One of the many reasons why Doctor Who is the longest-running television series’ in the history of television, is simply down to the genre of science fiction. The show verges on the brink of a steampunk edge as you’re whisked away on adventures with some crazy self-regenerating alien, that also runs very closely on the edge of sanity. As writers, no matter at what point they take on the show, they have the creative freedom to go where ever and do whatever they like. It’s all thanks to the paradox of time travel.
Travelling through time would be utter hell. You’d either meet your end at the hand of one of your evil ex-girlfriends or be subjected to the cruel laws that await us all in the year 2156. Where man has been catalogued by supreme robot overlords as nothing more than a clever bacterial virus, that had happened to get lucky on some really good breaks.
In his new novel, Robert Dickinson author of Micrographia invites you on a far less harrowing journey through time, where nothing out of the ordinary will apparently happen. As a Time Tourist, you get taken to the local malls of the 21st century where the world that you reside was born. You have a look around for an hour so; due to your century’s inflation rate, you might even find yourself buying something. Back on the bus, with the rest of the Time Tourists, a woman goes missing and your tour guide is freaking out! Only according to the records she never went missing at all.
First person novels are great, but to start in 2nd person as this story does, was tricky to get my head around. Nevertheless, Dickinson makes it work to the point that I was expecting myself to be in control of the stories decisions. Much like those early teen fantasy quest novels. You know, where they say to steal the gold turn to page 25 or go climb the mountain and get the hell out of that pissed dragon’s dungeon turn to page 8?? No?? Okay fine, well that’s what it reminded me of. Anyway.. Dickinson’s choice here is a brave one, which after the shock, pays off.
The story’s coined a thriller but it’s much more seated in sci-fi and will certainly appeal to lovers of cyberpunk crime novels that enjoy the complexity from writers such as Philip.K Dick and his early, less epic, Stephen King does the bleak future novels. The world that Dickinson has built is left largely in the subtext, which is refreshing to see a 2016 author not spoon-feeding you, every, single, brick, in their overly designed universe! An effort made solely to impress you.
Rather Dickinson is utilising his skill at prose and storytelling to pull you into the journey and keep you there in a plot that twists you almost as deep as inception.
Where Robert Dickinson cracks it for me is in the dialogue between characters. The language and wit flow fabulously within the conversations. The pages just keep on turning. He’s tackled a very clever idea and at no stage does he patronise his readers.
The Tourist is out now in hardback and available on Amazon and all good bookshops.