I am currently writing a book about Ada Lovelace. She was a nineteenth-century programmer who lived and wrote a century before the computer’s invention.
But this book is not a typical biography. It is also a story involving (among other things):
As I began researching Lovelace back in 2014, I realized that Ada’s life story doesn’t really end with her death in 1852, at the untimely age of 36.
In order to do justice to her life, we have to flash forward to the birth of computer culture in the twentieth century. In order to understand why she has become such a resonant figure for modern women working in science and tech, we need to tell their stories alongside hers.
Across the centuries, Ada Lovelace has been endlessly reinvented and reimagined. She appears in cosplay kits and underwear ads, steampunk novels and web comics, coding academies and classical music.
This book embraces anachronism. It looks not only at Ada’s inventive life but her strange and fascinating afterlife. It considers not only how Lovelace has shaped today’s computer culture, but how we have shaped her to speak to modern anxieties and desires about the technological present – and our fears and fantasies about the future.