I read this in the early '70s - I'm not sure if it was in a proper anthology, or just an extra story added in to pad out a short novel to proper paperback size.

Set in England (so probably a British author), mysterious globes of energy begin appearing and crushing everything in their path before disappearing again.

The male protagonist gets involved when he narrowly escapes, when the building where he works (possibly a lab of some kind) gets destroyed by one of the globes. Possible that he was in his car at the time - he got out before it was crushed but possibly a female passenger didn't.

On investigating, he finds that the globes contain starships from another dimension - to them our dimension is 'hyperspace' and the globes are how their ship's warp bubble manifest themselves here.

He manages to get inserted in one of the bubbles and contacts the crew of the ship inside - I can't remember how the story ends.

Since posting this I've remembered one more snippet of information. The original globes appeared near London, and were black. Later white globes started to appear in the Midlands - at one point a black globe and a white globe travelled to meet each other. It later transpired the different coloured globes were starships belonging to two different civilisations.


1 Answer 1


Sounds like Slow Birds, by Ian Watson.

They were called slow birds because they flew through the air - at a pace of three feet per minute. Slow birds always kept the same height above the ground and they would bank to avoid substantial buildings, but frailer obstructions they would push on through. No one could keep track of a single slow bird. After each one appeared it would fly onward slowly for any length of time between an hour and a day. And vanish again. To reappear somewhere else unpredictably. But how? And why?

The slow birds appear and disappear mysteriously, they sometimes explode and destroy everything within a certain radius, a character gets aboard one and finds out that Earth is hyperspace to them. I don't remember energy globes.

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  • I can't find a mention of Slow Birds prior to 1985 but the OP said early 70's, was the short story published in a magazine possibly in the seventies?
    – Danny Mc G
    Apr 30, 2019 at 11:37
  • ISFDb says first publication was 1983 in MSF&F: isfdb.org/cgi-bin/title.cgi?49107
    – DavidW
    Apr 30, 2019 at 14:05
  • Sorry, definitely not Slow Birds - as well as being published at least 10 years too late, the extended review by Dat-Dangk Vemucci on Goodreads is definitely not the story I'm looking for. Apr 30, 2019 at 17:48

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