Thursday, 12 May 2016

REVIEW - The Imitation Game. Alan Turning Decoded


The Imitation Game: Alan Turing DecodedEnglish mathematician and scientist Alan Turing (1912–1954) is credited with many of the foundational principles of contemporary computer science. The Imitation Game presents a historically accurate graphic novel biography of Turing’s life, including his groundbreaking work on the fundamentals of cryptography and artificial intelligence. His code breaking efforts led to the cracking of the German Enigma during World War II, work that saved countless lives and accelerated the Allied defeat of the Nazis. While Turing’s achievements remain relevant decades after his death, the story of his life in post-war Europe continues to fascinate audiences today."



There isn't much to say on The Imitation Game other than it was really well done. It took a while for me to warm to the art style, but as the book progressed, the harsh lines and diluted colours made more sense. 


The reason I requested this for review is because I've been fascinated by Turing for a few years, mainly since first seeing the film of The Imitation Game in 2014. Going into this, I believed this would almost be a graphic novel retelling of that film, but this was far more. In these pages I learnt so much about Turing's childhood, and work after Bletchley Park - things that people including myself, often forget to consider because we're so captured by his achievements in one particular field. 


How this story is orchestrated, with people from Turing's life (e.g his mother, Joan Clarke, Hugh Alexander) being interviewed on his journey was an interesting twist. I don't think I'll ever quite understand what happened with this aspect over pages 63-66, but nevertheless, it was a good plot device for driving on the story. It makes you see past Engima, and look closer at a shy, highly intelligent man who admirably at a time where homosexuality was illegal, refused to deny that he was gay. 

Though this was in many ways wonderful, I did have a few issues with the actual text. Maybe this is because Ottaviani is an American author, but there were several occasions where he used Americanisms or American spellings e.g. Math. We don't say Math in the UK; we use Maths or Mathematics. These are only minor things, but I strongly believe that if you are going to write in the perspective of someone who is of a different nationality to yourself, you make such that the character correctly reflects that nationality. It's a picky point, but this error pulls the reader out of the story, and shows Jim Ottaviani instead of Alan Turing.

Thank you so much to Abrams and Chronicle for sending me this novel in exchange for an honest review. 

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