cover image The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded

Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis. Abrams ComicArts, $24.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1893-9

A powerful, sympathetic portrait of one of the 20th century’s great minds, this graphic biography of Alan Turing doesn’t play the usual game of establishing its hero as the only smart person in the room. Here, the great brain of Bletchley Park was just one of many odd geniuses (albeit possibly the most innovative) who helped crack the Nazis’ seemingly unbreakable Enigma code machine. Writer Ottaviani (Feynman) threads the particulars of Turing’s life, from school to top-secret wartime cryptography to postwar scandal. But the book’s thought-provoking core is Turing’s pursuit of his groundbreaking idea of the universal computer and using his imitation game (a method of telling artificial intelligence from the real thing) to plumb the corners of his own personality. Purvis’s sometimes-clunky art suggests a more juvenile volume than is actually delivered in this fully three-dimensional portrait of a man whose contributions—to the modern world as well as the war—was only recognized long after his tragic disgrace. (Mar.)