Thursday, 21 February 2008

‘Jumper: Griffin’s Story’ – Steven Gould (Tor Books)


So, you’re an author who’s written a pretty cool novel about teleportation and it’s been given the Hollywood treatment. The thing is though, the film is nothing like the book you wrote and now you’ve been approached to write a ‘prequel’ novel dealing with one of the characters from the film. It has to tie in with the plot of the film and, because that plot is vastly different from the original book, you are looking at one hell of a continuity issue. Steven Gould does the only thing that he can possibly do in this situation, he adds a note at the beginning of the book which basically says that this novel was written to be consistent with the movie so certain things are going to be different. Things are different (and sometimes not for the better) but as Kendall said in his comment next to my review of ‘Jumper’, “think of the prequel book and the movie as being an alternate universe version of Jumper” and you won’t go too far wrong ;o)
I still haven’t seen the movie but apparently there’s a character called Griffin who’s waging war against the people trying to kill Jumpers. ‘Griffin’s Story’, funnily enough, is the tale of Griffin’s life as a Jumper and why he is the way you see him in the film.
Having just read ‘Jumper’ it was immediately apparent that ‘Griffin’s Story’ is basically a carbon copy of the first book; a boy discovers teleportation powers and has to stay one step ahead of his pursuers while trying to live a normal life. While it’s an entertaining read I couldn’t really escape from the feeling that I’d seen this all before and it had been done better the first time round. While we’re introduced to Griffin’s character we don’t get the same sense of development as we did with David’s character in ‘Jumper’. It’s almost as if it’s assumed that we’ll get all the character development we need in the film and the only purpose of the book is to fill in the gaps. What we get then is a main character who comes across as somewhat one dimensional, maybe this is a result of things that happen to him but it still makes for a frustrating read. The rules of teleportation still apply but Gould still occasionally makes the mistake of using teleportation as a ‘get out of jail free’ card to get Griffin whatever he needs. Some of the situations Griffin gets into a bit far-fetched as well. I can imagine an eleven year old coming up with the idea of living underground to escape pursuit. I can even imagine him stealing explosives to block off any entrances but what I cannot imagine is an eleven year old having the knowledge and skills to set these explosives off properly. Of course, Griffin was ‘home schooled’ so that’s ok…
‘Griffin’s Story’ was a fun read but one that was ultimately flawed for me. I think it could work for you if you’d seen the film, and wanted to know more about the character, but if you haven’t then I’d suggest just sticking with the original book.

Five out of Ten

1 comment:

kendall said...

I was thinking of reading this book just before seeing the movie, but after reading your suggestion, I'm thinking yeah, maybe wait till after, like you said. (As seldom as I see movies in the theatre, I'll probably see this one on DVD anyway.)

BTW I can't take credit for the "alternate universe" comment ;-), but I forget where I read it (or something like it)...might've even been something from Gould himself.