A friend once wrote a short story that I think he may have plagiarized. I don't remember all the details, but the gist was that a crewman on a spaceship killed his crew mates and blew up the ship, and the explosion was visible from earth; in fact, it became the legendary star which the wise men followed to Bethlehem. Some of the particulars may have been changed a bit, but the most important points were the spaceship exploding and the wise men seeing it.

Note: It is entirely possible that my friend did invent the story himself. If this is the case, there is no correct answer to this question.

Note 2: It should be obvious that this question is not a duplicate of the one linked here (Short story where the Bethlehem Star proves to be a Supernova and an expedition visits its remains), as the plot is quite different. The star is not a star, it is a spaceship explosion. The story ends with the explosion being seen from earth, and no expedition is sent to investigate it.

  • 2
    Is your mate Chris deBurg? youtu.be/GmZg7tvGN9o
    – user46509
    Jun 18, 2015 at 16:03
  • 7
    Depends on the ship. The Tardis blowing up acted as a replacement sun for 2000 years.
    – user46509
    Jun 18, 2015 at 16:38
  • 10
    @cde - I'm not asking if the story is plausible. I'm asking what the name of the story is. If you have issues with the likelihood of the plot, you can write a letter to the author once he or she is identified.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 18, 2015 at 16:45
  • 1
    I could totally imagine the wise men standing there and going "Did you see that? It just exploded" "Yeah, I know, but I don't have the time to go back and change my boxers." "wait what?" Jun 18, 2015 at 22:47
  • 1
    There was a gaga cartoon in one of the many HEAVY METAL magazine imitators of the early 80s that was exactly like this: Two incompetent aliens destroy their spaceship through poor service and bad management and the wreckage burns, forming the Star of Bethlehem... Cant recall the source though. Jun 23, 2015 at 0:01

2 Answers 2


I'd say the story was written by A. C. Clarke, and the title is: The Star

  • I'm not sure that's it, but it is very interesting. Thank you.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jun 18, 2015 at 14:38
  • 4
    It's not a ship in that story. Jun 18, 2015 at 16:47
  • @DJClayworth, ah, you're right, an entire alien civilization's home planet was destroyed when their sun went nova. My mistake. Jun 19, 2015 at 13:21

You might be having trouble finding the story because it might not be a short story — at least not totally. Parts of the idea might come from a song :

Chris De Burgh — "A Spaceman Came Travelling" (1975)

A spaceman came travelling on his ship from afar,

'Twas light years of time since his mission did start,

And over a village he halted his craft,

And it hung in the sky like a star, just like a star...

He followed a light and came down to a shed,

Where a mother and child were lying there on a bed...

In short, I think your friend has probably merged Arthur C. Clarke's "The Star", a 1956 short story about an ancient supernova (revisited in 1985 in The Twilight Zone ), with De Burgh's song and then maybe added in some dramatic bits about psychotic crew members, producing something that could very well be unique.

  • I'll have to subtly ask my friend if he's ever heard the song.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 13, 2015 at 5:04
  • Whether I accept this answer shall depend upon what my friend says. This is getting complicated. :)
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 13, 2015 at 5:16
  • @WadCheber : That's fair. Either way, I'm very curious to see what your friend says!
    – Praxis
    Jul 13, 2015 at 5:17
  • @WadCheber : Even if your friend never read "The Star", he / she may have watched the The Twilight Zone episode based on it...
    – Praxis
    Jul 13, 2015 at 11:55
  • 2
    @LightnessRacesinOrbit - Because I want to know the answer to the question.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jul 13, 2015 at 20:44

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.