- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Tor.com; Reprint edition (January 17, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 076539281X
- ISBN-13: 978-0765392817
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #629,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
The Fortress at the End of Time Paperback – January 17, 2017
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
"The Fortress at the End of Time is an essential read, and feels like a throwback to the era of classic science fiction from authors such as Frank Herbert or Ursula K. Le Guin." ―The Verge
"McDermott manages to paint a vivid world in a few pages." ―The Washington Post
"The story works on many different levels... readers will be sucked in." ―Romantic Times
"I can say this, Joe M. McDermott's Fortress at the End of Time is an intellectual bombastic space opera" ―Paul Jessup, author of Glass Coffin Girls
"The Fortress at the End of Time is a brilliant novel." ―Geek Ireland
"The Fortress at the End of Time will hit all of the right spots with science fiction fans. Fast paced, but incredibly thoughtful, McDermott creates an unforgettable world at the end of the universe." ―Teresa Frohock, author of Los Nefilim
"A highly original, completely affecting work." ―Mysterious Galaxy
About the Author
JOE M. McDERMOTT is best known for the novels Last Dragon, Never Knew Another, and Maze. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program. He lives in Texas.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I was reminded of the late David Feintuch's Seafort Saga. A fresh military lad thrown into depressing and impossible situations but still manages to prevail... somewhat.
It also pays homage to "The Saga of Cuckoo" by the greats Frederik Pohl and Jack Williamson.with the main character transmitting a clone or copy of himself to the far end of the galaxy and upon arrival finding himself on a chaotic depressing no hope mission.
Better then average... give it a go.
I didn't hate this book, but I didn't like it. Briefly, welcome to the far future. Getting out to the stars requires you hitch a ride on something called the Ansible. Think Star Trek transporter that has a range of hundreds of light years, but the twist is that it doesn't actually "beam" you someplace, but instead send the information that is you to a cloning chamber, where you are created down to the last memory and hangnail. It's probably the only feature of this book I enjoyed as the science of it, while far fetched, doesn't skirt the laws of physics much (no warp drives or stargates, light speed is possible but relativity still applies, etc. I prefer when the Science Fiction stays closer to the Science, similar to the Expanse novels). The story centers on a young ensign of questionable talents that gets sent to the ass-end of the universe to serve a tour of duty on a derelict battleship that's been converted into a space station orbiting a dirt ball of a world that nobody in their right mind would care to visit. There's a back story of a war with aliens that is debated back and forth on whether or not it was actually real, and this station is a listening post, the first speed bump the enemy should encounter if they ever return (so anybody who ever served in West Germany will at least get the idea of the general tenor of this book, that is troops in Germany not being expected to stop all the Russians pouring in from the east, just slow them down enough to get out a warning).
Here's the rub for me. Without getting to spoilery, I wasn't quite sure what I was reading. The perspective is told from the ensign in question from a point in the future, as we jump back and forth from his present to his past to explain how he got to where he ended. As first I thought I was experiencing some space navy science fiction (a Mote in God's Eye by Pournelle and Niven as an example) but when you get to the point where he's actually on the station in question after a bit more reading, what you figure out is your reading a prison story with some religious subtext. What's more, you discover that this guy is in this situation because his original self shoved him out here. Unlike the transporter of Star Trek, you never really leave the transporter room. Your clone ends up where ever you were planning to go (which totally shot the first several pages of the book for me, because the young ensign in question kept acting like he was going on extended voyage he was never going to return from, and in actuality it's his clone that's going into the beyond). This is where the story lost it for me. There's no real background on where the psychology of shoving your clone into a situation beyond hell is ethically acceptable, or how that mindset actually developed. I would think there would be a course on the ethics of screwing your clone over that would be taught at whatever military academy this idiot attended, but he isn't really even sure on what he should call his clone self in the few instances they communicate(they settle on 1 and 2, with 2 being the guy who got shafted). It's one thing to volunteer for a terrible duty position, but it's entirely different to volunteer when it's your CLONE who gets to go to the hind end of the cosmos. I slogged through it though. The characters range from annoying to reprehensible (and this runs through a bunch of types, from religious monks to military officers to colonists). There's a concept that runs through the book regarding "transcending" where if you (the clone) behave and do a good job, well maybe you'll get to send a clone off to someplace nicer. BUT YOU"RE STILL THERE!!!! The Ansible apparently uses a lot of power, so sending amenities that might make things easier is frowned on (and clones end up smuggling things without knowing to other clones to sort of skirt around that issue). Even after your tour of duty(or you get kicked out) the only place you (clone in hell) can go is down to planet dirt ball, and maybe start a family, get to ranching, etc. Think Tatooine without Mos Eisley (or a way out or even a Tashi Station where you can go grab some power converters).
I've never read Mr. McDermott's work before. so If he was aiming for a dark tale brimming with misery (enough to make the works of Edgar Allen Poe feel likea light romp), then he hit gold. Don't get me wrong. I'm the guy who enjoyed the end of the movie Phantasm (old horror movie, look it up if your interested) so I like dark when it's done well. I enjoy King and Lovecraft and Koontz. I don't have to have a happy ending. I just need to enjoy the trip into that dark place and this one felt like I was flying coach.
What a strange journey. This missive takes the shape of a confession, albeit a rather rambling and disassociate one? Our hero is his own worst enemy. And his actions have the opposite effect of what he wants. He's sent to the ass end of humanity's exploration, fresh out of War College, to a dismal and depressing post.
His military carer starts out on a bad note, and continues from there. He has no real friends to speak of, and his love life is a sham. No wonder he wants out.
As for the writing itself, this book is written quite well. Depressing, but well written. In the form of a confession, our hero attempts to lay his should bare, but even he can't see what is to obvious to everyone else. So I think that explains the lack of chapter breaks, which I understand, but didn't approve. Overall a worthy read, but a bit of a challenge.
Here, we have a story of an officer, relegated to a distant, ancient space station. He is planning, over multiple years, how to escape. The book is seeping with claustrophobic atmosphere - I could feel being there myself, sharing the labor of keeping the station in working (i.e. liveable) condition. The relations between crew members are portrayed with just-enough depth, and are meaningful to the plot.
I am not giving 5 stars, as the story flounders once or twice, but overall it is a solid book.