Charles wakes up on vacation unable to remember where he is, and with no sign of his companion, or his passport; the rest of the story chronicles his attempts to make sense of – and get away from – the place in which he finds himself.
Goldsteiin builds the strangeness of her tale slowly: there is nothing out of the ordinary in the first few pages (and Charles’s disdain for the natives who don’t speak English is a familiar attitude), until a few odd-sounding place names appear. Even then, it often feels as though we could be on Earth; it is central to the affect of ‘Tourists’ that the nature of its setting remains uncertain.
But the crux of the story is its ending, which both disorientates as the best sf should, and is satisfying in storytelling terms, as Charles gets his just deserts..
This is one of a series of posts on the anthology Not the Only Planet.