Young Felicitas has woken in a prison cell—unable to remember how she got there.

She doesn’t know where the prison is—except that it is most definitely not on Earth. And she has no idea why all the other prisoners walk around in a daze. In dreams, she is forced to relive crimes she cannot remember committing.

Felicitas soon notices that the mechanized sentries surveilling the inmates are breaking down. The automated system is collapsing, putting everybody at risk. Along with some others who have awakened out of their daze, Felicitas sees a chance to escape.

Yet the harsh penal world she and her fellow fugitives escape to is as fraught with danger as the now perilously malfunctioning prison. And it turns out there is much more at stake than just a prison break. As those stakes become clear, Felicitas must choose between freedom, imprisonment, the human race, and history itself.


“By grounding this struggle in the agonizing details of the prisoners’ search for food and freedom, Mackay avoids the grandiosity that is an occupational hazard of science fiction writers who dabble in cosmic themes.”

New York Times Books Review

”[Mackay] put together a fast-paced action adventure.”

The Washington Post

“An intriguing puzzle scenario and tense prison action […] worth trying.”


“Moving […] stirring images of humans battling for life, and freedom, against the prison and the planet it stands on […] the novel’s strength lies in its characters, heroic yet vulnerable, facing tough decisions and tough situations.”

Publishers Weekly

“Mackay deftly doles out bits and pieces of a puzzle in this fast-moving blend of mystery and sf adventure. Fans of Renaissance Italy will enjoy the cultural overtones that lend a unique atmosphere to a well-written and engrossing tale. Most libraries should own.”

Library Journal

“If you are looking for a good scientific romance set in the mid-future, you’d be hard pressed to find another as well crafted as OUTPOST.”

NY Review of Science Fiction

“A pretty effective and often intense novel […] ingenious and satisfying […] a complex and winning heroine […] OUTPOST wins you over in the end because of the intensity and texture of its setting, the sheer doggedness of its characters, and the intricate backstory […] Mackay delivers on the surprises when he needs to, and he writes with impressive grace and clarity. His vision is original enough, his imagery vivid enough, and his characters engaging enough, that we might expect even better surprises in the future.”


“His characters and setting have an eerie reality, evoked in a spare and effective style.”

Quill & Quire

“This is one dynamite, original SF story. Author MacKay brings together subtle characterizations and with his aforementioned original plot, presents it all in an intelligent and smoothly paced fashion. It truly knocked my socks off! Highly Recommended.”

Yet Another Book Review

“Absolutely classic […] stunning ingenuity […] extraordinary.”

Spider Robinson, in The Globe and Mail

Awards & Accolades


Locus Recommended Reading List