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I am looking for a short story about a fugitive who is being hunted by humans in all areas of the galaxy. He decides the best place to hide is in the most obvious place, vis. Earth. The fugitive is God.

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    Novel, short story, movie? Read when? Apr 17, 2018 at 16:25
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    Hello and welcome to SFF! At the moment it is quite unclear what you are actually asking here. If this is an id question though you can add the [story-identification] tag to your question and also have a look at this guide to add any more relevant details in.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Apr 17, 2018 at 16:28
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    OP missed the story-ID tag, but I think it's pretty clear they are looking for an ID here. I think OP can probably add more details, (where it was read, what language, etc) but overall I think it's a decent question. Apr 17, 2018 at 16:50

1 Answer 1

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"Evensong," by Lester del Rey. I remembered it as soon as I saw your description, although I had to look up the title and the author. You see, what I really remembered, aside from the plot, was that I had first read that story about 30 years ago, when I had just bought an old copy of a big anthology edited by Harlan Ellison, with original stories contributed by everyone he could talk into it: Dangerous Visions. (Later followed by "sequels" full of more stories which were supposed to explore equally "dangerous" ideas.)

The plot is essentially as you describe. The viewpoint character, whom the text just calls "he" for much of the story, is frantically trying to hide from his high-tech pursuers. Although it seems to be by accident that he ends up on Earth, where he had first met their ancestors. (Note: He does not claim to have "created" this planet, nor its sentient inhabitants, from scratch.) He refers to their descendants, now chasing him in their powerful ships, as "the Usurpers." Then the final paragraphs wrap it up this way:

"Come forth! This earth is a holy place and you cannot remain upon it, Our judgement is done and a place is prepared for you. Come forth and let me take you there!" The voice was soft, but it carried a power that stilled even the rustling of the leaves.

He let the gaze of the Usurper reach him now, and the prayer in him was mute and directed outward—and hopeless, as he knew it must be.

"But—" Words were useless, but the bitterness inside him forced the words to come from him. "But why? I am God!"

For a moment, something akin to sadness and pity was in the eyes of the Usurper. Then it passed as the answer came. "I know. But I am Man. Come!"

He bowed at last, silently, and followed slowly as the yellow sun sank behind the walls of the garden.

And the evening and the morning were the eighth day.

Note: Of course, since this entity is frankly stated to not have created the Earth, nor the human race, one could easily argue that he isn't really "God." He's just an incredibly powerful extraterrestrial entity who visited Earth long ago, and ultimately inspired lots of stories about a "God" who -- if he had existed as later described in the Bible -- would, in fact, be far more powerful than this entity ever was. But del Rey didn't dwell upon such hairsplitting arguments, because that would weaken the point which I gather he wanted to make about humanity "outgrowing" religion.

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    That story has haunted me for decades. Could not find the book or remember the author. Something about the story and how it impacted me made it larger than life and beacon of sorts. I read hundreds of anthologies looking for it and finding it became a sort of a mini quest but not an obsession. Now late at night unable to sleep the right mix of search parameters on an iPhone has finally given me an answer. Now I have to find the complete story and see if it reads the way I remembered it in my youth 50 years ago.
    – Bill
    Sep 19, 2021 at 7:15

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