Monday, January 21, 2008

at least he's not jumping the shark.

Title: Jumper
Author: Steven Gould

Bookmark: ticket stub from a western starring an Aussie and a Welshman

Gould seems to adhere to a "shock and awe" premise for opening chapters. In the last book I read by him, the kid's parents get killed and he ends up out in the world on his own at age nine. Various other bad things continue to happen to him. In this book, young Davy is about to get the shit beat out of him with the buckle end of his abusive alcoholic father's belt when he "jumps" for the first time. He doesn't even believe the instantaneous teleportation is real, believing instead that he blacked out, or somehow blocked the memory of his dad beating him senseless. He spends two weeks hitching rides and running away, until a trucker offers him a ride, then attempts to gang-rape young Davy with his buddies. Davy jumps again. That was page 8.

Davy, age 17 when he starts his tale, maintains his youthful innocence much longer than Griffin (see above link). Except for the bank-robbing part. It still takes him a while to really get the hang of his talent, and he gets mugged once or twice, threatened many other times, but starts developing very unique and creative ways of dealing with his various adversities. He really comes into his own when, at the tender age of 18, he becomes a superhero (this word is never actually used, but what else do you call someone who uses the ability to instantaneously teleport to foil hijackers?). Good stuff.

Now for the psychological profiling.

Do all of Gould's characters become involved with older women, or just the jumpers? A much bigger deal is made of that in this book, although Griffin is actually (to varying degrees) involved with two different older women at different times in the book. Is it Jumpers? Is it Gould? I checked; his wife is younger than he is. I like to think this wouldn't hold quite the fascination for me if it weren't so consistent. Both Jumpers lost their mom at an early age (Davy's mom ran away two years before he did)--are they looking for surrogates? A lot of comparisons and connections are drawn between Millie (Davy's love) and his mom--enough to seem a little weird. Does that mean the NSA agent who tracks Davy (and ends up working with him between this book and the next) is the replacement father figure? Griffin has a pretty obvious replacement dad, though I didn't mention him in that review.

Finally, I'm getting pretty irritated by Tor. I'm halfway through Reflex (the second book in this series, but the third I've read) right now, and the publisher has proved consistent across all three of these books: I don't think anyone is proofreading them. There are a LOT of typos and misspellings. It's worse in Griffin's Story, because he's a polyglot, providing them with a chance to spell things poorly in three different languages. If I can tell your Spanish and French is wrong, then you've really screwed up. Reflex bugs me because they keep misspelling the name of the main character. FOCUS, PEOPLE!!

(one last random connection--during my freshman year at college, I had a friend with a fixation on Third Eye Blind's "Jumper," leaving me with an inability to see the cover of this book without thinking "wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend.")

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posted by reyn at 7:21 AM


Blogger ~e said...

many sci-fi publishers could do with more editors.

did you know this is going to be a movie shortly?

1/26/2008 11:55 PM  

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