THE TOurIST Temporal tour rep turns PI
released 20 OctOber 283 pages | Hardback/ebook
Author robert dickinson Publisher Orbit
From “A Sound Of Thunder” to “Let’s Go To Golgotha!”, time travel tourism is nothing new in SF fiction. Neither are conspiracy thrillers. Yet Robert Dickinson combines the two in a novel that’s as fresh and compelling as it is high concept.
Set in a world in which future tourists can vacation in the past safe in the knowledge they can’t change history, it centres on a tour rep in the 21st century who becomes an unwilling investigator when one of his clients goes missing. This, of course, spirals into a major temporal mystery, but one that largely avoids the usual irritating paradoxes by keeping its rules of time travel simple.
Packed with dry humour, satirical swipes at the 21st century (the cloud is described as “everything that will be lost”) and vivid characters, The Tourist also has lots of fun exploring how a culture where time travel is everyday might actually work.
Occasionally the book’s habit of feeding you vital world-building details by osmosis – or even keeping them under wraps until late in the day – can make the “mystery” more frustratingly vague than the author clearly intends, but these are minor irritations in an otherwise immensely enjoyable read. Dave Golder
Robert Dickinson came up with the basic idea after a dream that involved travelling back to Paris in the ’60s.