I'm looking for a story I once read, in which Humanity sends out a space ship to try leaving the Solar System, and it is promptly destroyed by a military ship belonging to the Galactic Empire, which then broadcasts an announcement declaring that the ship was destroyed for the crime of attempting to leave, which is a violation of the treaty permanently restricting humanity to their own solar system.

Humanity won't stand for a complete alien stranger to say "you agreed to stay home forever", goes on war footing, manages to conquer the galactic government. In the end, documentation is found showing that yes, many millennia ago there had been a war, which ended with Humanity agreeing to be permanently confined to Earth.

  • 5
    Not your name...but is it your final form?
    – Adamant
    Aug 16, 2016 at 20:54
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    Sounds similar to "With Friends Like These" (see Looking for identification of SF story where humans are the “ancient evil”) but some of the details don't match up.
    – Null
    Aug 16, 2016 at 21:10
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    The first part reminds me a little of "All the Way Back" by Michael Shaara, although the second part is not a match at all.
    – Megha
    Aug 17, 2016 at 10:35
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    This sounds a lot like the plot of the classic videogame Homeworld. Did you read this story in a book or on internet? It could be a transcript of the game if the latest.
    – kikirex
    Sep 8, 2018 at 11:49
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    According to the plot of "Homeworld", the protagonist group who knew they weren't native to the world they lived on found a buried spaceship with a map leading back to home. The story I'm looking for had a Humanity, living on earth, developing spaceflight for what they thought was the first time. So this Homeworld story looks like it's an OK story on its own, but it doesn't look like the one I want. Thank you. Sep 28, 2018 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


Sounds like The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman.

In this story, the ships would mysteriously lose some atmosphere and fuel so they were "nicely turned back" by these master beings.

From Goodreads:

The Earth's leaders have drawn a line in the interstellar sand—despite the fact that the fierce alien enemy that they would oppose is inscrutable, unconquerable, and very far away. A reluctant conscript drafted into an elite Military unit, Private William Mandella has been propelled through space and time to fight in the distant thousand-year conflict; to perform his duties without rancor and even rise up through military ranks. Pvt. Mandella is willing to do whatever it takes to survive the ordeal and return home. But "home" may be even more terrifying than battle, because, thanks to the time dilation caused by space travel, Mandella is aging months while the Earth he left behind is aging centuries.

  • KINDA LIKE The Forever war & VERY much like Haldemon's style!
    – ziggypiggy
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:13
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    But in The Forever War the war was galactic in scope; humanity wasn't restricted to the solar system.
    – DavidW
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:35
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    This doesn't match the description in the question very well
    – Valorum
    Dec 27, 2022 at 15:35
  • This isn't it, but thank you for trying Jan 2, 2023 at 3:22

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