A Life Of Fiction CI

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work before purchasing it on the Kindle store; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

 

Get Tesla: At some stage I intend to write a novel which, at the moment, has the title Get Tesla!  I mentioned that, in More Ideas Than Time, in A Life Of Fiction LXXV. But I did not really go into the details of the novel, or why it is that Tesla inspires me.

The novel, when I finally get around to writing it, will be set in an alternate timeline. I will not be writing history, but a fictional account in which a cabal of business interests opposed to Tesla attempt to destroy his finances and reputation. The companies of Westinghouse and Edison decide that Tesla’s idea of free electricity for everybody in the world is something which cannot be tolerated. If that was provided it would put them out of business. So they decide to sabotage his every move, trying to make it appear that his inventions don’t work, and making sure that nobody invests in Tesla’s company.

I’m not quite sure what sort of ending I want for the novel. As a writer I quite like happy endings. But in real life there was no happy ending for Nikola Tesla. He died in relative penury on the seventh of January 1943, in the two room suite on the thirty-third floor of the Hotel New Yorker, where he had spent the last ten years of his life.

Nikola Tesla was a great inventor. He was originally credited with the invention of the radio, rather than Marconi. Without wanting to get too political, I would like to see that credit go back to Nikola Tesla. Not that I particularly dislike Marconi, who was a great inventor. I am not anti-Italian, or anything like that. But the radio which Marconi demonstrated – after Tesla had shown off a similar device – was one which contained seventeen Tesla patents. Credit where credit is due.

Even if you are a Marconi man, though, you must admit that Tesla was an incredible inventor. He had hundreds of patents. Our modern world would not be possible without Tesla’s ideas. Things which he patented included regulators for dynamos, arc lamps, electric magnetic motors, methods of transmitting electricity, a thermo-magnetic motor, alternating current systems, systems of electric lighting, incandescent lamps, generators, transformers and so on. And those are just the ones where he kept the patent, and did not have his idea stolen from him.

I think things like the Tesla coil are amazing; and the same goes for transmitting electricity through the air, which Tesla did, once, to turn a whole field of light bulbs on, even though those light bulbs were not in any way wired up. The man was a true genius.

As a writer, though, it is the legend of Tesla which interests me, as my planned novel will have some Steampunk elements, although, I believe, the correct term is Teslapunk. The novel will feature things which he claimed to have invented, and other things which he only theorised about, rather than built. The novel will have Tesla’s flying machine, where he came up with what sounded like a flying saucer: no propeller, but powered by electricity, in a similar form to ion-propelled craft.

There would be his teleforce weapon, which was called a death ray by some. This directed energy weapon was never developed at the time. Tesla could not get any of the armies of the free world interested in it. He began working on it in the 1900s, so it will be within the time frame of my novel. Anyway, as I will be writing what is effectively science fiction, I will be moving some of his later ideas back a few years, just so that they can be featured.

Other things claimed for Tesla included a pocket-sized machine which could engineer earthquakes. I say claimed, as people have not been able to replicate Tesla’s experiment. in my novel, of course, such a machine will work. This is one of the good things of being an author – you can reconstruct reality to the way that you want it to be, rather than the way that it is.

Then there was an electric submarine which was never built; and even a thought camera, with Tesla theorising that it might be able to capture mental images with a modified camera. Ah, yes, I think that I will have a thought camera in my work.

Earlier I said credit where credit is due, and that is something which I believe. Therefore I must announce that part of my love for Tesla is due to watching television programmes like Warehouse 13. I haven’t seen or read all of the appearances by Tesla, as he has been in a lot of media, not all of it in English. But, in addition to Warehouse 13, I have seen a portrayal of Tesla in the movie The Prestige, where he was portrayed by David Bowie. I haven’t read the comic The Five Fists of Science, where Tesla battles Edison with the assistance of Mark Twain. But it does sound like the sort of thing which I would enjoy.

I understand that there are groups campaigning to have Tesla restored as being the creator of the radio. That is something of which I am in favour. I must look into those groups and see what they are like. As long as they will give Tesla his due, but without denigrating Marconi, who was another great scientist. But few inventors have been as great as Tesla. As an individual I would put him up there with Archimedes and Leonardo da Vinci, such has his influence been on our daily lives.

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