The Fortress at the End of Time

The Fortress at the End of Time

In The Fortress at the End of Time, humanity has expanded across the galaxy by use of ansible and clone technology, but an enemy stands in their way—an enemy alien in concept as much as physiology. Ronaldo Aldo is a clone stationed in the back-end of nowhere—a watch station with a glorious military past, but no future. He’s desperate to prove himself worthy of ascension—of...

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Title:The Fortress at the End of Time
Author:Joe M. McDermott
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Paperback
Number of Pages:305 pages

The Fortress at the End of Time Reviews

  • T. Frohock
    Nov 22, 2016

    This is dark military science fiction, and probably one of the most compelling stories that I've read in some time. It's the hallmark of an excellent story when I've read it in August and both the characters and the plot remain fresh in my mind months later.

    The Fortress at the End of Time follows Captain Ronaldo Aldo's clone, who is stationed at the Citadel--a listening station at the edge of the human space. Humanity is connected by ansible and is spread across space in order to fight a mysteri

    This is dark military science fiction, and probably one of the most compelling stories that I've read in some time. It's the hallmark of an excellent story when I've read it in August and both the characters and the plot remain fresh in my mind months later.

    The Fortress at the End of Time follows Captain Ronaldo Aldo's clone, who is stationed at the Citadel--a listening station at the edge of the human space. Humanity is connected by ansible and is spread across space in order to fight a mysterious enemy, but no one has seen or engaged with this enemy in many generations.

    The Citadel is one of the worst postings a clone can receive--a desolate outback with a barely livable planet below. McDermott uses the bare surroundings to their best effect. He neatly switches the novella's atmosphere from the claustrophobia of working in the space station's confined quarters to the immensity of space without losing a beat. But it is the overwhelming futility of the crew's existence that dominates the story. Most of the crew members work within the system to better their own lives. They've accepted the status quo and see no reason to change it, except where it might profit them.

    Aldo tries that route and finds himself unable to maneuver the space station's multiple intrigues. His only way out of the Citadel is to transcend his station and clone a piece of his soul somewhere new. Unable to work within the structure, Aldo makes a desperate plan for escape.

    There is no happily ever after here, but that is okay, because the reader is expecting a tragedy. The highlight of this story is that the tragedy isn't necessarily the end, but perhaps the beginning of something new, something better for Aldo--at the very least it is acceptance. I found The Fortress at the End of Time to be an engaging and intellectually astute novella that leaves the reader to draw their own conclusions about whether Aldo's actions were right or wrong. And that is the kind of story that is worthy of discussion.

  • Nthato Morakabi
    Oct 27, 2016

    Hmmmm I actually thoroughly enjoyed it but man did I want to punch Aldo in the face. Ugh.

  • j
    Nov 08, 2016

    What if a guy went to a remote space station on the outskirts of the galaxy and nothing happened?

  • Justin Howe
    Dec 13, 2016

    This military fiction* novel reads a bit like Walter Miller JR's

    meets Dino Buzzatti's

    , which is so much my peculiar square inch of fiction I like that saying I simply liked this book is an understatement. The main character is a bit of an annoying prig, but that's not a bad thing.

    * I'm calling this military SF because I suspect it's truer to a lot of people's military experience (being bored a lot in far away places) than zap-pow laser marines fighti

    This military fiction* novel reads a bit like Walter Miller JR's

    meets Dino Buzzatti's

    , which is so much my peculiar square inch of fiction I like that saying I simply liked this book is an understatement. The main character is a bit of an annoying prig, but that's not a bad thing.

    * I'm calling this military SF because I suspect it's truer to a lot of people's military experience (being bored a lot in far away places) than zap-pow laser marines fighting alien hordes.

  • Philip Athans
    Dec 29, 2016

    From the evocative first line—We are born as memories and meat.—to the shocking, unexpected climax, Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time is a science fiction novel reminiscent of the classic seafaring tales. In it he paints no more pleasant a picture of our future in space as was seen in the privation, the rotting teeth, the hopelessness, and the uneasy discipline of the hard-suffering mariners of the seventeenth century. This grim, intensely personal, yet immensely readable book s

    From the evocative first line—We are born as memories and meat.—to the shocking, unexpected climax, Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time is a science fiction novel reminiscent of the classic seafaring tales. In it he paints no more pleasant a picture of our future in space as was seen in the privation, the rotting teeth, the hopelessness, and the uneasy discipline of the hard-suffering mariners of the seventeenth century. This grim, intensely personal, yet immensely readable book shows that when we finally venture out into the wider universe, we’ll bring the smallest parts of ourselves along for the ride.

  • Logan Aube
    Jan 17, 2017

    I'm sorry I spent money on this book. DNF 15%

    The premise is intriguing, reminiscent of OLD MAN'S WAR. But that's where the positives end.

    The protagonist is melodramatic and unlikeable. There is no plot. There is no humor. There is no action.

    And worst of all, the characters speak like English is their second language: no contractions, choppy sentences, and robotic exposition.

    For your consideration, I offer the worst line of dialogue I've read in years:

    A: "That's really pathetic. It was right in f

    I'm sorry I spent money on this book. DNF 15%

    The premise is intriguing, reminiscent of OLD MAN'S WAR. But that's where the positives end.

    The protagonist is melodramatic and unlikeable. There is no plot. There is no humor. There is no action.

    And worst of all, the characters speak like English is their second language: no contractions, choppy sentences, and robotic exposition.

    For your consideration, I offer the worst line of dialogue I've read in years:

    A: "That's really pathetic. It was right in front of you and you didn't know?"

    B: "No!"

    A: "Are you serious? That's very sad, Ronaldo. The stars will be yours. I will never be. We are still friends. Good-bye."

    *gag*

  • Arkadeb
    Feb 07, 2017

    A paper-thin, pointless, boring plot, an oddly religion and sin-obsessed story, boring characters, stilted unnatural dialogue, internal inconsistencies...this book is a litany of failures.

    Also I don;t think the author knows how military ranks work

  • Kate
    Jan 08, 2017

    An intriguing premise indeed and in places an immersive read but ultimately very gloomy.

    A review:

  • C.W.
    Jan 31, 2017

    A fascinating look into the life of a clone living on the fringes of deep space with a bunch of people who don't like him. An existential look at cloning, colonization, military down time, alien war, and life at the far reaches of space. Full video review:

  • Bridget Mckinney
    Jan 20, 2017

    Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time might be a little bit genius, but I can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. It’s got a great classic sci-fi sensibility if, but I’m generally not one for classics. It’s a novel that, while short, is often boring, but intentionally so and in a way that mostly works if you’re a patient reader. It’s got some big ideas that are worthy of considered exploration, but none that are particularly fresh. It’s solidly written with a distinctive voice and s

    Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time might be a little bit genius, but I can’t decide if I loved it or hated it. It’s got a great classic sci-fi sensibility if, but I’m generally not one for classics. It’s a novel that, while short, is often boring, but intentionally so and in a way that mostly works if you’re a patient reader. It’s got some big ideas that are worthy of considered exploration, but none that are particularly fresh. It’s solidly written with a distinctive voice and style, but there’s nothing especially exceptional about it. It’s a book that I’m glad to have read because it is a bit outside of my usual fare and a nice change, but I don’t feel compelled to read either more of McDermott’s work or more of this sort of thing in general. It’s not that The Fortress at the End of Time is unremarkable or pedestrian; it’s just a profoundly workmanlike example of its type of thing–thoughtful medium-hard military-ish sci-fi that has something to say about some stuff–if you like this sort of thing. I can easily imagine this being a book that lots of other people love, but I can’t muster any very strong feelings about it, myself.