Fiction Tad Wise Tesla: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9781878685360

Tesla: A Novel

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9781878685360: Tesla: A Novel

The true father of radio, and the inventor of fluorescent lighting, remote control, and robotics, Nikola Tesla (1856-1942) opened the door to the modern world. Now, in the tradition of Ragtime, a vibrant and compelling historical novel about the bizarre and tragic life of one of the great scientific minds of all time.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

An absorbing but ultimately unsatisfying fictionalized biography of the true father of radio and inventor of fluorescent lighting, remote control, and robotics. Nikola Tesla was the ideal American immigrant: energetic, determined, and brilliant. After working briefly for Edison, he became the resident genius at Westinghouse, churning out patent after patent, inventing neon, radar, and possibly a death ray that may have been the early forerunner of the Strategic Defense Initiative (aka Star Wars). Wise's first novel both obscures and clarifies its subject. The author acknowledges his debt to Tesla's five biographers, but he could profitably have taken a little more liberty with the known facts. Wise tantalizingly dangles ideas about certain aspects of the inventor's personality--hinting that Tesla's lifelong celibacy may have been due to underlying homosexuality, for example--but never even theorizes about such crucial matters as his belief in the merits of sleep deprivation, his psychic and hypnotic abilities, and his efforts to communicate with extraterrestrials. These exotic practices resulted in the once celebrated and wealthy Tesla spending his last days hounded by the FBI, roosting in a seedy hotel with hundreds of pigeons. Wise's gifts as a novelist are many. He brings to life an assortment of characters, from Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse to Stanford White, J.P. Morgan, and Mark Twain. He captures Tesla's sharp hunger to succeed both as an artist of invention and as a member of New York City's social elite. What he doesn't capture are the psychological forces that drove this complex man. The perfect gift for a bright 12-year-old: a colorful, eventful life with most of the sex and all of the religious torment left out. Adults may want to look for a good biography instead. (First printing of 25,000) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Wise's engrossing and moving biographical novel of Croatian-born American inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) restores the luster to a visionary genius considered by many to be the true father of the electrical age. The son of a Serbian Orthodox priest who saw the dandified prodigy as a nihilistic blasphemer, Tesla went to work in 1884 in Thomas Edison's Manhattan factory, entrusting his brainchildren to his employer. But eventually he struck out on his own and, with George Westinghouse's backing, proved his alternating-current dynamo (upon which modern electricity is based) superior to Edison's direct-current system. Radio, X-rays, arc lighting, robotics, a particle-beam "death ray" and other inventions and blueprints poured from the fertile brain of this driven, grandiose, difficult eccentric who gave himself electrical "infusions" to boost energy and induce euphoria. In his first novel, Wise limns a marvelously evocative picture of trolley car-era New York City and of the dawn of the modern age as he charts Tesla's friendship with Mark Twain and his dealings with J. P. Morgan. When Tesla died, a penurious hermit in a seedy NYC hotel, the federal government--in Wise's telling--confiscated his personal effects. In an epilogue, the author calls on the FBI, CIA, KGB and other agencies to open their files so the world can determine the true extent of Tesla's scientific contributions. 25,000 first printing.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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