It’s interesting when a book takes place in real time. Jumper was published in 1992 and was of it’s time. It didn’t have an overly dependent use on technology or anything else to date it, but the air of early 90’s was on it. Taking place 10 years later, and released 12 years later in 2004, Stephen Gould’s Reflex continues the story of David Rice, the only person in the world who can teleport.
David’s now married to his wife Millie. They both spend a lot of time in their secret cave/home. In Jumper, David found a cave located mid way up a desert bluff. Short of having some serious climbing gear, it is impossible to access, unless you can teleport. Since the last novel, David’s been working for the NSA under his handler Brian Cox, the person tracking him in the first novel. This doesn’t last long, as they’re attacked at the onset of the book. Cox is killed and David is kidnapped. Millie is left in their cave, trapped.
The aspect of this book that I enjoyed the most was the smart and interesting direction Gould evolved the teleporting ability. David is trapped, shackled and chained inside a bathtub, unable to teleport away. In between his mysterious captors trying to condition and break him, David starts training himself. Learning new tricks with his teleportation. The chain clamped at his ankles keeps him within the same 4 foot radius. David begins trying to teleport as quickly as he can between a 1 foot space. He becomes so good at this, it’s as if he’s existing in two places at once.
The writing in this part was done particularly well. Showing something like this would be easy in a visual medium, but describing it in prose is a different matter. Explaining how David essentially existed in two places at once, and what it was like to see and process both images was thought provoking.
There was a great deal that happened in this book, following both David and Millie. After several days with no word from David, Millie decides to try and leave their cave. Luckily, there were provisions, along with a ladder for just such emergencies. While descending, she slips and plummets. Before colliding with the ground below, she teleports to safety. Millie surmises that everyone can teleport, once they train themselves how. Considering she’s done it so many times with David, she did it reflexively. After some practice, she begins searching for her husband.
I loved the natural extension of the teleportation abilities. Taking something a concept that’s somewhat common place, and smartly extending and expounding on it is an element I always enjoy in fiction. Especially when it follows logically as this did. Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot more than Jumper only because this kept me engaged throughout minus any lulls like the first book had. I really recommend this book.
The next book in the series is Impulse (2013), focusing on the couples daughter.
Which was better, Jumper or Reflex? Like how Gould added to the teleportation ability? Comment below, on Facebook, or Twitter! You can now see my Saturday Morning Cartoon posts at The Two-Headed Nerd!
At least there wasn’t a movie.