Jumper book cover.jpg

Jumper is a 1992 science fiction novel written by Steven Gould. The novel was published in mass market paperback in October 1993 and re-released in February 2008 to coincide with the release of the film adaptation. It tells the story of David, a teenager who escapes an abusive household using his ability to teleport. As he tries to make his way in the world, he searches for his mother (who left when he was a child), develops a relationship with a woman from whom he keeps his ability secret, and is eventually brought into conflict with several antagonists.

Plot[edit | edit source]

One evening, while being physically abused by his father, David Rice unexpectedly teleports (or "jumps") and finds himself in the local library The origin of this power is never explained. Vowing never to return to his father's house, David makes his way to New York City. After being mugged and discovering that he can't get a job without a birth certificate and social security number, David robs a local bank by teleporting inside the safe, stealing nearly a million dollars. He then begins a life of reading, attending plays and dining in fancy restaurants.

Davy meets Millie Harrison a college student at a Broadway revival show of Sweeney Todd in New York. He is instantly smitten with her. During the show, Millie explains that she is staying in the city for the rest of that week. She says that she has to go back to Oklahoma State in two weeks and that she is majoring in Psychology. After the show Davy spots Millie outside of the theater.

He hails her a cab and asks her to join him. Millie accepts Davy's offer through she is unsure what to make of his persistence.

It takes Millie a long time to agree to see Davy as nothing more than a young acquaintance.

She is extremely apprehensive to start any kind of relationship with Davy.

Millie is uncertain because she is 22 and he is 18, and she doesn't know how to feel about being in a serious relationship with someone so young.

Davy attempts to show her how mature he really is. He tags along with Millie as she goes to all of the famous New York tour spots. Davy also buys her dinners along with seeing a few more plays and Broadway shows.

While Millie is grateful for all of this, she is still wary about getting too involved with Davy because of the age gap.

She says will consider a relationship with Davy and leaves for Oklahoma at the end of the week.

For the next few weeks the couple communicates by phone and she soon invites him as her date to a college party in Oklahoma. Davy happily accepts.

They meet face-to-face at the airport, their reunion is awkward, as Millie feels pressure to sleep with Davy to balance out his kind gesture of flying all the way out to Stillwater.

Davy quickly reassures her that although the thought of them being together crossed his mind the only reason he came to Oklahoma was to attend the party with her.

Millie is reassured and promises to keep the idea of a more intimate relationship between them a possibility. They then leave the airport, have dinner on the road and go to the party

During the party Davy comes to Millie's defense from Mark a ex-boyfriend of hers.

They briefly fight but he quickly jumps Mark to a airport just outside of Stillwater.

Finally seeing him in a serious way Millie impressed takes Davy back to her apartment.

As they are drinking tea she asks Davy why he never talks about himself. Anxious of what she will think of his horrible past Davy hesitates in telling Millie about himself.

She lets this go and tells Davy that he has his right to privacy through if he lies to her about anything no matter what it is whatever they have together is over. Davy promises that he won't.

Finally comfortable, Davy then opens up about his past through he doesn't tell her about robbing the Chemical Bank of New York or about his ability to jump. When Davy is done telling Millie about himself the two consummate their relationship, with Davy losing his virginity to Millie.

Afterward, the two officially start seeing each other, over time he buys an apartment near Millie's in Stillwater however he doesn't tell her this.

"You lied to me. You betrayed me. I told you what that means." ~ Millie's words to Davy when she breaks up with him in the book

One day when Millie calls Davy's apartment in New York a NYPD detective answers this alarms her.

Later when Davy visits her Millie is furious when Davy cannot give explanation as to why the detective called his apartment in New York and immediately breaks up with him.

Davy angry and hurt over their breakup teleports right in front of a stunned Millie.

The couple remain distant for five months.

However, when Davy discovers that terrorists have killed his mother he writes a note to Millie to help him deal with the greiving process.She writes him back and they slowly start to reconcile. Two weeks since their last correspondence she agrees to meet with Davy. He shows her he can teleport and jumps her to the Waverly Inn. Over dinner at the Inn Davy admits to her that he robbed the Chemical Bank of New York.

"It doesn't change the fact that I still love you. I've missed you terribly. I've missed your phone calls, and I've missed your body in bed next to me. I don't know what to do about this. My love, you goes way beyond my disapproval of your theft." ~ Millie expressing her love for Davy despite his lying to her.

Regardless of fact, she doesn't approve of his robbing of the bank she says that her love for him out weighs her disapproval.

Millie and Davy then re-start their relationship.

This experience has profound effects on all four of them. David finds himself unable to kill his captives despite their crimes against him and ultimately releases them. David turns Matar over to the authorities, threatening to come after him again if he isn't found guilty for his crimes. His father is forced to acknowledge his abuse of David and Mary and enters alcoholic counseling. Cox is forced to see the similarities between his actions and those of the terrorist and the wife-beating alcoholic, and has Millie released and agrees to stop hunting David.

Afterward, Millie comforts David as he realizes that he cannot escape his pain through teleportation or vigilante action, and he enters counseling as well.

Reception[edit | edit source]

Jumper was well-received by many critics and won five awards.

Controversy[edit | edit source]

In 1992, the novel was banned from many school libraries due to the mature subject matter in the beginning pages because of the depictions of domestic violence and attempted rape. The ban was eventually lifted in 1999.

Adaptations[edit | edit source]

A film by the same title, released on February 14, 2008, directed by Doug Liman, with a screenplay adapted by David S. Goyer, Jim Uhls and Simon Kinberg. It starred Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell, and Diane Lane. The beginning of the film follows the early plot of the novel with respect to David's home life and discovery of jumping, but from there follows David's life as an adult and expands upon a different story. Most of the characters are presented in modified ways from the book, and there is an entirely new major character, Griffin O'Conner, another jumper. Also new are a group of people called Paladins, whose sole purpose in the world is to hunt down and kill jumpers, their claimed justification for doing so on religious grounds, with the Brian Cox character (renamed Roland Cox) being the group's leader and the principal antagonist in the film instead of an NSA agent.

A new novel was written as a tie-in to the movie, titled Jumper: Griffin's Story. This book gives the backstory of the new character, and as noted in an introduction by the author, is not entirely consistent with the original Jumper or with Reflex and is considered non-canon.

A sequel TV series to the movie based on the novel Impulse was released on Youtube Red subscription service in 2017-2018. 

In August 2017, there were reports that a possible TV reboot of Jumper was in the works. Jamie Bell, the actor who portrayed Griffin in the film adaptation, was confirmed to be working on it. As of May 2020, however, nothing had been done.

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