I finally got around to reading Charles de Lint's most recent email newsletter, and buried way down at the bottom as an innocent addition to his reading list, was something that left me thunderstruck (in an overly-dramatic theatrical sense of the word, of course): Steven Gould's new novel, Reflex. How, I may ask, is it possible for this book to be out for an entire month and nary a word of it reaching my ears?
Let me put this in context. I absolutely love Steve's 1992 debut novel, Jumper, about an abused kid, Davey, who suddenly learns he can teleport. It's smart and it's exciting and perfect in almost every way, except for a major plot twist involving terrorists that simply comes from out of left field so abruptly that I initially thought it was a joke, or the wrong pages, or something accidentally inserted into the book the first time I read it. But I got over it. It's still a great book. Get it. Read it. Enjoy.
About three years back or so, in the middle of Aggiecon, I'm on a panel with Steve (who taught me in the very first writers workshop I ever participated in--at which time he did his damnedest to discourage me, going so far as to throw his boot across the room as a direct result of my story. So don't blame him for me. Honestly, he tried) and somehow the topic veers on a tangent where everyone's badgering Steve about how slow he writes, and we want more novels from him. At which point he confesses that he's at work on a sequel to Jumper, and it's already late. "How can you make a sequel to Jumper work?" I demand. That's one of those books that works very well as a standalone, you see, whereas a novel like Wildside seems to beg for a follow up. Steve thought for a moment, then said, "I'll give you the title." He wrote on the chalkboard, Jumper(s).
My jaw hit the ground. I wanted to read that book immediately. And the delays mounted. Every time I saw him, Steve was still working on it. Sheesh, and now it finally comes out, and nobody tells me.
I still think Steve's original title is better, but hey, if that's my biggest complaint, I think I'll bite my tongue.
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