Hidden Systems
Water, Electricity, the Internet, and the Secrets Behind the Systems We Use Every Day
Dan Nott

Random House Graphic/March, 2023

"Hidden Systems is the book I’ll use to teach my kids how the internet works....incredibly readable." —The Verge

“The true power of comics is on display here, with complex, difficult-to-comprehend structures presented both through a variety of metaphors and by placing those metaphors in context with simplified renditions of their real physical appearance.” —Booklist, starred review

“Performs a valuable service.”— Kirkus Reviews

“A necessary introductory approach to everyday systems that briefly interrogates the bias and inequalities imbedded within them.” —Publishers Weekly

We use water, electricity, and the internet every day--but how do they actually work? And what’s the plan to keep them running for years to come? This nonfiction science graphic novel takes readers on a journey from how the most essential systems were developed to how they are implemented in our world today and how they will be used in the future.

What was the first message sent over the internet? How much water does a single person use every day? How was the electric light invented?

For every utility we use each day, there’s a hidden history--a story of intrigue, drama, humor, and inequity. This graphic novel provides a guided tour through the science of the past--and reveals how the decisions people made while inventing and constructing early technology still affect the way people use it today.

Full of art, maps, and diagrams, Hidden Systems is a thoughtful, humorous exploration of the history of science and what needs to be done now to change the future.

Dan Nott is a cartoonist, illustrator, and educator living in Vermont. Dan’s short comics and illustrations for investigative journalism have appeared in Spotlight PA, The Nib, Resist!, and Seven Days, and in publications for NJ Advance Media and WBUR, among others. Dan graduated with an MFA from the Center for Cartoon Studies (CCS) and was the lead writer and cartoonist for its free nationally distributed comic on US government called This Is What Democracy Looks Like. Dan teaches classes about making comics and comics history at CCS.