Monday, January 07, 2008

I'll be there in a flash

Title: Jumper: Griffin's Story
Author: Steven Gould
Bookmark: I read it in one 5 or 6 hour sitting. By the time I had to take a break to make dinner, I could just lay it open on the chair.

I'm reading these a little out of order, as necessitated by the library's supply.

Jumpers are people with the ability to instantaneously teleport anywhere on Earth. Or maybe anywhere they've ever been before, and can clearly remember. Since most people have only been on Earth, they work out to the same thing. Griffin discovers this ability when he is 5 years old, and his parents have been running with him ever since. He's home-schooled to minimize his secret's exposure, but he takes karate at an after-school program to fulfill the phys ed requirement. His dad takes him on regular trips to desolate, barren areas devoid of other people to practice his skill while Dad shoots paintballs at him so Griff can prepare himself for Them. Somebody tried to run him down in the street just after his first jump. That's why they've been running.

One day after karate a bully in the same class comes after Griff, and in a moment of reflex, he jumps (his kind, not ours). The bully sees Griff disappear, and for some reason tells an authority figure about it instead of keeping it to himself. Non-bully behavior, but it's the real kickoff of the story. Griff has four rules to follow on jumping, set down by his parents, and he breaks at least two of them in that incident.

That night, They come for him and his parents are killed. Griff, injured in three places and leaking blood, goes on the run. He is nine years old.

He spends the rest of the book trying to live his life and not let Them end it. He transforms from a sweet, innocent kid who continues his own home-schooling and re-enrolls in a new karate dojo to a young man capable of some pretty creative imprisonment and interrogation techniques. I had some trouble deciding whether it was an adult book (as it was shelved), or a teens' book (he's only 16 at the end of the story, and it's pretty light reading, despite the occasional heavy matter of people who hunt down little kids or kill one person to get to another). I've decided it's a book aimed at a sequel to the movie, which is the real reason I started reading these. The disclaimer at the start of the book even points out that stories often evolve and transform a bit in translation from book to movie, and this book fits more with the movie's world than with the world of the other two books (it was written third, but fits in the timeline pretty close to the first. The character of Griffin was, I believe, created just for the movie)

Life-changing? No, but I'd really like to have this kid's ability. It would solve an awful lot of problems for me right now, and you can go anywhere. The downside, of course, is being hunted by Them, but I said I wanted his ability--not his life.

The next two are on my reserve list at the library. Hopefully I'll get them in order.

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posted by reyn at 7:32 AM


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