Science Fiction


Written by: Steven Gould

Published By: TOR

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            When I first saw the previews for the movie, Jumper, I just knew that this movie was going to be a fun and exciting adventure.  As action films go, I found Jumper to be just what I was hoping for.  However, I did notice a great many holes in the storyline.  Still, it was an enjoyable experience for me, so when some folks started bashing the film, I couldnít understand why.  I kept hearing that the novel the movie was based on was soooo much better than the film, so I decided to pick up a copy.  I now understand the reason for all of the criticism.

            Jumper by Steven Gould is about a young man named David Rice who first learns that he can teleport after being subjected to trauma.  Living with an alcoholic abusive father (his mother left them when David was young), David eventually decides to use his power to teleport to leave this horrible situation and make a better life for himself.  He eventually uses his power to rob a bank, ensuring that he will not be homeless.  He falls in love with a woman named Millie.  Thatís basically where the similarities between movie and novel end.

            In the film, David Rice is rather cocky about his abilities.  In the novel, there is a certain cockiness that comes eventually, but not enough to make David an unlikable character.  In fact, in Steven Gouldís Jumper, David Rice is always seeking acceptance of some kind Ė from his new girlfriend, from his mother and from society in general.  He eventually finds a practical albeit dangerous way to use his powers, trying his hand at inflicting some justice around him.  His first attempts put him at odds with local law enforcement.  His later attempts get him noticed by the Federal Government, attention that David neither wants nor needs.  As the government attempts to get a handle on David and his powers, things become more intense, threatening the safety of the people in Davidís life.

            I now understand what the movie-goers were complaining about.  The movie kept the basic premise of the novel, but didnít really follow the novel at all.  The movieís David Rice was cocky and all about himself.  The novelís David was young and naÔve, seeking out love and approval.  The novelís David finds a calling that is extremely admirable, whereas in the movie, David is all about survival.

            I found Steven Gouldís novel to be incredibly intriguing Ė so much so that I finished the book in a matter of a couple of days.  Minus the teleportation abilities, the character of David Rice is someone that anybody can relate to Ė a young man looking for acceptance in a harsh world.  Who hasnít wished once or twice that they could just transport themselves out of a situation?  I know Iíve wished for that power quite often in my lifetime.  Steven Gould writes the main character in first person point of view, creating the illusion that David is actually talking to us.  I could actually hear Davidís voice as he told me of his adventures in such a descriptive way that I could completely visualize every moment.

            So engrossed was I in reading Jumper that any minor disturbance would earn a look of extreme annoyance coupled with a loud, frustrated sigh of disgust.  This novel is perfect for any science fiction fan, young or old, though I do have to caution parents that there are some graphic scenes described that may not be suitable for very young children. 

            Once I reached the final page of Jumper I celebratedÖand then I realized the ride was over.  Happily, I discovered that David Riceís story continues in the novel Reflex.  I also learned that Steven Gould wrote a novel about another young man with teleportation powers.  Jumper: Griffinís Story features a character found in the movie version of Jumper and was written in an effort to give insight into that particular character.  So I see that I have a great deal of catching up to do where it concerns Jumpers.  I canít wait to hit my local bookstoreÖteleportation powers would come in handy right about now!


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