THE TOurIST Tem­po­ral tour rep turns PI

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews -

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.

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