This was a short story which I believe was written before the year 2000.

It was about beings which are bluish orbs floating in space, evolved to no longer needing their bodies. They recognize one another by their luminescence and spirit.


3 Answers 3


This is the theme of "The Fire Balloons" in Ray Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles"

I have a copy of the older version called "The Silver Locusts", buried somewhere out of quotation reach.

Two priests are on assignment on Mars, to find the native sentient life forms, and offer to build and conduct a church for them.

Both are sincere believers in their religion, but Father Peregrine, the senior and commander, so to speak, is the most fervent believer in meeting the "aliens". (From our point of view, not that of Mars.) Younger Father Stone is, well, a believer but with more skepticism, or perhaps is more ethnocentric and limited in his human thinking.

The blue spheres of light do not approach the humans, though the humans see them floating in the distance. Father Peregrine forces a meeting by jumping off a cliff in the belief that they must have enough ethics to save him from harm, which they do. They assure Father Peregrine that they have no need of "salvation", as they already live in perfect peace and oneness.

Fritz Weaver played Father Peregrine in the television series "The Martian Chronicles". He portrays being profoundly affected by his meeting with the Martians, perhaps more strongly than was stressed in the story.

  • The OP's description is pretty skimpy, and there are probably more stories about floating blue orbs, but "The Fire Balloons" is a good guess, so +1. Not all editions of The Martian Chronicles include that story. By the way, under the title "'In This Sign . . .'" it was reprinted in the April 1951 issue of Imagination and can be read at the Internet Archive.
    – user14111
    Mar 2, 2020 at 2:51
  • Do they tell each other apart by their luminosity?
    – Valorum
    May 31, 2020 at 17:24

Daniel Galouye wrote two interlinked stories that deal with floating spheres - possibly from another dimension - that invaded Earth: "The City of Force" (published in 1959) and "O Kind Master" (published in 1970, a sequel to the former).

In 1963 Galouye also expanded "The City of Force" into a full novel under the title "Lords of the Psychon"; Wikipedia has a detailed summary of the plot.

These large floating spheres are made of energy, live in cities made of energy, communicate with each other in some way humans don't fathom and show their emotions by changing their color: for example, orange/green is for happiness, yellow is for rage, grey is for when they sleep.
They also keep domesticated humans in their homes, who behave and are handled the same as lapdogs: these humans are happy with their captivity.

There are also free humans who live outside these cities of energy who fight the invaders with magnets.

  • Are they blue, do they float in space and tell each other apart by their luminosity?
    – Valorum
    May 31, 2020 at 17:24
  • They change colors, so they may also turn blue; they float; and changing colors means they have a way to tell each other apart. OP offers scant details: probably she read the book a long time ago; and memories can fade and be remade in creative ways after time has passed. Moreover, more alternatives means more chances for the OP to find the right book. Let her decide.
    – Zab Zonk
    May 31, 2020 at 17:33

The description could apply to the Angels in James Blish's stories 'The Star Dwellers' and 'Mission to the Heart Stars'.

In the stories they are incredibly ancient intelligent beings, some of whom date back to the beginning of the universe.

  • 1
    Are they blue, do they float in space and tell each other apart by their luminosity?
    – Valorum
    Feb 23, 2020 at 19:19

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