Monday, September 5, 2011

Jumper by Steven Gould

Reading Hammock’s Rating:
3 1/2
Fiction Genre:
Steven Gould
Author Website:
Publication Date:
August, 1992
Tor Books
Hardcover | Digital | Paperback | Audio

Author Synopsis:

Davy Rice has a unique genetic trait: he can teleport. To survive, Davy must learn to use and control his power. 

My review:

After watching the movie “Jumper”, based on Steven Gould’s novel, I decided to read it so that I could explore which medium better conveys the unusual plotline.  “Jumper” is a story about a seventeen year old boy named David Rice, who discovers he can “jump” away from his drunken, abusive father to seek sanctuary at the local library.  Since David can move from one place to another, to wherever he desires, he runs away from home to explore the world.  I was quickly drawn into the novel because the overall concept of being able to teleport oneself is intriguing and I was also curious to see what David would do with his power. 

David uses his teleporting ability to target “jump” sites throughout the world.  In the process, he learns that his long lost mother died in a terrorist attack.  David is determined to avenge her assassin.  He is targeted by The National Security Agency because of his unusual “jumping” activities.  They are intent on capturing him to examine his unique capability.  When David’s beloved girlfriend, Millie, is captured by the National Security Agency, he struggles to choose between revenging his mother’s killer and saving his girlfriend. 

In the novel, the author focuses on David’s internal struggles whereas in the movie, many new characters are introduced in order to create an action packed plot.  Although I somewhat enjoyed this novel, it did not reach my expectations after watching the movie.  At times, Gould’s entangled plotline confuses the reader while the movie better resembles a fast paced science fiction story. 

Gould cleverly builds his story around the concept of teleporting, or as he explains it, “jumping” from country to country and city to city, in just seconds.  Although David has a power only attainable in dreams, Gould’s casual and personal tone allows the reader to feel as though they are David, and can “jump” anywhere in the world.  Throughout the story Gould expresses David’s exhilarated feelings mixed with the turmoil of his shattered family life. 

I think that in order to enjoy this book, one has to love the genre of science fiction.   Overall, Gould had a captivating idea but did not execute it as well as he could have. 

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