3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Tesla’s Signal by L. Woodswalker is a rather hard book to classify into a genre. On the one hand, it’s historical fiction, following the life of Nikola Tesla. On another hand, it’s a fast-paced science fiction romp, full of aliens and inventions which push the bounds of reality. On yet a third hand, it’s a question of “what if”: What if Nikola Tesla really had encountered aliens? What if he had some means of harnessing lightning with the power of his mind? What if those aliens he encountered had enemies with a terrible plan for humanity? This is not at all a serious book, and I have to admit, it at times pushed the bounds of my suspension of disbelief along with those of reality. However, it was a very enjoyable read, and I’m glad to give it 3 out of 4 stars.
The book begins with Nikola Tesla as a boy being struck by a bolt of lightning. This does not kill him, as anyone might expect. Instead, it opens up a strange power in him, giving him the ability to see currents of electricity and to act as something of a conductor for lightning, containing electricity in his body before releasing it at will. This power serves him well as he invents things like the Tesla coil, but for a time, it is the only real derivation from history as we know it. He travels to America and tries to get a job from Thomas Edison, but Edison proves to be an utterly terrible employer, and Tesla soon moves on to make his own laboratory, despite numerous attempts by Edison to ruin him. Soon enough, however, history begins to change again, when Tesla is contacted by a group of aliens who have moved beyond the boundaries of physical existence and can communicate through thoughts. The benevolent aliens who contact Tesla are not the only ones which have passed near Earth, however, and before long Tesla finds himself fighting to save all of humanity, relying only on the aid of a mysterious young woman named Clara Epps.
By far my favorite part of this book was the historical research which went into it. Woodswalker made a few little changes here and there, but on the whole, the book was so beautifully researched that I was perfectly willing to forgive a few changed dates here and there for the sake of the story. The portrayal of Thomas Edison in particular amused me, as did the little nods to other historical figures of the time. This, of course, is because I have a great fondness for historical trivia; even disregarding that particular quirk of mine, the story itself is wonderful. It never slows down, even for a moment, and the characters are delightful. Nikola Tesla could hardly be anything else, and Clara is a wonderful secondary character, sharp and fierce and fearless, but human nevertheless.
The book is hardly perfect, and I did find myself with a few complaints. As I mentioned before, I sometimes had trouble believing everything that happened. In any science fiction book, a bit of suspension of disbelief is always necessary, but there were times when I found myself unable to suspend my disbelief far enough to completely lose myself in the story. The main problem may have come from pacing. Moving quickly can be both a blessing and a curse: I didn’t once get bored, but I do think the plot could have stood to pause for a moment and take a little more time to reach its destination.
If you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, though, or are simply looking for a wild historical ride full of aliens and mad science, definitely take a look at this book. I enjoyed it a great deal, and I have no doubt that anyone looking for a fun story will as well.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like RussetDivinity's review? Post a comment saying so!