Monsters, Monsters, You Know the Drill

So this is what the scenario is, folks:

To everyone I owe an email to– man, I’m SO sorry. Not that I’m the world’s swiftest correspondents at the best of times. Especially to those folks so generous as to make a donation, I owe each and every one of you an apology for not writing you something straight away. I WILL get to you!!

HOWEVER rest assured that when I’m not being ground into the Martian desert by the all-too-multiple limbs of the Barsoomians, I am using every available instant to move forward on “User Experience”. I’m more excited about this story than any I’ve done, especially as I’m using a rare and mysterious technique known as ‘planning’. To this end I am deploying the power of post-it notes-

Highly recommended system!

Especially fun about User Experience is that I’m teaming up with some very clever folks at Agant to do a special edition iPad version, where we’ll be playing with some narrative-bending cutting edge super post-modern storytelling techniques. Also, shiny gizmos! Don’t worry, it’ll appear as always here at 2dgoggles as well– an experiment, this is! A pretty darn nifty experiment though if you ask me..

Speaking of Technology–would there be any interest in a kindle-ized version of the Story So Far? Still the First Draft version I’m afraid, but it might make it easier to read.

What else.. if you guys are craving some more Brunel, Babbage, and Lovelace, and I KNOW you are (at least Brunel!) some book recommendations:

First up, James Gleick’s The Information, available as an excellent audiobook which is a huge boon to the hard-working monster-toe animator. It’s got a whole giant chapter on Babbage and Lovelace, which I confess I listened to with a bit of trepidation.. it’s hard not to start feeling just a little proprietary about those two crazy kids! Happily not only did I not need to start yelling, “No it wasn’t like that at all!!”, but I even got a new Fact. Ready? Here it is: Babbage’s allowance from his hated father, during the period of his dependence, was £300 per annum. By an odd coincidence, this is exactly the sum of Lovelace’s allowance from her resented husband; with the added sting that it was her own dowry that was being dripped out to her.

Okay possibly I’m a little bit running out of really great Facts…

Anyways it’s a fantastic book, recommended to anybody especially if you’re kind of interested in the history of this stuff but aren’t sure where to start.

The other book you should all run out and buy immediately is The Intemperate Engineer, the journals and letters of that other Giant Ball of Awesome, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Crammed with personality and engineering, with terrific opinionated commentary by the author Adrian Vaughan, if you read one book about any of the 2dgoggles characters it should be this one. Contains every possible way of IKB being surprised by the incompetence of everyone around him (“…I do not believe a workman would have thought of using it in the most contemptible worst managed shop in England..” “…I am compelled to believe that the delay arises from the greatest apathy and negligence and a total disregard for my orders..” — I found these by opening to a random page). Also, absolutely fascinating stuff about early railways, etc etc. — and, words to the wise, to a friend considering giving up his day job to be an Artist:

If you give up the school let me entreat of you to slave. To compel yourself to complete certain things by certain times– and let me entreat of you also to produce somehow or other more in quantity each year whether for commission or not — what I dread is the effect of your being left without any irksome compulsory duty– nothing induces more time spending (I must not call it idle) habit than the absence of compulsion…

Brunel demands MORE COMICSl!!! Now back to my irksome compulsory duty..


  1. Amanda on May 4, 2011 at 6:13 am

    Hey now Miss Padua, don’t forget about your fans who don’t have or want Kindles. Much prefer my literature in the original paperbacks myself.
    But I am is support of anything that gets your lovely work out there! And keep up with the awesome footnotes!

  2. Anon, a Mouse on April 27, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Your monsters are creative, and therefore we’re all perfectly happy to hop from foot to foot and check your site every time we’ve got a minute between battling monsters of our own (mine are not creative in themselves, they just require creative solving… like finding a 2′ piece of salmon and a vacuum sealer and getting everything onto the set inside of 3 hours. ARGH). No hurry, looking forward to seeing your latest batch of monsters as well as your next comic. Which I will continue to view on the largest monitor I can bring it up on.

