Jumper is mostly only known in the public conscious (if at all) thanks to a disgustingly bad movie. Seriously, don’t even bother looking it up. While the first act followed the book well enough, the rest of the movie had nothing to do with the book. At all. Let’s not talk about that. Instead, let’s discuss the far superior book. Superior in this case is only a relative term, as the book still has some issues as well.
Released in 1992, Jumper was written by Stephen Gould and tells the story of David Rice. David lived with is father, who abused him constantly. The abuse continued through high school until one day, almost by reflex, David teleported away. The book never really explains how he is able to do this, other than it’s something he just did, and practices cultivating. After teleporting away from this father, David decides to never go back, and moves to New York. Finding that he couldn’t get a job without a birth certificate or social security number, he opts to teleport into a bank safe, and steals a million dollars.
From there he lives the high life in New York for a while, attending plays and dining. On one of these outings, he meets a college girl named Millie, who was there on break from school. Millie eventually goes back to school in Stillwater, Oklahoma. David gets an apartment down the road from her. At a party, he meets her boy friend, who picks a fight with David. Getting him alone, David teleports him away. Millie felt bad for David, and invites him back to her place for the night. The two then begin a relationship.
The first two acts of the book is mostly as I described above. I enjoyed reading it as it felt like something I could empathize with. He felt alone in the world, and tried to do good, while keeping to himself and not letting people find out about his abilities. His teleporting powers, while firmly planted in science-fiction, were just on the other side of unbelievability. I really enjoy stories where there’s something that’s complete fantasy, but handled in a realistic way. A good example of this is the movie Chronicle. It’s all in the execution.
The third act is where it lost me a bit. Part of the story involves David trying to find his mother, who he hasn’t seen in years. Eventually, he locates her, and learns she left because she was abused as well. Any communication she sent was intercepted by the dad. They reconciled, but it was short lived. She was killed on a flight by terrorists. David then goes to Algeria to look for the terrorist and kill him. This gets the NSA’s attention, who’s been monitoring him, and they begin chasing him. There’s a je ne sais quoi to the last part of the a book, something I can’t put my finger on that lost me a bit. It wasn’t bad, but I cared less.
The sequel, Reflex, continues with Millie and David as adults. Overall, I enjoyed this story more than the original. Jumper was a good start and still worth a read. The next book in the series, Impulse, continues the series with their teenage daughter, Cent. I haven’t read the 3rd book as of this writing, but will soon.
Jumper is a good sci-fi series that grounds much of it’s concepts in reality. Each book is a simple read that could be knocked out in a day or two. While I had some issues with Jumper, it’s still a good start.
Criss Cross’ll make ya…