pace.

    • sydney on October 22, 2009 at 10:24 pm

      Hello! The link to the BBC comic in the post still works for me– maybe it went down for a while?

  3. Ceridwen on July 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Who would play Brunel?

    • sydney on July 21, 2009 at 9:35 pm

      Brunel is played by my own fevered imagination.

  4. John on July 16, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    Animated, sure, but what I’m really wishing Santa brings is live-action starring Felicia Day and Bill Murray. Nathan Fillion cameo as Byron, too.

    Murray is negotiable. He (as mentioned) just looks like the sketch. Brent Spiner would probably be better for mannerisms.

  5. Erzengel on July 15, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    Sir, im a total fan of your wokr, i love it. please, keep em coming.

  6. Richard on July 13, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    now you’re going to be too fancy to listen to us mere commenters…

    But if you’re not, and if you’re not already aware of it, I suspect Edward Everett Hale’s The Brick Moon might be right up your street: water powered satellite launching fiction, 1869.
    It’s not very long, but it is very delightful.

  7. David on July 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm


  8. David on July 12, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    Lush. Truly, truly triff.

  9. Matt on July 12, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    “Maybe you should talk with Disney or something and make a full animated movie.”

    No! Disney would ruin everything. They’d always be singing, and running around trying to be funny there’d be some little anthropomorphic animal voiced by some comedian in the sunset of their career. Just…no.

  10. ADdude on July 11, 2009 at 6:07 am

    awesome simply awesome

  11. Sophie Lagacé on July 11, 2009 at 1:50 am

    So very awesome. I’ve become a huge fan of the adventure of Lovelace and Babbage. I love both your art and your writing. :-)

  12. EFH on July 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    That is preternaturally awesome. Mad props to you, miss.

  13. AleNunez on July 10, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    You know, forget about “The World’s Leading Thinkers”, you’ve been BoingBoinged.

    Maybe you should talk with Disney or something and make a full animated movie. I’ll be glad to plug that to my 3y son. (you, know, erradicate poetry from the beggining)

  14. JS Morris on July 10, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    The last panel of that BBC slideshow was what did me in. Some solutions are eternal.

  15. Joe on July 10, 2009 at 8:41 am

    You know Boing Boing linked to this BBC page. Don’t you?

  16. Tobias on July 10, 2009 at 4:05 am

    The color is really awesome, but the black-and-white method leaves more hilarity to the imagination. Or something.

    Keep on rockin’.

  17. musiccaptain on July 10, 2009 at 4:04 am

    I can’t wait to see what the reaction from the non-geek public is like!

  18. Anon, a mouse (again) on July 10, 2009 at 12:24 am

    Color!! Fantastic, especially that you were able to use so much of their own words as dialog. Thanks for the link.

  19. Ceridwen on July 9, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    YOW! Cool! In Color!