The Book is about an earthship exploring the frontiers that I read as a kid (80's). All the stories are told by the same character but different encounters and events.

  • The first story is about the crew exploring the planet in a number of separate ships when one of them is taken over by a telepathic alien. As the ship returns however the surprise is sprung on the alien that the Mother ship is Computer controlled.
  • Another is the ship shrinking and then finding after its shrunk beyond the atom that it comes back in as gigantic compared to the Universe in a closed loop.

Hopefully that's enough to trigger a memory.

  • You say you read it as a kid. Was it aimed at kids? Additionally what language/nationality was it?
    – Moogle
    Commented Sep 1, 2014 at 23:00
  • 1
    I know that I've read this story set as well, but I'm also unable to pull the author from memory. I can expand the second story description a little. A small smear of light appears at the center of mass(?) of the ship. The smear slowly grows in size and they figure out that it is made up of galaxies and stars. The crew realizes that the shrinking has become a closed circle with the ship and crew now larger than the known universe. They must figure out how to stop the device/drive/process(?) at the right size to be normal again. I think they may have experienced several cycles of small to large Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 3:10
  • It was general SciFi from the Library and english (not aware it was a translation) so not a young readers book. I used to get quite a few books each week so the original name and title have "blurred". I've read both the ones you mention in collections of 30's and 40's Scifi so not those sadly. Thanks. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 12:44

1 Answer 1


Found it! It's Ship of Strangers by Bob Shaw.

The first chapter (or story- the book is a fix-up) ends with the alien being defeated by the ship's computer AESOP. The last story in the book has the ghostly galaxy emerging from the dead guy's body.

Thanks to David Nicol for the dead body hint which clinched it for me.

My copy is a 1978 Ace paperback. Now I'm ready to re-read this!

ISFB info: https://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pe.cgi?25899

  • 1
    Many Thanks Indeed! I've been puzzling over that one for a while. (and to all that racked their brains) Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 22:16

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