A Brief History of Geekdom

Copyright 2019 by Anthony Stevens

“But first, on earth as Vampire sent,
Thy corse shall from its tomb be rent:
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race;”

Lord Byron

In 1813 to great acclaim
The English poet rides to fame
Lord Byron’s words in English first
Drip blood to slake the Vampire’s thirst
Urban Fantasy thus is born
And still the Literati scorn

Swiss mountains and stormy Lake Lucerne
That year no summer heat to burn
Polidori, Lord Byron, and Mary Shelley
Were really bored, they had no telly
Another Vampyre from Polidori
And Frankenstein from Lady Shelley

The Modern Prometheus is I’ve heard
The birth of science fiction’s word
Mary Shelley was 18 years old
When the doctor’s monstrous tale was told
Published first in 1818
A century later on the silver screen

A Jacquard machine in eighteen ought four
Inspired Charles Babbage while on a tour
Analytical Engine computes and stores
Ada’s cards save all the chores
The Lady Lovelace writes the code
And Computer Science is now l’mode

Thus these modern themes were born
From fertile minds beneath the storm
We’ve seen more than two hundred years
As three things born of smiles and tears
Enhance our modern way of living
Fiction, Fantasy, and Computing

NOTES:

Lord Byron
The Giaour is a poem by Lord Byron first published in 1813 by John Murray and printed by Thomas Davison was the first in the series of his Oriental romances. The Giaour proved to be a great success when published, consolidating Byron’s reputation critically and commercially.


Polidori
“The Vampyre” is a short work of prose fiction written in 1816 by John William Polidori as part of a contest between Polidori, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, and Percy Shelley. The same contest produced the novel Frankenstein. The Vampyre is often viewed as the progenitor of the romantic vampire genre of fantasy fiction.

Mary W. Shelly
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition of the novel was published anonymously in London on 1 January 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared on the second edition, published in 1823.

Jacquard Loom
The Jacquard machine is a device fitted to a power loom that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with such complex patterns as brocade, damask and matelassé. It was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1804. The loom was controlled by a “chain of cards”; a number of punched cards laced together into a continuous sequence.

​Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage KH FRS was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.

Lady Ada Lovelace
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine.


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