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In Real Life, Charles Babbage was an eccentric genius who designed the world's first computers while Ada, Countess of Lovelace, was a mathematician who wrote the first computer programs before any computers were actually built. Sadly, Babbage's computers were never built and Lovelace died when she was 36.
As it turns out, Real Life sucks, so what actually happened was that Babbage and Lovelace built a Difference Engine that takes up an entire building and use it to fight crime. That is, if you define crime as street music and poetry.
The comic (found here) is written by Sydney Padua, who wrote the first installment in celebration of Ada Lovelace Day.
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage provides examples of:
- Absurdly Spacious Hardware: The Difference Engine is so large that debugging code requires crawling inside of it.
- Adorkable: Babbage, Babbage, Babbage.
- Badass: Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who also has a Sweet Hat.
- Seriously! Look at this guy!
- Badass Bookworm: And some of it is even true!
- Berserk Button: Don't remind Ada that she's Lord Byron's daughter. Except maybe on Tuesdays.
Brunel: I'd be able to build gigantic iron ships, certainly–but could they FLY?
- Cheshire Cat Grin: Babbage gets a downright alarming one at the beginning of The Organist.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Charles Babbage has a tendency to be distracted from pressing issues by relative minutia
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: The Organist.
- Fan Service: Well, footmen were selected for their fine physiques, so the shirtless minion drawings are not prurient interest, but historical, of course!
- The Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles: As expected from a Steampunk work.
- For Science!: Obviously. Invoked often enough by many a British scientist.
- In the Blood: Ada Lovelace is taught mathematics to quell the poetical tendencies she inherited from her father, Lord Byron. She succumbs to poetry after she separates from Babbage during his crusade against street musicians.
- The first part is Truth in Television, bizarrely enough.
- In Which a Trope Is Described: As expected from a Steampunk work.
- Incredibly Lame Puns: Babbage, both in-comic and in real life, seemed to be a big fan of these.
- Large Ham" everyone gets a turn being the hammiest of hammy, although Babbage probably is the hammiest one overall.
- Loveable Rogue: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Being the Engineer - and Friendly Enemy - to Babbage and Lovelace.
- In two of the tales, it's up to Brunel to fix what's gone wrong.
- Mad Scientist: Babbage isn't mad (well, except when it comes to street musicians )... just not very well organized.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Organist bears a strange, yet totally coincidental resemblance to Mr. Bruce of The Correspondents."
- Serious Business: MATHEMATICS!!!
- Shout-Out: Several, most notably to Lewis Carroll (and Martin Gardner) in The Organist.
- Shown Their Work: Notes after each comic reveal the sources of historical and mathematical in-jokes and too-good-to-be-true-but-actually-are stories of Babbage's and Lovelace's life.
- Stealth Insult: Well, she is the daughter of Lord Byron.
Ada: I surmise it contains a small difference engine to analyze the acoustic wave patterns...
- Stealth Pun: The Coniform Collector of Tympanic Violations.
- Steampunk: The Difference Engine is a giant clockwork. Their economy modeler runs on steam. Babbage's Harmonic Disruptor operates on punch cards. And on and on ...
- The alternate history suggests that with the aid of the Difference Engine England is able to defeat the Martian horde...
- Suckiness Is Painful: The Organist.
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: Ada has diagrams to show Your Brain on Poetry.