I'm trying to find a short story. I don't remember many of the specifics, but there is a boy that is exploring space and he doesn't heed the warning about flying too close to some object (maybe the sun or a black hole). After exploring the object he returns to find all his family and friends are old because he forgot about space time and time slowing down for him due to exposure to gravity.

Unfortunately, I hardly remember many details. I believe I heard a bit on the radio about the short story so I haven't even read it. I really don't know, but would guess on NPR around 2010 or so. I can't recall names or the writer. I believe it was a boy who didn't follow the advice of his father.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Where and when did you read this? (Was it online, in an anthology, or a magazine?) Do you remember anything else related to the story - other stories in the same book/magazine, etc.?
    – DavidW
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:11
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    – Valorum
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:13
  • It looks like you've accidentally opened a second account. You ought to merge them.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:29
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    – FuzzyBoots
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:37
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    The title of your question says the boy grew old, but the body of your question says the opposite, that everyone else grew old in the story. Which is it?
    – user14111
    Dec 6, 2021 at 20:54

1 Answer 1


Icarus at the Edge of Time by Brian Greene

Icarus, like his father, will live out his life on the starship Proxima, headed on a 23-trillion-mile journey to a planet that had sent intelligible radio signals to Earth. But the 14-year-old yearns to escape the Proxima's confines. So he gears up his Runabout-with a "micro-warp-drive engine" of his own design-and flits nimbly to the edge, not of the Sun, but of a black hole. But Icarus has forgotten about gravity's ability to warp time, and he will never reunite with his father or the Proxima again.

Found by searching for site:npr.org relativity boy exploring space, which led me to Robert Krulwich's interview with Brian Greene.

The captain repeated his order, but Icarus stayed on course for the black hole. The next voice was his father's. Icarus, turn back. Don't go near the black hole. You won't survive. Icarus answered, I'm sorry, Dad, I must go. It's my one chance. But don't worry. I built the micro-warp drive engine. I've done the calculations. And I'm the best pilot. I will make it. Icarus shut off his radio. Oh, Icarus, his father pleaded across the icy stillness of space. Even if you can do what no pilot has ever done, in your calculations you didn't take account of time, the slowing of time near the black hole's edge. But Icarus couldn't hear his father's words and headed onward.

  • The parallel with the tragedy of Icarus was too obvious, so I searched with icarus story black hole and this book is the entire first page of results. I'm just too slow.
    – DavidW
    Dec 6, 2021 at 19:41

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