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Padua, Sydney

Entry updated 24 October 2022. Tagged: Artist, Author, Comics, Film.

(?   -    ) London-based Canadian animator, graphic artist and author, who has worked on such films as Osmosis Jones (2001), The Golden Compass (2007) (see Philip Pullman), Clash of the Titans (2010), John Carter (2012), The Jungle Book (2015) and The One and Only Ivan (2020) (see K A Applegate).

Padua wrote and drew the Graphic Novel, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage (graph 2015). Originally a short comic strip entitled Lovelace – The Origin (2009) which appeared as a blog post for the first Ada Lovelace Day (which aims to raise the profile of women in science, Technology, engineering and Mathematics), it was subsequently collected in slightly different form as Lovelace & Babbage: Origins, with Salamander in Steampunk II: Steampunk Reloaded (anth 2010) edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer. With much Humour the strip recounted the life of Ada Lovelace and her work with Charles Babbage. Because Lovelace died aged 36 and Babbage never built a Computer, an upbeat ending was provided: "Lovelace and Babbage lived on and built a giant calculating Engine and used it to fight crime and have adventures!"

Padua now found she was expected to provide these adventures and duly did so. The Multiverse is referenced; the meddling of a Time Police novice creates an Alternate History where Lovelace and Babbage lived to build an immense and labyrinthine Difference Engine; the time police respond by hiving off the Dimension into a Pocket Universe. The bickering pair become involved with banking crises, mathematical Luddites, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, George Eliot and George Boole, whilst Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) is Parodied.

Considerable research was involved in creating these stories and much of the book consists of Infodumps concerning biography, computer science and Victoriana in the form of copious footnotes, endnotes, appendices and sundry digressions. Fortunately these are fascinating, combining with the actual comic to make a funny, informative work – a rambling Steampunk classic. It won the 2015 Neumann Prize, awarded by The British Society for the History of Mathematics. [SP]

see also: Eastercon.

Melina Sydney Padua




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