A paperback novel I read mid 1970's UK.

Set in a USA town during a long heatwave, a lot of good looking strangers (who it is eventually revealed are from a few hundred years into the future) are moving in and taking up all the motel rooms and rented accommodation.

Male protagonist begins to take notice and starts a relationship with one of the people, he takes her for an expensive fancy meal but her reaction is "it's only food".

One evening he's in a club with her and as she walks across the room a section of her dress turns transparent and her breast is on show for a minute or so. All eyes are on her after that!

She explains it's a perfectly decent dress with a built in factor to randomly do this and she can't understand the fuss.

His suspicions grow about them being time travellers and he confronts her and discusses a future where fertile land is in short supply, so a populace are conditioned to regard food and eating as just another exercise/chore. Also where fashion is very revealing.

She takes him to meet some of her party for updates of what will happen regarding the heatwave.

That's all I got, I can't remember if they turned out to be benign or bad.

  • @user14111 nope, sorry, I've tried but the cover doesn't come back to me
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 0:48
  • No, I really can't remember, maybe the heatwave causes a disaster? (Guessing only, just can't remember) it was a typical size paperback of those days, a lot shorter than modern ones)
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented Feb 4, 2019 at 7:14
  • The randomly revealing costume and future worse than the present reminds me of some of Spider Robinson's plots (c.f. "The Free Lunch"), but none I can recall match this well.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 12:51
  • The randomly disappearing costume shows up at the beginning of Sentenced to Prism as an advertising scheme (the ads were the default, the periodic nudity to get people to watch), but otherwise, it doesn't match.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 5, 2019 at 13:11
  • do you remember anything about the cover? Placement of the words/color/images?
    – Sensoray
    Commented Mar 8, 2019 at 17:16

1 Answer 1


This is Vintage Season by Lawrence O'Donnell (pseudonym for C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner), and can be found here Astounding, Sept. 1946.

As you recall, there was a disaster involved, and the mysterious guests made reference to their tourism in other times.

  • I've accepted this with some reservations, it's possible I got two books confused and was thinking of 'A Vintage Season' all along.
    – Danny Mc G
    Commented May 23, 2019 at 5:57

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