I'm trying to find a sci-fi anthology I owned as a child from the early 80s/late 70s. I think it was published in the UK by St Michael (Marks & Spencer), but possibly not as I can't find it under that publisher.

There is a St Michael sci-fi anthology called Beyond the Stars: Tales of Adventure in Time and Space, but that's not it as I think the book I remember contained the Ray Bradbury story "A Sound of Thunder", though memory does play tricks...

As I recall, one of the other stories was about a leathery alien thing that sort of rolled along and at one point had a fight with a bear (I think). I recall that the alien thing in the story was sort of oval and leathery and that it used a knife blade to kill the bear. I think the story or possibly the alien thing's name began with an "O". Some of the stories had illustrations. Unfortunately I can't remember anything about the other stories in the collection. Does anyone know what the anthology might be?

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    Could you take a look at this guide and edit in anything else? For example, do you know what any of the other stories were about? Were there any memorable plot elements?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 11:35

1 Answer 1


First off, I believe the story you described, about the leathery alien thing that rolls along and hunts bears (among other critters) is "The Ruum", a short story by Arthur Porges, first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1953; you can read it for free at the Internet Archive. It paralyzes and preserves its victims instead of killing them, and it's called a "ruum" which does not start with an "O", but I think it's close enough to your description, considering that you read it 40 years ago. For more about "The Ruum", see my (unaccepted) answer to this old question.

So we're looking for an anthology containing both "The Ruum" and Bradbury's "A Sound of Thunder", that was published in the UK sometime around 1980. My guess is The Stars and Under, edited by Edmund Crispin and published by Faber and Faber; perhaps the 1975 edition:

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It was published in the right place around the right time, and it contains those two stories, but I don't know if it has any illustrations.

  • I think you are indeed correct and yes, the story I described is The Ruum by Arthur Porges (I've just quickly re-read it). Many thanks for taking the time to answer - much appreciated
    – Andy Key
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 14:20

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