Does anyone remember a short story about a hollow sphere containing alien atmosphere that crashes on earth and the earth's atmosphere fights back? There were no people or aliens in it, just atmospheres.

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    Definitely a story with atmosphere! Yes, I remember this story a little... There was a peculiar smell from the broken sphere, but nothing obvious. Clouds surround the alien atmosphere, which makes it visible as an amoeboid form that the Earth's atmosphere crushes as if a giant fist had come down. The storm dies down quickly after that. But there must have been people in the story to witness the events that were so much larger than they were. Probably anthologized in the 1960s or 1970s. Can you remember any further details, even something like the cover and whether it was in a book or magazine? Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:44
  • No I don't remember any more details about the story but it was probably in a book because I was reading everything in the local library at the time. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 2:49
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    Do you remember the approximate time (even the decade) when you read it? That could narrow the search. Commented Sep 25, 2019 at 3:13
  • The time line was probably the mid to late 70's. Commented Sep 27, 2019 at 1:22

1 Answer 1


This imaginative story is "Storm Warning" by Donald A. Wollheim, first published in 1942 and anthologized several times from 1949 to 1979, then not again till 2012 and 2016. Trent Walters provided this description in the APB-SAL blog in 2014:

The narrator and Ed, meteorologists, head out to Wyoming to check out a meteor and unusual storms, one after another. The researchers discover glass globes instead of a meteor and strange, vegetative air you'd smell on a warm day... except it was cold. They spy something glassy a ways away.

Spoiler The meteors are glass bubbles, leaking alien air. Aliens are converting our atmosphere into something more comfortable for them.

Funky fun speculation: The tale proposes water as a source of life, rather than an excellent solvent and transport medium. Earth's air and this alien air duke it out for supremacy. Perhaps this is the source of storms, epic battles waged without our knowing. The science is a little wonky although maybe less so when it was published.

The story ends on "That's what I think." which is either a blemished ending or calls into question what's been said, which makes sense for the odd science hypotheses, but then it's hard to tell what occurred otherwise. If there's an unreliable narrator, some alternate theory (theories) should be supplied.

You can read the story in the Internet Archive here, though under the pseudonym Millard Verne Gordon.

If you think this is correct, please click on the check mark to indicate that.

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    Is this the one where monstrous storms form and send gale-force winds against a force field that the aliens form, battering it again and again until it is reduced and ultimately dispersed?
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 21:31
  • @DavidW Yes, it is. Commented Mar 15, 2021 at 22:07

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