Alexandra Duncan

Science Fiction. Fantasy. Feminism.


I was listening to the radio show Studio 360 on NPR last Saturday, and I caught a program devoted to Nikola Tesla and his inventions, both functional and bizarre.

You can listen to the entire program here, but my favorite spot is the one involving Tesla's Death Ray (yes, he actually called it that) and its role in the Cold War:

I wasn't aware of how strange and interesting Tesla was until Jeremy and I saw The Prestige last year. David Bowie's portrayal of Tesla in the movie was surprisingly understated and well-acted. Considering all of the deeply strange things the man did in his life, I suppose the filmmakers would have been accused of exaggerating if they hadn't played his weirdness down a bit.

This radio encounter was part of my Weird Week of Synchronicity, in which Jeremy wore his "What would Tesla do?" shirt on the same day of the Studio 360 broadcast, a selection from "Carmen" came on the classical music station the morning after we had discussed the opera with my family, and I found out that a local comic book shop was vacating its downtown storefront the day after a friend told me that she was looking for retail space downtown and thought that if the comic store ever moved out, she would love to rent their space.

(cue Twilight Zone music)

If you don't have time to listen to the whole broadcast on Tesla, do listen to the excerpt above and this one, about Mark Twain and Tesla's X-ray machine, which is equally interesting and weird:

(Mark Twain in Tesla's lab)

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