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I think this book dates from the 60s or perhaps 70s.

A brief synopsis: In the book a man appears, apparently from the distant future, I remember he had a single name which I think may have also been the title of the book.

Very soon he is followed by thousands of people around the world, almost like a messiah. He is taken on tours of the society (which I think is already set somewhat in our future) and appears to be completely pansexual and somewhat amoral.

I know he stays with a couple at their home but ends up ruining their relationship as he sleeps with both of them unbeknownst to each. Eventually he attends a huge rally where he walks among the people, supposedly protected by a force field but it seemingly breaks down and he is swamped by the crowd.

The husband in the book seems to see two people reach out and grab the man and he thinks it possible he has been 'arrested' by his own people and taken back to the future.

Ring any bells? Any help greatly appreciated.

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  • 3
    Hmmm, shades of Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land.
    – Paulie_D
    May 21 '21 at 18:30
  • @Paulie_D It's definitely not that! I know I have read this book in the 70's as well and having been thinking about also asking on here about it. One thing I think I remember is that the traveler's genitals were retractable, allowing "him" to easily have sexual relations with both genders
    – Peter M
    May 21 '21 at 19:37
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I believe you read Vornan-19, a variant title of The Masks of Time, published in 1968 by Robert Silverberg.

Vornan-19 cover The Masks of Time cover

In the book a man appears, apparently from the distant future, I remember he had a single name which I think may have also been the title of the book.

The character is named Vornan-19, and the book was published under this title (as a variant).

Very soon he is followed by thousands of people around the world, almost like a messiah. He is taken on tours of the society (which I think is already set somewhat in our future) and appears to be completely pansexual and somewhat amoral.

Vornan-19 fell from the sky, naked, and landed on the Spanish steps in Rome on Christmas afternoon toward the end of the Millennium. The book is set in 1999, and ends before Jan 1.

Vornan tells very little about the future, only vague generalities. He says he is there to tour the past, and he says that many records were destroyed in "the Time of the Sweeping".

He is taken on a tour by a group of experts: a physicist, an ethnologist, and a few others. He causes chaos everywhere he goes.

One place that is visited is an "automated" brothel, that allows the buyer to specify gender, hair color, body type, etc. of the prostitute. Vornan spends all night there going through many, many prostitutes.

Vornan and the expert group shepherding him are followed by crowds of people interested in him. The Millennium (Jan 1, 2000) is near and apocalyptic fever is sweeping across the world.

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  • In regard to the OP's comment about retractable genitals, I certainly don't remember that. Possibly a cross memory from some other book. The Cissaldans from the Harlan Ellison story "How's the Night Life on Cissalda?" had that property. So did the sex toys available in plug-in housing in John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider. May 21 '21 at 20:08
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    thank you!! Yes, it was indeed Vornan-19 May 21 '21 at 20:24
  • @RossPresser I'm not the OP, and those other stories you mentioned were definitely not where I remember retractable genitals.
    – Peter M
    May 21 '21 at 20:38
  • @PeterM I'm really sorry for calling you the OP! May 21 '21 at 20:45

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