The deep mysteries of Doc Savage are finally revealed! John Sunlight, poetic genius of evil, gruesome master of a thousand elements of screaming terror, discovers the innermost secrets of The Man of Bronze. Doc Savage finds himself enmeshed in a diabolical web of dark horror as he valiantly battles the appalling machines of destruction he himself has invented!
11 thoughts on “Fortress of Solitude”
i need to know who owns the fortress of solitude. can you tell me?
The Fortress of Solitude is still owned by Clark Savage, Jr. It is actually the third “FofS” and has been relocated near the South Pole.
This is one of the most important stories in the Doc canon! The secrets of Doc’s mysterious retreat finally revealed after several years of Dent’s allusions and hints! The introduction of Doc’s greatest nemesis! Dent’s wit AND humor was never sharper! All this makes ‘Fortress Of Solitude’ one of the “Top Five” Doc tales!
The hype surrounding this Doc adventure is legendary so I was eager to give this one a try. Having read it, I can say that it really lives up to the hype. Plotwise, this is the greatest Doc adventure of them all. Just seeing Monk and the rest of the fabulous five walking around in the Fortress Of Solitude is shocking after all the secrecy about the place. But the strength of this one is Doc himself. Have a close look at that awesome Bama cover and you’ll see Doc’s state of mind in this tale. Every Doc cover shows him in action with grand gestures, but on the Bantam cover, he stands, arms crossed, closed off. And look at the expression on his face! Fear. Insecurity. For me, one of the best scenes in this story is Monk screaming at Doc to tell him what the Fortress of Solitude is as they fly over it and Doc just staring straight ahead, closed off, unreachable. Doc is clearly horrified that Johnny Sunlight has used devices Doc has collected to harm people and wrestles with his responsiblilty throughout the story. Powerful stuff.
Well, that’s the good about this story. The bad is the first 30 pages or so which read like an extremely rough first draft. The writing is so bad, I can’t help but wonder if there was a mix-up somewhere and the printers got 30 pages of the first draft by mistake. Just awful, awful, awful writing. Once you get past that, hold onto something and enjoy the ride.
This is the best Doc of them all. No question about that.
I’ve always thought that Dent had lost a lot of enthusiasm for Doc Savage as the Depression years wore on. The stories from 1937 to 1941 seem weak, ill-conceived, or just plain disappointing. A lot of this had to do with changes of editors at Street and Smith and, of course, the Depression itself.
But, boy, does Fortress of Solitude deliver. The chances were good that it wouldn’t, but Dent came up with his greatest villain in one of Doc’s greatest adventures. In actuality I had read, in pulp form, The Devil Genghis, it’s sequel before I had read The Fortress of Solitude and while I enjoyed Genghis, I REALLY looked forward to reading Fortress of Solitude. Man. Sometimes I wish I was 17 again and could relive the thrill young boys must have felt in 1938 when this novel was first published. When Doc gets his first hint that some of his “sequestered” weapons are being used in New York–and the panic he expresses–gives us a window into Doc’s personality that had yet to appear in the series. (I also like Doc’s blush when he’s kissed by Rae Stanley in The Meteor Menace where he really is caught by surprise.) But I’m preaching to the choir here. I’ll always be a fan.
This is a great Doc Savage novel. If I made a list, I would put it in the top five. Definitely a good one to read. The story is strong and John Sunlight is a great villain.
I agree that this is a great book, but I felt it seemed to wind up a little too quickly at the end. The Fortress of Solitude itself, great mystery that it was up until this novel, could have used more screen time…so could the characters of Titania and Giantia. I thought they just faded out at the end. These are minor complaints, however, as this is definitely a top-tier Doc book.
maybe the best doc of all ? the only story to ever have a villian reappear from the past, john sunlight is a great arch nemesis. interesting weapons (doc’s) and some great story lines. a must read for any doc savage fan.
I have read most of the Bantam editions and a number of the original stories. Fortress of Solitude presents Doc as much weaker than the earlier years: “He should have faired as well as the next man in a fight in the dark.” – or words to that effect. Compare that idea to Fantastic Island where Dent writes: “The [Doc’s] punch would have stopped a rhinoceros and it stopped Romadanoff”
Does anyone have a background on this seeming effort to “humanize” Doc?
This notwithstanding, Fortress is a GREAT story, most of it well-told.
I have recently re-read this and I concur that this is one of the best Doc novels. John Sunlight is chilling in this.
Doc was “humanised” in the stories published between 1944 – 1948 in DOC SAVAGE magazine. The magazine’s editor at the time felt that Doc was becoming too unrealistic and overly dependant on his gadgets, so it was decided to emphasize the scientific side of the character. Gone was Doc’s titanic strength, gone the thousand-and-one devices that he managed (sometimes literally) to pull out of his sleeve, gone the iron emotional control. Quite frankly, I believe this decision relegated a previously unique adventure character to the ranks of just another pulp hero. To be fair, the stories were still entertaining — largely due to the fact that Dent was a well-above-average pulp writer. But for me the mystique had vanished. Seeing Doc bested and dragged to the ground by only TWO men was a real comedown from those golden years when six men at a time was only a mild workout. Happily, though, a change of editors ( and declining sales ) brought about a reinstatement of the super Doc toward the end of 1948.