Review: The Fortress at the End of Time by Joe M. McDermott

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Publisher: Tor

Publishing Date: January 2017

ISBN: 9780765392800

Genre: SciFi

Rating: 3.0/5

Publishers Description: Connected by ansible, humanity has spread across galaxies and fought a war against an enemy that remains a mystery. At the edge of human space sits the Citadel—a relic of the war and a listening station for the enemy’s return. For a young Ensign Aldo, fresh from the academy and newly cloned across the ansible line, it’s a prison from which he may never escape.

Review: Aldo did not make a whole lot of sense, from beginning to end. He is at once stupid, smart, self-centered, altruistic and strictly adheres to military rules while breaking them. If I didn’t know better I would say that cloning through the ansible imbues those clones with sociopathic behavior. It might have propped up his character to make that particular tie-in along with other clones that are experiencing a high rate of suicide or deserting. The actions of his cohorts on station are plagued with constant guile and Aldo is blind to most of it, even after years of residing there. A not too believable character(s).  One of the big holes in an absent plot, is why everyone on the outer rim of the galaxy on a broke dick military station adhere to what the author calls “crushing bureaucracy”? After years of barely surviving disaster under a drunk and abusive admiral you would think that most would have fled to the planet or mutinied long ago.  

The writing is captivating in a way that draws you into this world without much action or plot. Most of the novel resides in the depths of the station and the interactions of its crew. While the world below is more boring than a bag of hammers, you can’t wait to mentally get down there with Aldo in order to escape the hell of Station. Not much goes on here up until the end, and even then it is anti-climactic. Still, the novel was compelling and drives you to be thorough in your reading.

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