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SF short story, maybe "House by the Side of the Road"? Human at remote interstellar site as first defense line against alien invasion, probably 1970s.

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  • Do you think that's the title? Your question is unclear. – FuzzyBoots Oct 25 '20 at 15:02
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    Please visit scifi.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/9335/… for more prompts that may help to identify your story so that you can edit more details in. If someone does have a correct answer, you can accept it at any time by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons as per the tour. – FuzzyBoots Oct 25 '20 at 15:03
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    It sounds familiar - was this human part of a widely scattered network of 'lookouts' who basically tricked aliens into approaching their lonely outposts – Danny Mc G Oct 25 '20 at 19:41
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I'll take a wild swing here. I wonder if this couldn't be Clifford D. Simak's 1973 story "Construction Shack".

This isn't about a defense station in interstellar space. I am going primarily by the suggested publication date and the misremembered title, which sounded like something Simak might make up.

"Of course not," said Tyler. "Pluto never was a planet."

Instead, three astronauts are sent on a remote probe to Pluto and find an alien artifact.

The artifact is Pluto itself, a giant dust-covered hollow metal sphere. The explorers find a set of construction plans for the solar system.

But apparently things haven't turned out to plan.

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  • Now, did Simak or Niven come up with the idea of calling a planet-wide workshop "construction shack" first (as in "The Ringworld Engineers" where the protagonists are looking for the "Construction Shack" which (incomprehensibly to me) turns out to be a peculiar feature of the Ringworld resembling something quite visible from Old Earth. – David Tonhofer Oct 25 '20 at 18:42
  • I don't really think this is it, but I agree with you that it made one think of Simak; I ran an eye down his isfdb listing to see if there were any titles that might have been misremembered. The other author it made me think of was Laumer. – Organic Marble Oct 26 '20 at 2:23
  • Was there any action in the story? What happened? – Lee Eckhardt Oct 26 '20 at 12:42
  • @LeeEckhardt I've linked to the text. – Spencer Oct 26 '20 at 14:34
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Organic Marble mentioned Keith Laumer as a possibility. Laumer wrote a story that appeared in the April 1967 issue of Galaxy called 'Thunderhead'. Earth is at war with a spider-like race called the Djann. 20 years before the story opens, Lt. Carnaby had been dropped on an isolated Rim world to man a one-person sensor station. Unknown to him, the ship that set up the station was destroyed and the military authorities have forgotten it even exists. For years the Terran fleet has blockaded the Djann home system, but a Djann ship filled with eggs has pieced the blockade and is headed into the galaxy to set up shop somewhere else. Carnaby lures the ship to his planet with a phony Djann distress signal and then must face its crew alone...

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