Jan Stafford Kellis

The Invention of Everything Else

This novelized version of Nikola Tesla’s last days provides a painless history lesson and a glimpse of what might have been, had his lab been suitably funded to build everything he imagined. It’s disconcerting to contemplate the possibilities of free, wireless electricity for everyone (surely that would have been impossible, right?) and the numerous patents and inventions for which he didn’t receive credit. Tesla’s fictional encounters with a curious chamber maid at the Hotel New Yorker are interspersed with his reveries, hallucinations and imaginings. I found myself wishing I could meet and converse with Mr. Tesla.

Tesla’s personal views on love (a distraction that detracts from thought and innovation), vegetarianism (for it), and capitalism (against it) as well as his obsessive-compulsive tendencies (the number 3 and germs) captured him in a realistic dimension.

The only part I didn’t enjoy, and the reason I’m giving this review four rather than five stars, is the storyline about the chamber maid’s home life and father, particularly the part about the time machine. This portion of the story weakened the impact of the overall book.