『マイナス・ゼロ』ーポケットの中のタイムマシン

これが本物のタイム・マシンか、と俊夫は思った。映画に出てきたのとは、だいぶ違う。ずっと地味だ。


「タイムマシンを造ることが可能なら、もう未来から未来人がタイムマシンに乗ってやってきているはず」

これは、タイムマシンを語る時にしばしば言われることです。
こそのまま、「だからタイムマシンは存在しえない」という言葉が続くこともあります。

では、今目の前に、未来からのタイムマシンが突然現れたら、どうするでしょうか。
なぜか中には誰もいない。書かれている文字は見たことのないものばかり。
さぁ、未来に行くか、過去に行くか。それとも、怖々と見つめるだけか。

この本の初版は昭和45年。
西暦になおすと、1970年です。

僕たちは二重のタイムスリップを経験することになります。
主人公の”現在”は、すでに僕たちの”過去”となっています。

つまり、この本自体が、ひとつのタイムマシンになっているんです。
文庫本ならば、ポケットの中にもすっぽり入ってしまいます。
もちろん、そんなことは全ての本に等しく言えることですけれどね。

この本の素晴らしいところは、理詰めの展開と、最後に怒濤の勢いで伏線が回収されていくところです。
ピースがどんどんはまっていく瞬間は快感で、文字を追う速度の限界にやきもきします。

完成した大きなジグソーパズルを用意して、それを勢い良くぶちまける。
その様子を録画しておきます。

それをタイムマシンで過去に戻るように、逆再生してみるとどうなるでしょうか。
散らばったピースたちはかすかに震え始め、ものすごいスピードで額縁に戻って行くでしょう。

後半の伏線回収は、まさにそんな仕掛けになっています。
ひと呼吸の間にバラバラだったピースが全て勢いよく戻り、完成した絵に脱帽してしまいます。

今作の”現在”、”過去”は、すでに私たちの過去です。
しかし、タイムマシンがやってきた”未来”は、私たちにとってもいまだ未来であるようです。

それでも、本のおかげで過去への時間旅行は可能になりました。
自宅で、カフェで、電車の中で。
小さなタイムマシンが壊れることはありません。

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