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Theresa Fuller

The Ghost Engine

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The Ghost Engine

YA Steampunk

Fact: Ada Lovelace would have been the world’s first programmer if she hadn’t died young and in great pain, her fears ignored solely because she was a woman.

Seventeen-year-old suffragette Lady Elizabeth Ada Lovelace will do anything to ensure no more women suffer the indignities and anguish her grandmother underwent at the hands of her physician. She attempts to program the Ghost Engine, the 19th century equivalent of the computer, to use it as a tool to hasten research on the cancer that killed her grandmother. By taking on what is believed to be a man’s job – programming – she also hopes to prove that women are just as capable as men. She fixes the Ghost Engine and gets it running only to be sucked inside. Elizabeth needs to escape before the engine shuts down, killing her, but she finds herself locked in what seem to be pointless games of logic. The games take on a sinister bent as the Ghost Engine learns via artificial intelligence to become sentient. It fashions a doppelganger in the image of its creator, initially appearing as a ghost. Soon Elizabeth can’t tell creator and creation apart. She is not the only one fighting for equality. In her wildest dreams, Elizabeth never thought she'd end up falling in love with a hauntingly attractive ghost, the same seductive ghost who just might want her dead.

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I was always told: write what you know.

With a degree in computing, I started working in the computer industry as an analyst/programmer. Later, I taught computer history and artificial intelligence at the high school level. So, it was a no brainer to write about the first woman programmer. Technically, that person was Ada Lovelace, but the truth is that she died before the first computer was ever built. What I learnt about her demise shocked me. It did not matter that she was Lord Byron’s only child, or the wife of a peer. Or a brilliant mathematician. She was a woman. A ‘woman’ was how her physician saw her. Ada never got a chance to program a computer as Charles Babbage never finished the Difference Engine. Soon Ada was dying of cancer. When she asked her physician if she could seek a second opinion, his reply was that if she did so, he would wash his hands of her. Ada never received that second opinion. All because she was a woman. I wrote about Ada’ fictional granddaughter, who was determined to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, and be the world’s first programmer!

My name is Theresa Fuller and I write about Women Who Win the World.

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She thought she could change the world...

When Lady Elizabeth Ada Lovelace, a beautiful, arrogant suffragette, purchased the 19th-century Algorithmic Engine in order to become the world's first programmer, she planned to break the shackles of inequality for Victorian women.

Until her world became that of the machine...

Instead she learns the true meaning of equality when she ends up trapped, brought down to the level of the machine. Inside the double-crossing computer, Elizabeth must match wits with a stubbornly idealistic ghost and a chillingly handsome doppelganger in the computer's endless series of mind games. But as the machine learns to become a sentient being, time is ticking away. Elizabeth finds herself falling in love with the ghost trapped in the machine. Together they are pitted in a race against the machine to escape before the Algorithmic Engine shuts down ‐ killing them all.

Now all their worlds hang in the balance.


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