I read a story long ago that has gotten stuck in my mind lately, but I have no idea of the author or title!

It's about a wrecked spaceship. All the crew get into spacesuits, but have no maneuvering packs. They are all being thrown away from the wreck in various directions. There's no hope of rescue, and the story consists almost entirely of the crew’s radio communications with each other and the thoughts of the protagonist.

The protagonist is the only one heading towards Earth, and the story ends with him thinking "I'll burn like a meteor. I wonder if anyone'll see me" and then cuts to a kid saying "Look! A shooting star!" And mommy saying "Make a wish!"

Obviously, it had an impact on me! I probably would have read it between the late '60's and early '70's.

Thanks for any help!

  • 8
    "Kaleidoscope" by Ray Bradbury—see this Q&A for details. It was dramatized as the 1951-09-15 episode of Dimension X which you can listen to at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Feb 1, 2017 at 8:19
  • 4
    If this is the one you were looking for, please post a comment here to confirm, so we can close this question. Thanks!
    – user14111
    Feb 1, 2017 at 8:25
  • 1
    I have edited my answer to this old question to include a quotation from the end of the story, about the boy making a wish on a falling star.
    – user14111
    Feb 1, 2017 at 8:56
  • @user14111 - Did the poster confirm that the linked question is the duplicate in some fashion?
    – Adamant
    Feb 1, 2017 at 8:59
  • @Adamant Nope. Must be getting sleepy. Thanks.
    – user14111
    Feb 1, 2017 at 9:05

2 Answers 2


As per user14111's comment (answers should be in answers, not comments), Ray Bradbury's "Kaleidoscope", as described in this answer:

He fell swiftly, like a bullet, like a pebble, like an iron weight, objective, objective all of the time now, not sad or happy or anything, but only wishing he could do a good thing now that everyone was gone, a good thing for just himself to know about.

When I hit the atmosphere, I'll burn like a meteor.

"I wonder," he said, "if anyone'll see me?"

The small boy on the country road looked up and screamed. "Look, Mom, look! A falling star!"

"Make a wish," said his mother. "Make a wish."

It can be read here and it was turned into a comic.

Comic Panel

  • So that we can have an actual answer with the answer...
    – FuzzyBoots
    May 17, 2017 at 19:59
  • It's available here and there's even a comic panel. May 17, 2017 at 20:04

Makes me think of dark star, after the ship was destroyed one of the crew finds a ladder and burns up surfing to the planet.

  • 1
    That's a film, not a short story. May 17, 2017 at 20:04
  • Did some checks and found that dark star was influenced by a short story Kaleidoscope by ray Bradbury. That looks like the story
    – Will
    May 18, 2017 at 1:57

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