Of all the people and places I researched for The Water Castle, Nikola Tesla was the most fun. Like Ephraim in the book, I was first entranced by Nikola Tesla after seeing the show about him in the Theater of Electricity at Boston’s Museum of Science. I had a vague recollection of him from my high school physics class with Mr. Perry 1, but I didn’t know his story, his feud with Edison, the elephant execution. In short, I did not know Tesla.
The story of a genius overlooked by history stayed with me, battering around in my head for over a decade before he found a place in my novel. It seems, however, that I am not the only one intrigued by Tesla. YouTube is full of videos about him. Many, like much of what is on YouTube, are quite silly, but some are very informative. My favorite is this TED talk by Marco Tempest: The Electric Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla. How gorgeous is this animation?
This one is good, too:
When Neil Gaiman, Amanda Palmer, 2 Ben Folds, and Damian Kulash of OK Go formed the supergroup 8in8 and attempted to write and record eight songs in eight hours 3 inspired by tweets from fans, one of the songs was about Nikola Tesla:
So why all this creativity around Nikola Tesla? Perhaps it’s because he was such an imperfect human. A genius, but brash. His open mind made people doubt his work. His relative poverty going up against Edison’s vast wealth. All of these things make for a good story.
Plus there is that dashing mustache.
- It is somewhat ironic that I ended up writing a book with electricity as a central plot point, since I struggled with this unit, though I did like using my fist to determine the direction of a current ↩
- Did I mention that I am going to be presenting at The Muse & The Marketplace on Saturday May 4th, and that Amanda Palmer is giving the keynote that night? ↩
- They ended up creating 6 songs in 12 hours ↩