Friday, 6 January 2017

The Tourist

Finished January 2
The Tourist by Robert Dickinson

This science fiction thriller is set around an incident happening in the 21st century in England. Spens is a young man working for a tourist resort for travellers who have come from the future to visit this time and place. It is apparently an open secret that these visitors are from the future and they exert a certain control, perhaps through threats, that no one interferes with them.
Workers like Spens have some knowledge of what happens in this time period, but not complete knowledge and there is some suspicion that they are purposefully not told everything. Spens is supposed to take a group by bus to a local mall, where they can roam individually for a few hours. On their trip back to the resort, the bus will get in a minor accident. All the tourists know this and have chosen this particular trip for the additional excitement of the accident.
However after everyone gets back on board after the accident, one tourist is missing. This was not something that Spens was told was going to happen, and he does not know what it means.
Spens interacts regularly with a female guide from another resort, Li. They often sit with each other at the mall while waiting for their groups to finish, and sometimes go out after work.
Spens also knows his own future to a certain extent. Knows that he is sent back soon for a breach of protocol and he wonders if this incident is related to that.
As Spens tries to find his missing tourist, with the help of a security officer at his own resort, he also is helped by a relatively new guide from another resort, Edda. Edda seems to have additional skills and knowledge and proves quite helpful
He briefly meets someone he knew at school, but who has obviously taken a different path, and is now much older than Spens. He wonders how much he is supposed to share with authorities about this.
The chapters move back and forth between Spens in the 21st century, an unnamed older man that the reader suspects to be Spens later in life, the missing tourist, and another female voice at an indeterminate time.
I found the chapter changes a bit confusing, as I wasn't always sure who the speaker was and what time they were in. The story is one of shadows and mirrors, no one sure what is real, what is fake, what is manipulated and what is accidental. Is there a conspiracy? Can one change the future by taking an action in the past? What really happened on earth? Lots of questions. Few answers.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds a little like Westworld, which was based on a Michael Crichton story, IIRC. Normally I like switching viewpoints, but sometimes, when one feels like it's only a device to conceal information from the reader, it's less satisfying.