When I was in elementary school, I remember borrowing a science fiction short story collection from the library. It had a number of great stories in it, but I've never been able to find it as an adult.

This was in the early nineties but I think the book was published in the early eighties. I remember the name "Ben Bova" on the cover, so I assume he wrote one or more of the stories. I also remember one of the tales was about a boy who bought a make-your-own-star kit, which allowed people to construct a miniature star in a glass jar. He did as instructed at first, but eventually got bored and started feeding bricks and things into it. Catastrophe ensued.

Anyone know the name of the story, the author, or the collection?

  • 3
    I also read this in the early 80s. The story gave me nightmares for months. May 15, 2013 at 16:10
  • 1
    This is really going to annoy me now! I think I still have my copy of this book but it is in New Zealand and I'm not :( If it helps jog other's memories, I remember hand drawn illustrations for lots of the stories, and I think the same collection had a story about giant aliens "watering" earth with pesticide.
    – David Hall
    May 15, 2013 at 22:07

3 Answers 3


It was called Bobo's Star!

This is where I have been going wrong. I read a lot of Ben Bova, and must have conflated the names in my mind. The actual book was a collection called Science Fiction Stories (Red Hot Reads), with the stories chosen by Edward Blishen.

Short story is the first one on the list here: http://casa.colorado.edu/~ajsh/astr2030_06/bhmovies.html

The collection is here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Fiction-Stories-Red-Reads/dp/0753410184

Thanks a lot to everyone who answered/commented. Sorry for the Ben Bova red herring....

  • read bobo's star in a sci-fi short story collection for younger readers. it was bought from a cut price bookshop in paperback, loved the story lots of great stories in the book, including 'All summer in one day'. lost it i'm afraid.
    – user47972
    Jul 8, 2015 at 23:07
  • I read a similar one, but where the star was misshapen and the boy thought he could fix it by adding more bricks. Is that the same story? The description in your first link doesn't quite fit how I remember it.
    – JAB
    Apr 5, 2017 at 0:50
  • I read this one in my Junior High School library in an anthology in the Space series edited by Richard Davis. Just found it by going through the isfdb. isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?31369
    – alfvaen
    May 26, 2020 at 15:55

Though I can't put my finger on it immediately, the story is very familiar. I think you are seeking one of the Analog Series books. In particular I think it might be the best of Analog. I will have to find my copy.

It if helps, the covers of all the Analog books can be found at the following site if you go down to the collection area:

Ben Bova Fantastic fiction site

The Best of Analog cover and description can be found at the following links:

Best of Analog - TOC listing

Best of Analog Cover

Good luck.

  • Wow! I had no idea there were so many! None immediately jumped out at me, but it's a great place to start. Cheers! May 16, 2013 at 11:51

I'm not finding a specific story that stands out as more likely than another by title, but I think this book may have been The Best of Nebulas, which was an anthology edited by Bova and released in 1989. It includes the following:


  • Dune, Frank Herbert (1965)
  • Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke (1973)
  • The Forever War, Joe Haldeman (1975)
  • Man Plus, Frederik Pohl (1976)
  • Gateway, Frederik Pohl (1977)
  • Startide Rising, David Brin (1983)
  • Neuromancer, William Gibson (1984)
  • Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card (1985)
  • Moving Mars, Greg Bear (1994)
  • The Terminal Experiment, Robert J. Sawyer (1995)

    Short Stories

  • “Repent Harlequin!, Said the Ticktockman”, Harlan Ellison (1965)

  • “Behold the Man”, Michael Moorcock (1967)
  • “The Screwfly Solution”, Alice Sheldon (1977)
  • “GiANTS”, Edward Bryant (1979)
  • “Tangents”, Greg Bear (1986)

    Novelettes and Novellas

  • “A Meeting with Medusa”, Arthur C. Clarke (1972)

  • “The Bicentennial Man”, Isaac Asimov (1976)
  • “Sandkings”, George R. R. Martin (1979)
  • “The Ugly Chicken”, Howard Waldrop (1980)
  • “Blood Music”, Greg Bear (1983)
  • “The Night We Buried Road Dog”, Jack Cady (1993)
  • Man, the SCI-FI!!! font on the cover looks really familiar, but I don't think this is the same book. I guess almost every scifi book ever written, especially in the eighties, had that font. +1 for introducing me to it, though - looks like a good read.... May 15, 2013 at 14:41

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