By Robert Dickinson
Fans of time-travel stories and books that require more than one reading to figure out will likely enjoy The Tourist, a novel that encourages such loops.
The set-up has it that in the future, going back into the past has become part of the travel industry, so that visitors from the 24th century can take package tours of our own time (which happens to be just before a cataclysmic Near Extinction Event occurs). Apparently shopping malls are among the most popular destinations, as they are as good a place as any to check out the best our civilization has to offer while getting ripped off by “natives” selling 21st-century junk.
On one such expedition a tourist goes missing. Then it’s not clear if the tourist was ever there in the first place. Or the second place, depending on what time around this is.
The search for this time-skipping Bunny Lake then turns into a truly baffling political conspiracy involving secret agents, time machines, and various end-of-the-world scenarios. And while it may not tie together neatly in the end — because that’s not the way time-travel stories work — it does carry the reader along on an intriguing ride.