He claims to be a traveler from the future who jumps into the minds of people in the past and is now inhabiting Marvin Waterstone. If you believe Marvin is insane then The Jumper’s time traveling tales describe the evolution in the relationship between therapist and client as Marvin reveals while trying to conceal what has brought him to a mental institution. If you believe that The Jumper is real then The Jumper’s time traveling tales describe the evolution in the character of a time traveler through the course of several trips to the past. You decide if The Jumper/Marvin is a lunatic, a time traveler, a murderer, a victim, all of the above or none.
Whoever The Jumper may be he is an articulate weaver of tales hilarious and horrible which include writing love poetry in the body of a shepherd boy wooing his first love, leading a small group of would-be legionaries in the body of a commander who has gotten them into a royal mess in the desert, fleeing a lynch mob in the body of a slave who may have been better off before The Jumper lent him a helping hand (or mind) and much more. Who is the Time Traveler’s Fool? Marvin, the doctor, the reader, the writer? You decide.
Jack London lamented that he had spent his life as a working class intellectual rubbing shoulders with the underprivileged on tramp steamers, in gold mining camps, on wharves and in warehouses while reading extensively and writing books of serious social and philosophical merit only to be renowned for writing about dogs. It irked him yet inspired me decades later. Eighteen-wheelers, psych wards, factory floors and the halls of academia and corporate America may not be perfect matches to London’s, but they have all been part of my own working class adventures. I have lived in numerous careers the fiction that each was intrinsically important while in fact each was merely research for the role of Carl Stevens, Writer.
Professor-in-training (in three fields so far, philosophy, history and psychology), nurse in a psychiatric facility, long-haul truck driver, security guard, waiter, bartender, clerical worker, manual laborer, engineer - they were all facades I presented while my true life’s work went on behind the scenes, reading and writing and incorporating life experience with the scholarly to create the self-identity that is now creating novels.
Literature thrives in the living minds of readers and writers and not on dusty shelves. The text of "The Time Traveler's Fool: A Psychological Mystery of Literary Survival" supports a great many hypotheses beginning with "He's a time traveler who . . ." or "He's a con man who . . ." or "He's a madman who . . ." Amongst the possibilities starting with that last is "He's a madman who has read too much science fiction and philosophy of mind and convinced himself he can travel through time and into other people's minds." Along those same lines you could replace "madman" with "writer."
The Time Traveler's Fool
The Time Traveler’s Fool: A Psychological Mystery ofLiterary Survival