I was recommended this sci-fi/fantasy novel, but have lost the title. The plot, as was described to me, involved a female (?) alien who crash lands near/in a town and how a man (?) helps her find the fuel she needs for her spaceship so she can leave again. Apparently the ending is a bit of a twist, involving what the fuel actually is and the alien's relationship with the human. Referred to as a bit feminist, but that may have just been my recommender's take. A faint memory of the title involving the word "red" or "rose" but the plot is really all the clue I have. Thank you for your help!

  • The film District 9 has a slight familiarity in an odd way. I don't think this was ever a book. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/District_9. There is a parent, a flower, fuel, crashed space ships, alien human friendship, all common threads I suppose.
    – KalleMP
    Apr 19, 2016 at 22:53
  • I am reminded of John Boyd's "The Girl with the Jade Green Eyes," where the lovely Kyra Lavaslatta and her crew from the destroyed planet Kanab need "a spoonful of uranium" to refuel their colonization ship. "A bit feminist," yes, but in that strange way that also comes through in Boyd's "Sex and the High Command."
    – André D.
    Nov 12, 2023 at 1:54

1 Answer 1


I believe you may be recalling a Theodore Sturgeon story, "Tiny and the Monster". The plot revolves around an alien whose ship has crashed outside a small town and is disabled. Tiny is a girl who can communicate with the "monster" inside the ship, and is working with her engineer/mechanic friends to try to help fix the ship. Problem is, the repair requires replacing a tungsten casting -- and you can't cast tungsten.

This story can be found in Thunder and Roses: Volume IV: The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, available to read online through Google Books It's not a novel, but it's a longish short work (I'd call it a novelette or novella).

  • 2
    My apologies. Nothing personal, just an ordinary Google-hater here. I wasn't sure how serious you were about "Tiny and the Monster" being the answer to the OP's question. From my vague recollections of reading that story years ago, I can't recall anything about it that matches the OP's description, outside of being a story about a shipwrecked alien needing an earthling's help to get back into space. And I thought Tiny was a dog, not a girl. Time for a reread.
    – user14111
    Aug 25, 2017 at 4:18
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    Been a very long time since I read it, too, and I just read a short excerpt at the link I posted -- you might be right about Tiny being a dog, but there's a significant female character communicating with the alien, even if she isn't Tiny. I was and am banking on conflation. Hopefully the questioner will read the linked story and we'll both find out if that was the one they remember.
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Aug 25, 2017 at 11:05
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    Thank you immensely! I've been trying for days to recall the author and the title of this story when accidentally stumbled upon this answer of yours. The story shocked me when I read it in my late teens, some 20 years ago. The alien was a telepathic dog who came into contact with a human woman Alister, a metallurgy scientist. Being unable to talk human, the dog by just barking before Alister's bookcase succeeded in explaining how to cast tungsten.
    – Yellow Sky
    Sep 12, 2020 at 12:26

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