An original novel from Steven Gould, creator of the Jumper series, that tells the back story of Griffin O'Connor, a character created for the film of Jumper.
What if you could jump? Go anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye? What would you do? Where would you go? What if you were only five years old?
Griffin has a secret. It's a secret that he's sworn to his parents to keep, and never tell. Griffin is a Jumper: a person who can teleport to any place he has ever been. The first time was when he was five, and his parents crossed an ocean to protect the secret. The most important time was when he was nine. That was the day that the men came to his house and murdered his parents. Griffin knows that the men were looking for him, and he must never let them find him.
Griffin grows up with only two goals: to survive, and to kill the people who want him dead. And a Jumper bent on revenge is not going to let anything stand in his way.
Jumper is a major motion picture from 20th Century Fox/New Regency Productions, starring Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane, and Jamie Bell.
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Steven Gould is the author of Jumper, Wildside, Helm, Blind Waves, Reflex, and Jumper: Griffin's Story, as well as several short stories. He is the recipient of the Hal Clement Young Adult Award for Science Fiction and has been on the Hugo ballot twice and the Nebula ballot once for his short fiction. Steve lives in New Mexico with his wife, writer Laura J. Mixon and their two daughters. As he is somewhere between Birth and Death, he considers himself to be middle-aged.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. :
Chapter One The Empty Quarter Every couple of months Dad and I would climb in the car and he’d drive out through the suburbs, out past the small towns, past the farms and ranches, until we came to what I called the Empty Quarter. I saw a BBC special on it once—I thought they said Ruby Kallie, but now I know they were saying the Rub al-Khali—the "quarter of emptiness." It’s the sea of sand that makes up a fifth of the Arabian Peninsula, but for us it could mean Death Valley, or the Gila wilderness, or the Spanish Pyrenees, and once, it was an island in the Bay of Siam that we had to sail a small boat to. But it had to be empty—it had to be without people. That was the only safe place where I could do it, where I could practice. "We just can’t chance it, Griff. You want to do this, this is the only way." We were living in the United States then, five thousand miles from England, in San Diego, in a garage flat at the north end of Balboa Park, but when Dad said that, we were a hundred miles east of the flat. We’d taken the Yuma cutoff, U.S. 98 off of Interstate 8, and it was hot and windy and sand was blowing across the road. I was only nine then, used to not knowing anything, always asking, always pushing. "Then why do it at all—why should we even take this chance?" He looked sideways at me and sighed, then back to the road, swerving slightly to avoid a bouncing tumbleweed the size of a Volkswagen. "It comes down to... could you do that? Could you walk away from it? I mean, for me, it would be like spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair, even though I could still walk. I’d be pretending I could do naught, you know, making myself do everything the hard way when by just standing up and taking a few steps I could reach that stuff off the wheelchair ramp, the stuff on the upper shelf." He sped up a little as we reached a rocky stretch where there wasn’t quite so much blowing sand. "And, dammit, it’s a gift! Why the hell shouldn’t you be able to do it? Just because they—" He clamped his mouth shut and looked back at the road. For once I didn’t push it. There were some things my parents just wouldn’t talk about, and what happened back in Oxford was one of them. When I’d first jumped, at five, from the steps of the Martyr’s Memorial in front of a busload of tourists. Well, not then, exactly, but after, the thing that caused us to leave the UK and keep moving. Dad began watching the odometer closely, checking the map. He hadn’t been there before—our Empty Quarters were always different. He drove past the road, only recognizing the turn after we passed because a tangle of tumbleweeds hid the cattle guard that marked it. We were the only ones on the highway—he just backed up and made the turn, switching the Range Rover into four-wheel as soon as he was in the loose sand on the other side of the grate. "Tell me the rules," he said. "Go on, Dad!" I knew the rules. I’d known them since I was six. "So, back to the flat? It’s two hours, but I’ll do it." I held up my hand. "All right, all right!" I held up four fingers and ticked them off one by one. "Never jump where someone can see me. Never jump near home. Never jump to or from the same place twice. And never, never, ever jump unless I must—or unless you or Mum tell me to." "And what does that mean—that you must?" "If I’m going to get hurt or captured." "Killed or captured by who?" "Anyone." Them. That’s all I knew. The strangers from Oxford. "And what does it mean if you break the rules?" "Have to move. Again." "Yeah. Again." We drove for another forty-five minutes, though it was slow going. "This’ll have to do. Any farther and we’ll be too close to the border. Don’t want to attract the INS." He turned up a dry wash and went on until we couldn’t see the road and the hills of the ravine rose up on both sides. It took us ten minutes to climb to the top of the higher ridge, so we could see all around. Dad used his binoculars, taking forever. Finally he said, "Okay. In the ravine only, right-oh?" I danced in place. "Now?" He said, "Now." I looked down at the Rover, toy-sized, at the bottom of the ravine, and then I was there, sand settling around me as I fumbled with the gate. By the time Dad had hiked back down I’d changed into the coveralls and the goggles and I had the face mask hanging loosely around my neck. When he came trudging across the sand and gravel, I was laying out the paintball gun and the hopper full of rounds and the CO2 cartridges. He took a drink from the water bottle and offered it to me. While I drank he put on his own goggles and loaded the gun. "Don’t wait for me to fire. This is pretty fast—maybe two hundred feet per second—but you could still jump before it arrived if you were far enough away. But bullets travel thousands of feet per second. You wait till they fire, and you’ll be dead. "Don’t let anyone even point a weapon at you." I was just seating the face mask when he shot me, point-blank, in the thigh. "Fuck!" I yelled, grabbing my leg. The paint was red and I put one of my hands right in it. "What did you say?" Dad looked half mad, half amused. I could swear he was trying not to laugh. I blinked, looking down at the red paint on my hand. My leg hurt. It hurt a lot, but I wasn’t supposed to use that word. I opened my mouth to reply but Dad said, "Never mind," and lifted the gun again. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... The paintball splattered across the gravel, but I was twenty feet off to the side. Dad twisted and got off a quick shot but the reason it didn’t hit me was that he missed, not that I’d jumped in time. I felt the wind of the projectile go past my head but then I was on the far side of the truck and the second shot passed through empty air, before tumbling through the branches of a creosote bush. "Okay," he yelled. "Hide-and-seek, unlimited." I turned around and began counting loudly. I heard his feet crunch across gravel and then nothing. The second I counted thirty, I jumped sideways, thirty feet, expecting to hear the poooof of the paintball gun, but Dad was nowhere in sight. There were several stretches of sand in the wash and one of these had a fresh set of widely spaced tracks leading across it. I jumped to the stretch of sand without crossing the gravel and followed them. I had to find him without getting shot. B
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