I remember reading a short story a few years ago about a starship crew from Earth(?), in either their first (or a new model) FTL ship. The story opened with them in a new star system, which they had surveyed and were now preparing to leave. They duly fired up their engines and departed in FTL mode.

Later they scanned the system they'd left, only to find that its star had gone nova/supernova. After checking timings, they realised that the star had exploded at exactly the same time as they'd turned on their FTL drive. After that, it began to dawn on them they'd not looked back at Earth after leaving it using their FTL mode... Oops. The story ended with them waiting for the light from Earth's sun to reach them.

I've bought quite a few older collections, and even more anthologies (as far back as Grof Conklin in the 1940s), so would hesitate to guess even a particular decade, but have the feeling it was written by someone like Arthur Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Harry Harrison etc.

  • When hard science tells us it's impossible I'm not sure anything with FTL should ever be tagged hard-sci-fi?
    – Pelinore
    Jan 29, 2019 at 6:47
  • @Pelinore - Not shouldn't. To be honest I don't think I've ever seen it used correctly
    – Valorum
    Jan 29, 2019 at 12:08
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    @Pelinore perhaps you haven't yet been introduced to the Alcubierre drive? Mutter mutter Clarke mutter mutter elderly scientist mutter mutter
    – Peter M
    Jan 29, 2019 at 12:25
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    @PeterM mutter mutter exotic matter mutter mutter Jan 29, 2019 at 16:57
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    @OrganicMarble touché. However it is interesting that Alcubierre derived a theory that allows for FTL and is consistent with Einstein. I'm not saying that the MiB are hiding Alcubierre drives from the public, but it does show that our knowledge of physics is not 100% complete.
    – Peter M
    Jan 29, 2019 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


Time Fuze by Randall Garrett.

It ends:

A little more than half a light year from Sol, when the ship reached the point where its occupants could see the light that had left their home sun more than seven months before, they watched it become suddenly, horribly brighter. A hundred thousand times brighter!

The story has been asked about a couple of times already:

Short story about the maiden voyage of an FTL capable ship (no accepted answer)

what sci-fi story features an experimental FTL drive which triggers destination (and origin) sun to go nova? (answer accepted via comment)

  • 1
    That's it exactly, from my copy of "The Ascent of Wonder". Now have to brush up on quick ways to search previous questions.
    – Astrodan
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:21
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    No problem, it is nice to have an answer accepted on this one! Jan 30, 2019 at 22:21

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