Creating My Own Nemesis Review
John Wardley is a world renown roller coaster designer. His most famous creation is the terrain hugging inverted coaster, Nemesis, at Alton Towers in the United Kingdom. John recently released his autobiography, appropriately titled “Creating My Own Nemesis.” The story follows John’s professional career beginning with how he got out of the boring family business and into the crazy world of theme parks. Out of the countless fascinating stories, two really stood out to me:
When it was time to test Vampire, the new Arrow suspended roller coaster at Chessington World of Adventures, John deliberately spread the rumor that the ride would begin testing the following afternoon while secretly arranging to run it for the first time late that night. Turns out, this was a great decision because the train stalled didn’t make it around the circuit. The engineers made the mistake of not filling the train with sand bags where the extra weight is needed to give the train added momentum to overcome the stiff wheel-bearings.
We’ve heard so many sensational stories in the media lately about how potentially dangerous amusement park rides are, so it was very refreshing to read a story about how a roller coaster may have actually saved a young girl’s life! Emma Bassett had a huge brain tumor and was probably hours from death had she not ridden Colossus at Thorpe Park. The ride on the ten inversion coaster redistributed fluid in her skull, relieving pressure on her brain that made it possible to live until she had two operations. John was stunned when he learned the news during a film shoot.
Creating My Own Nemesis also include details about: his time working on some of the most incredible special effects in the James Bond films, how they came up with the name Nemesis, Professor Burp’s Bubbleworks at Chessington World’s of Adventure (video below), the development of the flying coaster, and more. The Smiler is the last attraction John worked on before announcing his retirement.
I do have two small complaints about Creating My Own Nemesis:
1. John talks about some amazing magic tricks he performed but only explains how a few of them work. Such a tease!
2. It’s too short! I didn’t want the book to end.
If by any degree you’re into magic, illusions, theater production, theme park design, or roller coasters I highly recommend you read this thoroughly entertaining book. Available in paperback and Kindle editions from Amazon.com.