a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Babbage (2008)
Claire Barker (writer-director) / Eamon Wyse (writer)

Contributed by Vijay Fafat

A 2010 movie sponsored by the British Council and directed by Claire Barker. It is a short, 15-minute vignette, a dramatization of a fictional dinner conversation between Charles Babbage, his religious father, Benjamin (“set in his ways, and stubborn as a mule”), Ada Lovelace (“you could consider God as a the highest level of programmer”), his mother (“as much as I love my husband, he does have a tendency for the dramatic….”), his wife, Georgiana (“My husband has a depth of thought none of us can quite fathom”), Mr. Clement (“his hands were steadier and still while stealing the designs of my engine”), his friend, Herschel, and others.

The short film is crisp, sharp, and quick, flitting in its dialogue from Newton’s Science, the place of the Bible, and of course, Babbage’s “Difference Engine”. There are some endearing recollections of incidences involving Babbage, reference to Ada’s addiction to alcohol and morphine, Babbage’s own untiring devotion to his ideas, his own admission that Georgiana reformed him from his “womanizing ways”, ending in a soliloquy about a researcher’s frustration when he realizes he is so far ahead of his time that his “life is wasted… ideas…wasted…that incessant noise…poking at my consciousness….”

The movie short serves as a great appetizer, making the viewer go find out more about this pioneering intellect.

This movie short is available on YouTube.

More information about this work can be found at
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Works Similar to Babbage
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. In Good King Charles's Golden Days by George Bernard Shaw
  2. The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua
  3. Doing our Babbage by Ira Slobodien
  4. Hidden Figures by Allison Schroeder (writer) / Theodore Melfi (director and writer)
  5. Agora by Alejandro Amenábar (writer and director) / Mateo Gil (writer)
  6. Conceiving Ada by Lynn Hershman-Leeson
  7. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land by John Crowley
  8. Shooting the Sun by Max Byrd
  9. Continuums by Robert Carr
  10. Ada and the Engine by Lauren Gunderson
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GenreHistorical Fiction,
MotifReal Mathematicians, Female Mathematicians, Ada Lovelace,
TopicComputers/Cryptography, Logic/Set Theory,
MediumFilms, Available Free Online,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)