Howdy folks from your highly defatigable Comics-Mine Labourer and Over-Employed Giant-Monster Wrangler! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage launches in EXACTLY ONE MONTH!!??! (how did that happen?) and all kinds of things are going on! The papery thing will finally be holdable for your physical manifestation on the 21st of April, I guess I should arrange a party? (kicks giant monster gnawing on leg under desk) Um, I’ll let you know.. You can preorder by a variety of means over here.
If you live in the UK and are kicking around in two weeks on Friday the 3rd of April (that’s Easter Friday) it’s going to be wall-to-wall ME at the UK National Science Fiction Convention Dysprosium at beautiful Heathrow– I’m on two panels (one on webcomics and one on steampunk) and I’m blathering on solo for an entire hour at 8pm. I’m going to be previewing the book, chatting about drawing comics, AND unveiling to the Admiring Public for the very first time my highly elaborate and extremely sort of accurate diagrams of the Analytical Engine– the first visualisations of the whole machine ever done, believe it or not, so it’s going to be a wild night. Day passes are available here!
THEN it’s on to the Book Tour of DOOM (erm, that’s on a test site right now, I’m fixing it, but that’s where the latest info is, yes I know shut up), encompassing Seattle, San Francisco, Tulsa, Toronto, Boston, and New York, followed, should I survive, by some to-be-announced UK stuff, including the Curious Arts Festival.
I can’t recall why I made this gif of Lovelace and Babbage as penguins a while back but it seems it set some spheniscidaelian vibes into the atmosphere because The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, papery edition, is now being published in the UK by Particular Books Penguin! An imprint which is officially described as: “This list is characterized by the particular, all-consuming passions of its unique authors for a whole range of subjects.” Well, yeah!
This explains the recent phenomenon some of you may have experienced of having your Amazon pre-orders mysteriously cancelled then (possibly) equally mysteriously reinstated. It OUGHT to be sorted out by the power of algorithms deep in the Difference Engines at Amazon but if it’s not the new and correct pre-order page for the UK is here (they might do a different cover, hence, no cover at present). Having a UK publisher is excellent news generally as not only are they lovely people but you’ll be able to pick up the book at your local shop a lot more easily here now.
I’ve also made a nice page for the Book here, please admire my pretty stars from the early reviews from Kirkus (“A prodigious feat of historically based fantasy that engages on a number of levels”) and Publisher’s Weekly (“…a must-have for anyone who enjoys getting lost in a story as brilliant in execution as conception… permeated by delightful illustrations, obsessive foot- and endnotes, and a spirit of genuine inventiveness, it’s an early candidate for the year’s best.”) which I am informed are VERY RARE AND COVETED STARS so yay! I have to say when one has spent years of one life doing a comic which in sober retrospect seems like an extremely weird exercise in idiosyncratic obsession, not having it instantly savaged is to put it mildly a bit of a relief.
In other news, Ye Olde Book Tour for the US is coming together for the beginning of May, currently featuring the computery towns of Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and New York– Pantheon has the details down way more clearly than I do. There’s a few more places to follow I think. UK talks etc I dunno, I will talk to the Penguins. They will say “awk! awk awk!” and I will come back to you if this means I’m doing any talks.
In other OTHER news, Giant Monster (aka Day Job) intensity is unexpectedly freakishly high, which is why I haven’t dived back into comics now the the book is done and also why I have a slightly hysterical aspect to my person at the moment. It should clear soonish. Hectic times hectic times!
That’s right folks! If Ada Lovelace owes you money that’s just too bad because she was born 200 years ago on December 10th, 1815! There are lots and lots of THRILLING celebrations and events in the planning, many of which feature (naturally) ME, so stay tuned for dates and announcements and Lovelacey goodness this year.
*Ada Lovelace famously died with several thousands pounds in gambling debts; all no doubt incurred in attempting to fund the Analytical Engine! Decades later the sum of Ada’s debts had been gleefully inflated by rumour; Nathaniel Hawthorne (of the Scarlet Letter) was told they amounted to 40,000 pounds, about 20 times the actual amount.
Happy (ever so slightly belated in the UK as I post this) Babbage’s Birthday everyone! I know everyone’s favourite part of the annual celebrations is the Numbers Banquet and the Parade of Algorithms, but for the TRUE MEANING of Babbage’s Birthday you ought to rejoice in the Mechanism Sermon, herein…
Sorry about the rambling, total lack of pedagogic structure, and my irritating squeaky voice! I did this for a thing but recalled I promised to explain how this thing worked like, a year ago.. anyways now you know what the lovely rippling arms on the back of the Engine do:
By the way the ‘chack!’ sound that it makes is the locks that click down to stop the wheels, that’s the long grey wedge thing on screen right.
So I have approximately 47 items on my todo list marked URGENT!! and my inbox zero status is at inbox +63 so naturally it’s time to mess around with tshirt designs!
This year I’m doing something a bit different, I’ve always wanted to do a screenprint which is nicer but that takes, like, work and planning and stuff. Well wonders of the tech age, Teespring will apparently take care of the faff– IF and ONLY IF enough shirts are reserved. (EDITED TO ADD: We’ve already cleared the bar for printing so there WILL be tshirts!), Here they are:
If you rejoice in living in Europe, it might be cheaper to go the ol’ reliable zazzle route for the shirts on account of the shipping costs, depends on what options you pick.. you might want to compare. Zazzle version (it looks a bit duller than it would when printed:
Though I am not swift, never say I am indifferent to the plaintive cries of my loyal long-suffering remaining shreds of readers! With GREAT SUFFERING and much against my inclinations, I drew you a Brunel paper doll- clicky for printable size.
