You know how Back to the Future is fantastic, BttF II is really good, and BttF 3 is good? Jump 255 is like that, only the first one is merely good and then it’s downhill from there.
The first book had some interesting ideas: what will business and computer programming and such look like in the future? As a computer programmer myself (and one who gets paid by a business! Parallels!), I found this rather fascinating.
The second book didn’t add much: but it’s the middle book of a trilogy. It’s not supposed to. It did an admirable job of moving the major arcs forward, I suppose.
The third book is where the trilogy traditionally wraps up. And, certainly, Edelman was trying. There were secrets galore (Margaret Suriana had a son! Fathered by Quell!) . Relationships which had been teased were finalized (as a fat programmer who’s ended up with a fantastic partner, may I just give props to my man Horvil?). And we finally learn who was pulling the strings of the master plan all along…
Except it wasn’t really much of a master plan. And you can’t really see the master plan, but characters eventually talk about it so you know it’s there. And the puppet masters are really hands-off so maybe they’re not really doing anything and are just taking credit for it. And you don’t really ever see the puppet masters so maybe it was just some guy taking credit for it. And there plan didn’t actually work. Or maybe it did. You don’t know because the book ends.
And it’s a happy ending where only millions of people die instead of billions. And the protagonist ends up trapped inside his own body. Maybe. You don’t really know because the book ends.
And those relationships? Maybe they’re still around. Maybe they got reset. You don’t really know because the book ends.
This book leaves you hanging. It’s not ambiguous in the way that Donnie Darko or even The Dark Tower is ambiguous, though. It’s not a big mystery left open for interpretation and discussion. The book just stops.
I very much get the feeling that the author was sick of writing in this world and had a contract to finish the trilogy by some date and so he finished it by stopping. It’s good enough for an advance check, but I found it very unsatisfying.
After reading the first one, I had high hopes. The first book is flawed, but it had a tons of promise, and I had every expectation of the author improving his craft over time. Now?
I’m kind of sorry I read any of them.