Fiction Reviews


Jumper: Griffin's Story

(2008) Steven Gould, Harper Voyager, 6.99, pbk, 286 pp, ISBN 078-0-007-2-7600-4

 

Griffin O'Connor was only five years old when he discovered he could teleport. The second time it happened his parents had to leave Britain for the US. Yet his (non-teleporting) father helped him practice his skills in secret. But when he was nine and he accidentally jumped (teleported), a few days later a team of men burst into his home and killed his parents. Griffin jumped to escape. It soon became clear that a shadowy group were after him, but why and who were they?

Jumper: Griffin's Story is a spin-off -- a prequel -- to the 2008, Doug Liman directed film Jumper whose original release saw not bad first couple of weeks box office take. The film itself is inspired by Gould's original novel Jumper (1992). This original novel could be thought of as quasi prequel to the film and a parallel story to Griffin's Story; though the original novel does not have a secret organization dedicated to hunting jumpers.

It has to be said that Gould's original novel is written with greater thought and style than Jumper: Griffin's Story. This spin-off novelization is far lighter, more fast-paced, more event than character or plot-driven. It is a bit of a romp though leaves some questions unanswered that the film picks up on. Having said that the film itself has a number of loose ends and has the feel of a pilot for either sequels or even a TV series.

My one minor irritation with this spin-off is that I do wish that Gould had allowed someone who has spent a lot of time in London, the setting of a number of chapters, to go over his manuscript's rough draft. Gould may have even visited this city but it is clear that he has never lived there for sufficient time to be considered a Londoner and his character would handled matters differently. They are only small errors but easily enough to niggle if you are familiar with the place.

I have no hesitation in recommending the original novel Jumper. And, even though for my money this Griffin's Story spin-off is inferior, fans of the film will enjoy it hugely. Indeed we all ought to be thankful that Steven Gould has been asked to do this novelizations for it could so easily have been botched. Easy to read, fast-paced, and with a low word count, this offering will satisfy any SF reader on a long train journey or beach somewhere. Even those who read the original novel, which I think is a bit of a minor classic, will find it hard to unduly fault this media offshoot.

Jonathan Cowie


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