I watched Jumper last week. I was okay, but just. It served to fill a block a time that I needed to fill, but I wouldn’t have been pleased if I’d postponed something to see the film. Something bothered me afterwards, though. It felt to me that the story had so much more potential than the film realized.

I bought a number of books as Christmas presents and while I was in the bookstore, I noticed a book called Jumper, by Steven Gould. It was first published in 1992. Given what Hollywood often does to good novels, I picked it up.

Hollywood did indeed do it again. The film bears little resemblance to the film. Only the most basic plot items are used. Everything else is different. It’s amazing to me that they kept the same title. It’s that different. Needless to say, the book was far better. I’ve discovered that there’s a sequel to the original novel, which I’ll certainly be getting. There’s also a novel written by the same author about a character from the film, who doesn’t appear in the original novel. I suppose a man’s gotta eat.

Both the original novel and the film are about David Rice, a young man who realizes he has the innate ability to teleport. All he needs is a memory of the destination. He can’t ‘jump’ to a place he’s never been. His mother left when he was a child and his father’s an abusive alcoholic. Once he discovers his talent, he runs away to New York City. The novel and film part company once David settles on a means of supporting himself. The film concentrates on fluff and special effects and the novel focuses on how David deals with this ability and discovers its limitations.

Which sounds more interesting to you?

Book cover art ©2008 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation