There was this scifi novel I got years ago second hand about a prison station that was in the sun. The inmates were all supposedly mass murderers and the like but could not remember their supposed crimes since they had all their memories after a certain point removed (which varies with the prisoner, the main character had everything up to his college days but nothing after. Some were reverted to children) Some (referred to as bindlestiffs) develop severe narcolepsy where they will fall asleep in the middle of anything. This became so problematic that they were given automatically deploying tents for shelter when they drop asleep.

The main female lead is called Katie or something like that. Also they use Tonka trucks modified with tracking equipment to keep tabs on the bindlestiffs to keep them safe. Also there was another character called Lyle or Leo who died exploring the hull of the station under the field that held back the solar atmosphere.

After a couple new prisoners are sent plot happens and they discover something called "Traces" in their heads(Very fine metal wires intertwined in the nervous tissue) that the main character supposedly created.

However it turns out that the Traces were not artificial implants but a parasitic alien species that had attacked humanity but was unable to complete their life cycle, with the last free humans being the so called "inmates" in the station in the sun. The main character basically figured out how to free people from this species but need more time so he lied and said he'd figured out what kept the aliens from flowering.

The book ends as the inmates freed from the infestation slowly, piloted the station out of the sun, teleporting solar plasma into the alien controlled ships as a makeshift weapon, eventually destroying the majority of the infected since they just mindlessly rushed to get the cure for their inability to flower.

I lost this book years ago and I haven't turned up anything on Google with the information I know

I bought it around 1997 to 1999. I can't really remember the cover.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! Approximately when did you get this book? Even if it's 2nd hand, that will help us narrow down the search. Please check out the other suggestions for writing a good story-id question to see if there are any other details you can edit into your question. (For example, do you remember what the cover looked like?)
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


Could it be Fortress on the Sun by Paul Cook? It was originally published in 1997.

Ra is a 21st century prison camp that also acts as facility for harvesting metals—from the Sun. The prisoners have all been banished here for extreme crimes, but none of them remembers anything from their past. As a lethal disease slowly spreads through the camp and the prisoners are abandoned, Ian Hutchings must find a way out if he and his people are to survive. But dark secrets lurk, and as they try to survive both the illness and the inferno they live on, they will discover a truth even stranger than their own circumstances.

It sounds a lot like what you're looking for but I've never read it so just a possibility.

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