Looking for a short story that I read in the 1980s. Following the discovery of an alien spacecraft apparently bound to Earth, plagued with conflicts, mankind organizes and prepares for contact, setting up a complete protocol. This preparation turns out to be in vain, as the alien spacecraft just passes by and leaves, completely ignoring Earth and humans.

Important: this is the core plot of this short story (not a novel). Clarke's Rendezvous with Rama and Fountains of Paradise are not the answer, as these are novels and their core plots are much larger than that.

  • 2
    Could this be "The Ethical Equations" by Murray Leinster?
    – NomadMaker
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 18:48
  • Thank you. Unfortunately, this is not the one. I could find it on the net and the story is much different. Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 21:46

1 Answer 1


"The Invasion of Venus" by Stephen Baxter could be a match. The alien spacecraft does indeed ignore Earth and humans completely. But it doesn't simply "pass by and leave"; it wreaks a bit of havoc elsewhere in the solar system before departing.

  • 1
    Thank you, but this is not the one. No "havoc" part, and the short story I have in mind is pre-1990s (I read it in the 1980s). This one is from 2010. Commented May 22, 2022 at 19:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.