To go with your paper dolls, you will of course be wanting some primary documents. Do you have the eyes of a very young eagle in peak condition? If you have, you can read heaps of Brunel in the proceedings at the tempestuous meeting of railway men in 1839, regarding whether or not to adopt broad gauge tracks– “giant gauge for giant engines!” Debate rages over whether the rails for the kingdom’s infant railway network should be standardised to a puny 4 ft 8 1?2 inches apart, or a magnificent, monumental 7 ft 1?4 inches apart, for trains bigger, faster, and smoother for the comfortable consumption of coffee. Which one do you think Brunel favoured? Go on, guess!
If it’s too tiny for you you can at least enjoy the marvellous title bar:
And who else was at this historic meeting? Why Charles Babbage! Speaking at great length in support of Brunel and on all sorts of subjects (hear! hear!); if you have excellent eyesight, some patience, and an obsessive interest in Charles Babbage, you can catch a real sense of his speaking style in the transcript. Here he feelingly remarks on how much easier it is to come up with an invention, that it is to raise the money for it:
And here is something quite wonderful, turned up in A Random Walk In Science, a miscellany of mild amusements from various periods in science. It includes a rather ponderously sarcastic little drama (with a musical number!) from Herapath’s Railway Journal from 1845. The comedy revolves around (unfortunately justified) mockery of the practicability of Brunel’s Atmospheric Railway, a plan to literally suck train cars along rails via giant pumps and hollow tubes. We join the scene after some non-Brunel jocularity; stick around at least for the killer last line.
Happy Ada Lovelace Day people! Every day is Ada Lovelace Day here at 2dgoggles, if you’re new to the site you’re probably looking for Lovelace: The Origin! Which is a brisk introduction to Lovelace and what she’s all about.
The FIRST thing I should say is that the gif above is totally wrong, the programming cards didn’t go end-to-end like that but lengthwise like this– and had they existed would have been made of heavy card that would be a giant pain to animate. Seldom, I must say, have I felt closer or more sympathetic to Lady Lovelace than when spending months trying to get my head around, and then explain, Babbage’s impossibly complicated machine! I have failed to make any great world-changing intellectual breakthroughs in the process however. Over the next few months I’ll be putting a bunch of Analytical Engine stuff up so stay tuned for that. Also, comics!
Appropriate to the day, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage has a cover!!
That links to the Amazon US site, should you care to preorder, and be astonished six months from now by a strange artifact appearing inexplicably in your mailbox. Ditto UK! Erm… the description still suggests the Book contains The Organist, which we unfortunately had to jettison to attain more lift. We’ll get that fixed up!
Traditionally on Ada Day I provide some novel primary documents, so I hunted down a couple of women-in-STEM celebrations from days of yore.. first up, the Babbage-boosters at Mechanics Magazine have a shout-out to Lovelace in an 1851 Babbage retrospective:
(Lovelace wrote the notes anonymously, of course, but was outed by the Statistical Society in 1848, “with the permission of Lord Lovelace”).
A positive roster of accomplished women from a speaker advocating for women’s suffrage, 1852– early indeed, and accompanied by ambiguous ‘laughter’:
PS– I’ve had requests for a small version of the lovelace looping gif, here you go:
Thank you so much for all the kind words about the book! It’s good to be back! And there is as of yet no angry mob of Organist diehards gathered neath my window!
In gratitude, I know if there’s one aching need in your lives that’s unfulfilled right now, it’s..
PRINTABLE LOVELACE AND BABBAGE PAPER DOLLS!
I’m not 100% sure why I drew those, unless it’s to go with the Lovelace and Babbage paper theatre sets I’ve been doodling.
So the BOOK IS DONE!
Okay, done-ish. Mostly done! Approaching done parameters. As you can see, I’m currently working on covers, because they didn’t like the stark white one with “No image available” on it as a post-modern exploration of ‘coverness’ over at Pantheon. Philistines!
Dang that’s freaky.
Within the yet-to-be-determined covers you will find… COMICS!
The long-absent and much-missed User Experience!
Millions of footnotes! Too many footnotes for Our Own Dear Queen!
Also, something I spent a really ridiculous amount of time on..
If I do say so myself the most complete diagrams of the Analytical Engine ever published, possibly, at least in a graphic novel? With cats in? WITH!!! as far as anyone I could
badger inquire of knows, the first drawing of the whole thing as it might have looked, had it ever been built. And you people better read it because it took me bloody AGES and there WILL be a quiz.
Now, as for the bad news.. this is kind of agonising:
Soooo.. remember when I said it was over 400 pages? The bad news is that.. we lost The Organist. I know! I burst into tears too!! The thing was it was getting to 145 pages with the endnotes and making a very awkward structure in the book, and promising never to be finished, at least not to my satisfaction and in time for my editors very, very extreme and bottomless patience to run out. I mean you can still read Organist right here on the website! Any time you like! For free! With simultaneous youtube concertina accompaniment! Please don’t rouse an angry mob! We have hopes of putting out Organist with another long-form Lovelace and Babbage story as its own thing, assuming anyone reads the first book.
Well, that’s the bad news. The good news is a bunch of new stuff, such as..
Attack of the Luddites!
Special Guest Star George Boole!
(just a little highly sophisticated Boole comedy for you there)
Also I did a whole Alice in Wonderland story just for YOU–
(okay just for ME, because I love dream sequences).
I’ll be back here on the blog again, now that I’ve fought my way out of the Abominable Quagmire Of Graphic Novels, from which few have ever returned! With tales of terror! and more primary documents that didn’t make it into the book because they didn’t want 600 pages of primary documents for some reason! and most of all comics!!!!