Sunday, June 18, 2006

Time on Our Hands: James Valentine, Jumpman Rule One. London: Random House (Corgi), 2002.

As you've probably noticed, I'm not posting much at the moment. I have a manuscript to complete by the end of the month and it's rather taking up my time.

So I'm going to take a holiday. This is the last post until:

July 1st 2006

From that day on I'll once again be working solely on the children's book and you can expect daily postings once more.

But before I go:

James Valentine, Jumpman Rule One. London: Random House (Corgi), 2002.

Theo Pine wins a new edition Jumpman in a competition, but instead of taking him to a hot new time-spot, he finds himself in "Mil 3", the worst of times, and to top it off, he's in phase, absolutely Present.

Jules and Gen, two teens, are the in the room in which Theo materialises, and who need to keep him occupied at the same time as they sort out their own problems. While Theo works out how to get the co-ordinates to go home, they jump with him to different times, including the First Fish, and the Last Whale. Eventually, when Theo falls sick, Jules jumps forward to bring back his parents.

Two things really impressed me: Valentine maintains the "stranger/familiar" perspective essential to sf, so that when Theo is in his own time everything is taken for granted, but Jules goes "gosh, wow", and when Theo is in Jules's time he is the one reacting while Jules and Gen accept the world around them with all its faults unquestioned. The second aspect of the book which impressed me is simply that Jules gets to figure out the philosophy of time travel. It's complex, and not all readers will get it, and the author is clear that this is just fine.


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