I'm looking for the name and author of the story about an alien race that wants to invade Earth, with a lot of weapons and an immense army. It seems the Earth is doomed. The ending, however, is very unexpected: The mother-ship of the aliens land, and a man who walks there happens to put his foot on the ship and flattens it. Now only the reader understands that the aliens are very, very small.

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    @user14111: I didn't suggest closing it. I just note that it may be a duplicate.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 11:06
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    @Chenmunka just a hint of advice (I know you’re an experienced reviewer but still) try and change the wording so it looks less like the auto-generated message. It might take more time to write but something like “related” or “very similar” normally is a good compromise
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 11:07
  • Given that there have even been advertising campaigns using this story (such as one for Thinkbox in 2016 and one for a Dutch insurance company in 2008), it is important that you state exactly how you encountered the particular story that you want to identify.
    – JdeBP
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 12:01
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    There was a comic with this exact story. I don't know where or when I read it, but it was well before the HHGG, because I do remember that the scene in HHGG reminded me of it. IIRC it was in black and white and not very long, and it didn't have any words, just a lot of growling. Could it have been in a Pep Parade?
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 12:46
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    There was an excellent Twilight Zone with this idea - The Invaders - I saw it once over 50 years ago and I still remember it strongly!
    – davidbak
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 16:38

4 Answers 4


This sounds like part of the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. An excerpt from Wikipedia:

G'Gugvuntts and Vl'hurgs

Two species which existed in the distant past, a very great distance from the Milky Way galaxy. The G'Gugvuntt were enemies of the Vl'hurgs, and these strange and warlike beings are on the brink of an interstellar war, because of an insult uttered by the G'Gugvuntt leader to the mother of the Vl'hurg leader. [...] the phrase "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle" (muttered by Arthur Dent to himself, which for some strange reason was carried by a freak wormhole in space back in time to the farthest regions of the universe where the G'Gugvuntts and the Vl'hurgs lived) filled the air over the conference table, [...]

After millennia of battle the surviving G'Gugvuntt and Vl'hurg realised what had actually happened, and joined forces to attack the Milky Way [...] they attacked the first planet they encountered, Earth. Due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was swallowed by a small dog. [...]

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    In the text based video game, you could feed the dog a cheese sandwich and prevent the space fleet from being destroyed. You couldn't win the game if you didn't
    – Paul TIKI
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 14:22
  • Is it at the end of the hitchhiker movie too as well or something like that?
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 17:25
  • @rogerdpack - I don't recall if it was in the (2005) movie, but I do know there was a scene in the British TV series that referenced this.
    – BruceWayne
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 19:09
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    It was in the movie: youtube.com/watch?v=dsYMa44m69g
    – Sarah
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 19:12

Sounds like it could be "Meteor", by John Wyndham, from The Seeds of Time collection.

It features a spacecraft carrying tiny aliens landing on Earth and, after various unfortunate incidents, the aliens get mistaken for insects and wiped out by insecticide.

Things that don't quite match the description: the aliens aren't a warlike invasion fleet, and it's insecticide that finishes them off, not being stepped on. It's otherwise very similar so I suppose it depends how clearly those details are remembered.

  • Welcome to the site! Good first answer. I cleaned up your formatting for you a little bit. If you don't like it, feel free to roll the edit back.
    – amflare
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 16:19

As noted in the comments above, this resembles "Pictures Don't Lie" by Katherine MacLean (referenced in this answer and this one) in terms of the alien ship being extremely small and suffering peril from it. What does not match is that it's a peaceful expedition where they have contacted Earth to let us know that they are coming. Also, the implication is not that they've been stepped upon, but rather that they're so small (and their metabolism so fast) that by the time the scientists realize that the ship is sinking in a small puddle in the field, it is likely too late.

You can find a copy at Project Gutenberg.

"A half circle of cliffs around the horizon. A wide muddy lake swarming with swimming things. Huge, strange white foliage all around the ship and incredibly huge pulpy monsters attacking and eating each other on all sides. We almost landed in the lake, right on the soft edge. The mud can't hold the ship's weight, and we're sinking. The engineer says we might be able to blast free, but the tubes are mud-clogged and might blow up the ship. When can you reach us?"


Nathen laughed again harshly, reaching for the mike. "Get them out? There isn't a lake or river within hundreds of miles from here!"
A shiver of unreality went down the Times' spine. Automatically and inanely, he found himself delving in his pocket for a cigarette while he tried to grasp what had happened. "Where are they, then? Why can't we see their spaceship?" Nathen switched the microphone on in a gesture that showed the bitterness of his disappointment.
"We'll need a magnifying glass for that."

Illustration - hand pointing at the screen, showing the alien ship being grappled by a protozoa while another hand adjusts a dial

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    The more I wrote the answer up, the less certain I became of it being correct, but I already felt committed.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 16:40
  • This was also made into a radio play, with a few changes. In that version they land in a puddle in front of the protagonist's porch. Commented Nov 10, 2017 at 22:03

Aliens Ate My Homework by Bruce Coville, is another possibility. I even remember some in-book images of the kids sneaker next to the alien's tiny saucer. It was followed up by a few sequels.

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    The books do have a tiny spaceship, in the form of the Ferkel crew, but they are not destroyed and they're not invading.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Nov 7, 2017 at 15:25

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