    Total side note– my dad made a Christmas wreath out of punch cards when I was a kid. He spray painted it green and it has hung on the front door every year since… um, that works out to a lot of years… And, somewhat smaller than as shown in The Organist, there is a box on my mother’s side of their closet full of old player piano reels! She got a couple out during a family party when my brother came home from Iraq last month. He, my dad and my husband are all in IT. We had a laugh at how far programing has come, and at how long it’s been around.

    Happy spring. Hopefully you’re in an area where spring is finally happening.

  3. Dan on April 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I love waiting! The comics will be loads of fun when they get here, but I am also looking forward to seeing 4 armed, 15 foot tall green Barsoomians. I just finished “A Princess of Mars” by Burroughs. Published in 1912, it’s a different vision of the universe. Not just metal bikinis, but tribes marching across floors of dead seas, machines maintaining a breathable atmosphere on a dying planet, how to live a good life in the face of cruelty, palatial architecture.

  4. Mary Ellen on April 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Just read Sydney’s tweets/links re Brunel’s birthday yesterday (Apr 9) – that mummer’s play looks wonderful. “Brunelzebub” forsooth! Also thanks for link to Astronomical Investigation into the story about IKB’s Box Tunnel being aligned, in the manner of medieval churches, so that the rising sun shone directly into it on his birthday! Not surprised it isn’t true (though apparently the effect could happen a couple of days later) – I suspect material engineering considerations would have counted first and foremost with Brunel, not incidental private jokes. So how did the story get started?

  5. Thylacine on April 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Just a brief hymn of praise from your former Birmingham Steam Buses fan club.

    Lately reborn as:


  6. Elizabeth on April 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I’d say pdf would be less work and more accessible than either the Kindle (.mobi) or Nook (epub) formats, and would be readable on nearly any platform. Another option would be cbz, which is just a zip file of all the jpgs, numbered sequentially. I’d be happy to help with whatever format you decide to go with. Are you planning to charge for the file? That might affect which format you use.

    A pdf version could also easily be provided as a dead tree product through CaféPress, as well.

    The iPad interface sounds interesting. (I’m reading/typing on one right now.)

  7. Carly on April 2, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Can I put in a vote for Nook? Although Nook can handle normal .pdf files too, I have no idea about Kindle and how all that works. So basically, I would be extremely happy if I could download it onto my Nook in some form or fashion.

  8. HP on April 2, 2011 at 12:52 am

    Another vote for the Revolutionary iPad Presentation. All I need is one more excuse to buy one.

    • HP on April 2, 2011 at 12:58 am

      While I’m wishing, could you add a site search? I was trying to remember if your Ada ever met Mary
      Shelley (perhaps the older, reactionary Mary Shelley who disowned the radicalism of her youthful lovers), or if I merely imagined it. But you have no site search. Cursory digging was insufficient to separate dreams for reality.

      • HP on April 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

        for s/b from
        Ignore extra line return.
        Add preview.

        If you use allcaps/smallcaps for writting comments, could you use it for presenting comments? Or come up with something even less readable? Is there a Blotter Palimpsest font you could use?

  9. Hugh on March 31, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Please, no need to apologise. Perhaps you should start channelling Queen Victoria instead: “Loyal subjects, We are occupied with weighty matters, so no comics will be distributed among the deserving poor this week.”

    Will be interested to see what effect your switch from straight ahead plotting to a more pose by pose approach has.

  10. Russ on March 30, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Another vote here for a Kindle version. Please!

  11. Tim McGregor on March 30, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    Yup I’d love a kindle version of anything you’ve done please. :)

  12. Edward Harris on March 30, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Splendid work! Do keep it up.

    I would caution a little against idolising IKB. He’s was an extremely good civil engineer, and driven to an amazing degree. However as with a lot of early 19th Century entrepreneurs he didn’t hold much value on the life of the working class. I don’t know if A. Vaughan covered the construction of Box Tunnel outside Bath, that IKB is so famous for, but it isn’t known the number of navvies who died in its construction, but it was “in excess of 100” :-(

    Daniel Gooch is another man to look up. Recruited by IKB to be his locomotive superintendent at the age of 21 to get the somewhat random collection of locos that Brunel had ordered to be useful and reliable (they weren’t at all!).

