Mr. Gould, please write faster.

IMPULSE

The third of a well-regarded series (that inspired a poorly regarded film) is essentially Teleporting: The Next Generation, as Davy and Millie Rice’s daughter Cent discovers that she, too, can “jump.”

Years after teleporter Davy Rice was captured by a mysterious corporation (Reflex, 2004), he remains paranoid that they’ll find him or his loved ones again. He and his wife, Millie, live off the grid in a nearly inaccessible lodge 60 miles from the Arctic Circle, home-schooling their 16-year-old daughter and strongly discouraging her from developing relationships with others. Cent’s unhappiness with the status quo finally persuades her parents to purchase a home in a small town and enroll her in high school. Of course, the Rices’ pretense at a normal life doesn’t last long. Like her parents, who covertly teleport to spearhead relief efforts all over the globe, Cent has compulsive heroic tendencies. She simply can’t resist employing her newly developed teleporting ability against Caffeine, the school bully who’s blackmailing three freshman into serving as drug mules. Davy’s overprotectiveness of his daughter will be most amusing to series fans—as a 17-year-old in Jumper (1992), he was robbing banks and fighting terrorists. One of the strongest aspects of the series is its serious attempt to explore and exploit the possibilities of teleporting (and how to circumvent them), and Cent’s experiments to add velocity to her jumps add velocity to the plot. Readers will cheer for sympathetic Cent, but she’s a bit too perfect; despite her extraordinarily isolated upbringing and claims of social awkwardness, her insightfulness about people is incredibly high, and she’s unreasonably able at negotiating the dating scene. Ultimately, though, this is a great romp with a little social conscience–raising mixed in.

Mr. Gould, please write faster.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7653-2757-4

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2012

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

A somewhat fragmentary nocturnal shadows Jim Nightshade and his friend Will Halloway, born just before and just after midnight on the 31st of October, as they walk the thin line between real and imaginary worlds. A carnival (evil) comes to town with its calliope, merry-go-round and mirror maze, and in its distortion, the funeral march is played backwards, their teacher's nephew seems to assume the identity of the carnival's Mr. Cooger. The Illustrated Man (an earlier Bradbury title) doubles as Mr. Dark. comes for the boys and Jim almost does; and there are other spectres in this freakshow of the mind, The Witch, The Dwarf, etc., before faith casts out all these fears which the carnival has exploited... The allusions (the October country, the autumn people, etc.) as well as the concerns of previous books will be familiar to Bradbury's readers as once again this conjurer limns a haunted landscape in an allegory of good and evil. Definitely for all admirers.

Pub Date: June 15, 1962

ISBN: 0380977273

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1962

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