Impulse: At long last, a new Jumper novel from Steven Gould

After a delay of too many years, Steven Gould has penned another Jumper novel. Impulse picks up where the excellent Reflex left off, with Davy and Millie -- a couple who possess the power to teleport -- living in exile, hiding away from the sadistic, power-hungry plutocrats who would enslave them and use them to increase their corrupt power.

But now Davy and Millie have an adolescent daughter, Cent (short for Millicent), and she's not happy living in an isolated cabin in the Yukon with a pair of teleports who are her only means of getting to civilization. Though there are some perks: when Mom and Dad take her shopping, it's as apt to be in Tokyo or Sydney as at the local Sears.

Cent's parents are understandably (over)protective of her. They've been hunted like animals, tortured, gassed, shot, by the conspiracy of wealth and privilege that would turn them into property. The last thing they want is for their daughter to be hunted too -- especially since Cent can't teleport.

And then she does. Once Cent comes into the family gift, things change. Her demand to be put into a regular school, to have friends, and a semblance of a normal life, is finally taken seriously by her parents. After all, if Cent doesn't get what she wants, she might just jump away and take it.

What proceeds is a book with the twin geniuses of Steven C Gould novels: first, a plot that roars along at 150mph without a pause for breath (I read Impulse over the course of about three hours, without a break); second, a fantastic, fresh, thoroughgoing explanation of the untapped possibilities of a old science fictional idea made new by an imaginative approach. As with the other Jumper books, Gould plays out the possibilities of teleportation with a combination of physics tutorials and spycraft that is absolutely enthralling.

Watching Cent get into (and out of) trouble, fall in love, battle bullies, and even intervene in humanitarian disasters is a pure delight. Gould shows us that with the right mixture of creativity and rigor, any idea can be spun out in a thousand fascinating ways.

This is a marvellous, if long overdue, installment in a series that I love to pieces. Now, if only Gould would return to his (equally wonderful) Seventh Sigma world!



  1. Are the books better than the movie?
    Because before too long in the movie, I was rooting for Sam Jackson’s character; his plan to kill or Supermax all those annoying teleport-jerks seemed like a pretty good idea.

    1. YES! One of my favorite books ever. I love the way that it deals with “superpowers” as well as the ethics of using them AND the whole issue of child abuse and terrorism. (themes that weren’t really addressed in the movie)

       I went to the SF in SF event a month or so ago and asked him about the movie. ‘Did you get to meet Samuel Jackson?” (Answer, no, but he saw him at the Premier) As a writer who got paid for the rights to the movie, he was pleased it got made. And when someone asked, “Does it bother you that it doesn’t follow the book?” he said, “But the book still exists. It’s not like they stopped printing the book. People can still buy it and read it.” (The book went #1  briefly when the movie came out.)Also, Reflex is great, and deals with the issue of torture and mind control by the government. I’m waiting to get my copy of Impulse, but in the mean time I want to recommend a book by his wife, Laura Mixon-Gould.It’s called Up Against It (listed as by M.J. Locke)It takes place in the future on an asteroid that has a disaster that dumps the colony’s life support materials into space. How they recover and who is behind the disaster drives the plot, but the real fun of the book is the characters and how they deal with  “future ethics” 300 years from now.It reminded me of Charlie Stross’ Iron Sunrise books. Lots of ideas and then people living in a new tech world who are still human, with the same human motivations. Check it out. 

    2. The books are much better than the movie.  In the books, the main character makes some questionable choices but is generally good-hearted rather than the jerk he came off as in the movie. 

      And, overall, the book reads as much more real than the movie… like the traditional SF technique of including ONE fantastic element, and then everything proceeds logically from there.  People react in believable ways.

      It’s YA-targetted (but, upper-age YA as there’s violence and even a bit of sex), and if it has a sin it’s that it edges a little too much towards the ‘adolescent power fantasy’ side of things, but it’s still very good.

  2. The books have _nothing_ to do with the movie. or, more correctly, the movie has almost nothing to do with the original novel, which is one of my all-time favorites. Rather like the movie version of Starship Troopers. *sigh*

  3. Wow, I just started re-reading Jumper at the gym last night. The books “Jumper” and “Relex” are much better than the movie. There was another book “Jumper: Griffin’s Story” that was supposed to be a prequel to the movie to explain the paladin story line that is missing from the other books. It’s not bad, but it’s not related to the first 2 books.

  4. Hmm. Haven’t read the books or seen the movie… but I have to say, I’d be mighty worried about pissing off somebody who can teleport.

  5. That break neck pacing is what soured me on them. I loved the first 3/4 of Jumper, but then it seemed to spin off into “& then this happened, teleport, & this other thing happened.” I liked it enough to read the second one, but the A.D.D. plotting annoyed me.

  6. Finished reading this earlier this week… loved it… still not quite as strong as Jumper, and there are a few weaknesses with the main character (and in fact, most of the sympathetic characters) being too ‘perfect’ in many ways, but I still loved reading it all the way through.

    I’ve heard somewhere that the author is working on another sequel called something like Exo, and if that’s true, like this one, I’ll be ordering it in hardcover as soon as it comes out (which, for me, is quite an endorsement…)

  7. Wonderful book. I snagged it as soon as it appeared on my radar. Very good continuation of the Jumper and Reflex stories. Highly, highly recommended. I especially liked how the third book deals with some of the repercussions to the main character’s psyche from the occurrences in Reflex.

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