    • Mary Ellen on April 1, 2011 at 1:46 am

      EH, I think it’s fairly safe to say that the Brunel being idolized in these not-exactly-serious posts is *Sydney’s* take on the great engineer – as she initially described him, sort of a 19th C. english engineering version of Wolverine – he was short, ripped, had big sideburns, smoked 50 cigars a day, and KICKED EVERYONE’S ASS. Or words to that effect, though she admits you can’t actually tell whether he was ripped or not. (I vote for at least moderate rippedness – when would a guy like that ever have time to get flabby?)

      As to the RL Brunel’s notions on the rights of working people and the value of human life, I can’t say, but it may be valuable to reflect that the official industrial death toll on the building of the hoover dam – which was much bigger than the box tunnel of course, but also much later in the development of both technology and standards of worker safety – was 06. Also, he was apparently a good family man – rather unexpected is such a workaholic, but there you are.

      • Mary Ellen on April 1, 2011 at 1:48 am

        That would be the capital-H Hoover capital-D Dam. Drat this large-&-small caps font for posts…

      • Mary Ellen on April 1, 2011 at 1:51 am

        Not to mention the Box Tunnel.

      • Mary Ellen on April 1, 2011 at 1:53 am

        Damn! That Hoover Dam death total is NINETY-six. And one normally capitalizes “English”, too, in polite circles.

  13. Henry on March 30, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I tweeted this at Sydney, but did the rest of you know Charles Babbage’s “Reflections on the Decline of Science in England” is free on the Kindle? It is

  14. mark v thomas on March 29, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    And the moral of this story is “always pack a radium pistol in case of emergencies…”

  15. Brian on March 29, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Not just iPad and Kindle please! Don’t alienate your devoted Android-based followers!

  16. Julian on March 29, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Kindle version would be great, though just to have some downloadable .pdf files would more than suffice.

  17. Thomas on March 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Excited about the possibility of a kindle version of the story so far! And also of course about the possibility of more Brunel!

  18. Poz on March 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Kindle edition of The Story So Far?

    …I have a Kindle! I have monies! Pray make it so! ;)

  19. Judy on March 29, 2011 at 2:49 am

    iPad and Kindle stuff??! You have to ask if we want it………….

  20. Mary Ellen on March 29, 2011 at 12:33 am

    Brunel! Thou should’st be living at this hour
    My life hath need of thee. It is a mess
    disorganized — I’m an artist, I confess!

    OTOH, poor Brunel would probably contract severe dyspepsia from merely contemplating the amoeba like structurelessness of my doings. Hey, I’m trying, but finding regular irksome duties in this economy can be tough!

    Ithink the ipod version sounds great, but as I haven’t one, I won’t be able to appreciate its coolness. And I for one do not find 2DG hard to read on my little tablet laptop.

  21. Trillian on March 28, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Oooo! Kindle-ized version of User Experience? Yes, Yes, Yes! Please!

  22. John on March 28, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I was going to make fun of planning, but I see mention of donations. I’m off to hunt for the link instead.

    And watch your glasses. If you pick a glass splinter out of the Martian thingie’s foot, it might be your friend. Or you might have to marry it. I forget which story is which, but I know there’s glass and a foot involved.

    (And ditto on the Bambi Meets Godzilla reference.)

  23. derek on March 28, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    As an artist, I hope you don’t do as the Brunel’s unlucky subordinate Fripp did, and draw on the backs of your own drawings :-)

    By coincidence I just finished a re-read, years after first reading it, of “Isambard Kingdom Brunel: Engineering Knight-Errant”, Vaughan’s counterblast to LTC Rolt’s hagiography. I see that, cruelly, Amazon lists Rolt among the “also bought” list for Vaughan’s latest, but does not list his own earlier biography.

    (The “Knight-Errant” title was not a compliment; the Railway Times was calling him a sort of Don Quixote, spending his shareholders’ money on unfeasible schemes like the South Devon compressed air railway)

  24. Redshift on March 28, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    Bambi meets Godzilla, yay!