Reflex: brilliant, page-turning sequel to Jumper

Steven Gould's Jumper was one of the great sf novels of the 1990s — one of those rare books that can be read either as a young adult novel or a book for adults; like Ender's Game or vintage Heinlein.

The story concerns Davy Rice, a young man from a flyover state who is about to receive a beating from his alcoholic father when he flinches away and discovers that he can teleport. The story is a really thorough working-over of all the ins and outs of what being a teleport would really mean, as Davy goes from picked-on kid to terrorist-fighter who's being chased by the NSA.

Gould is a master of many things, but first and foremost, he's the king of pacing. I've read Jumper half a dozen times, each time after the first only intending to find a beloved passage and getting sucked into reading the book from cover to cover.

Now there's a sequel to Jumper, called Reflex, and last night I ended up burning about two hours' worth of jealously hoarded sleep-time to finish this thing.

Like Jumper, Reflex is a snappy, cracking yarn that you will be hard-pressed to put down. Like Jumper, it is a thoroughgoing exploration of the implications of teleportation, and like Jumper, it is a relatively subtle and interesting investigation into the nature of terrorism, anti-terrorism, power and atrocity.

Reflex concerns itself mostly with the travails of Millie, Davy's girlfriend from Jumper, now his wife of ten years. She's as strong and likable a female character as Davy is a male hero, making this a perfect bookend to book one.

This kind of book doesn't come along all that often, and when it does, it's cause for celebration — run, don't walk.