One side effect of this Read 50 Books challenge is that it makes me, for good or bad, much less likely to toss aside a book if it's not really catching my fancy. I mean, I've got numbers to make, people, I've got a quota to fulfill. Are we meeting our LY? Are we!? (Sorry - different job.)
So that's the only reason I even made it halfway through Mike Resnick's The Widowmaker. Gah, I felt like I was being bludgeoned while I was reading it. Wooden, two dimensional characters and a plot out of a pulp Western (and not a good pulp Western) but in spaaaace. The main character does a lot of staring at people, which I think is supposed to menacing. Or deep. Or something. But I began to imagine that it was a vacant stare, with maybe a hint of drool forming at the edge of his mouth. Man, I hated that book. The Widowmaker is not book #47.
So I picked up Reflex by Steven Gould and I felt like I had been liberated. I don't think it's just the contrast -- Reflex is a really good book. It's a sequel to Jumper, where we met Davy Rice, a teenage runway who discovers that he can teleport. Gould drops that single extraordinary detail into a very realistic picture of our own times and discovers where it takes his characters.
Reflex picks up ten years later with Davy working for the NSA and happily married to Millie, now a family therapist. Davy is abducted by a shadowy organization who want to force Davy to use his powers for their purposes. While searching for her husband, Millie discovers that she can also teleport. And we're off to the races. It's an exciting book, but what really got me was the characters -- everyone in the book seems a full-formed person, even minor characters. Good, good stuff.
Oh, and I found out tonight from Steven Gould's website that a movie is being made of both Jumper and Reflex and he's used the option money to finance quitting his day job and going back to writing full-time. I wish him good luck (and more good books) and hope, you know, that they don't ruin the movie :-)