The Star Creature

Rated 4.71/5 based on 14 reviews
A story of the first encounter between two intelligent species, with an assumption that "intelligence" is just one of many attributes that may be just as important.

Today this would be called Flash Fiction. In 1979 it was a "short-short" story. It was first published in the Winter, 1979, issue of Unearth Magazine (Volume 2, Number 4).
Download: epub mobi (Kindle) pdf more Online Reader
Words: 1,010
Language: English
ISBN: 9781476452715
About Kevin A. Lyons

A friend once told Kevin A. Lyons that he has a “writer’s biography.”

He was born in the Flushing neighborhood of Queens, in New York City. His family moved to New Jersey while he was still an infant, and he grew up in the suburbs near Revolutionary War battlefields, the Great Swamp, and the Pine Barrens. He was never a very diligent student, but he did manage to graduate with a degree in Geology from Rutgers University.

While at Rutgers his summer job was as a security escort in the South Bronx. This was in the 1970’s, during the “Fort Apache” era -- in fact, the 41st Precinct was in his territory.

After graduation he worked on oil wells as a mud logger, mostly in remote locations. He spent one winter working on oil wells on the North Slope of Alaska, and the next winter on rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. In between, he worked on conventional wells in California, Texas and Louisiana. The last well he worked on was the test well in Georges Banks, off the coast of New England.

He returned to New Jersey and found a job with the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game, and Shellfisheries (as it was known at the time). He began work in the Bureau of Law Enforcement, doing office work and radio dispatching. He then transferred to the Bureau of Wildlife Management and worked outdoors maintaining Wildlife Management Areas. While with Wildlife Management he was called to assist with two forest fires. He spent his last few months there driving a pickup truck and retrieving roadkill deer from highways in four counties.

Next, Lyons bought a suit and moved to New England to work for the telephone company. When the Bell System broke up he went with AT&T, and moved back to New Jersey. He rose through regional and national technical support positions, and ultimately became a Member of Technical Staff at Bell Labs.

He left Bell Labs to become a stay-at-home dad. He also volunteered at a local therapeutic riding center for several years.

Kevin A. Lyons sold his first story, The Star Creature, to Unearth Magazine in 1979. His second sale, Billy Wolfe’s Riding Spirit, was reprinted in the anthology The Year’s Best Horror Stories, Series VIII (1980, DAW Books, edited by Karl Edward Wagner).

Also by This Author

Readers of This Book Also Read


Review by: JQDahiya on Aug. 11, 2017 :
A story that has aged gracefully in 38 years, and still reads as fresh.

What happens when an alien finds a 'star creature'. Poignant.
(review of free book)

Review by: James Jenkins on Aug. 21, 2016 :
Well written, not as thought provoking now as it would have been 37 years ago. A nice read.
(review of free book)

Review by: Maria E. Schneider on Nov. 16, 2015 :
Good story, although a tad melancholy for my tastes. Not a thing wrong with it and it's a nice sci/fi fit.
(review of free book)

Review by: M.Y. David on July 23, 2015 :
A very poetic short story, despite the characters' backgrounds and physical appearances.

Sympathy, respect and honour all play a role in this short piece and, given the length of the story, that is no easy feat to achieve - well done, Lyons.
(review of free book)

Review by: Hobbe Noxious on June 01, 2015 :
I really enjoyed this story. For how few words it is, it manages to fit in an amazing amount of detail, all while feeling completely organic.
(review of free book)

Review by: Trevor Compro on March 09, 2015 :
What a nice little read. Very compassionate.
I liked the way the story flows, no heightened detail, just little bits here and there so we can use our own imagination.
Good stuff.
(review of free book)

Review by: M. Brown on March 19, 2014 :
Short and original! The kind of story I like. It doesn't take neither time nor money to get to know this very interesting perspective. I think everyone should read this!
(review of free book)

Review by: Matt Eliason on March 09, 2014 :
Enjoyed it. There was a nice rhythm to it and judicious use or words.
(review of free book)

Review by: Eric Buus Larsen on Sep. 21, 2013 :
Awesome. So much packed in such a short story; emotionally, visually and conceptually. Proves that often more is less! Great perspective.
(review of free book)

Review by: Michael Carter on July 03, 2013 :
I can only really echo what the other reviewers have said about this flash sci-fi story. It's beautifully written, flawlessly executed, and provides all the information in a natural, easy style. Full of atmosphere and pathos; excellent, perhaps the best flash fiction I have read.

This story proves three things;

1) the author, Kevin Lyons is an excellent writer;

2) fiction that is FREE on smashwords can be of the highest standard in quality. Just because its free, doesn't mean its worthless.

3) literary types, and the literature establishment looks down snootily on genre fiction, sci-fi, horror, romance, etc; they are wrong! This story is fantastic literature.

Excellent story, very worthy of five minutes of your time.

-- Oh, and 4) don't judge a story by its iffy cover image!
(review of free book)

Review by: Jonathan Antony Strickland on June 26, 2013 :
Certainly one of the best flash fiction stories I've read. I liked the way how you never mention what the star creature is, a less skilled writer would have done this but from your descriptions and the strange creature that finds it we can work it out ourselves. So for me this part was really well done.

I also loved the fact that even though this is only around 1000 words long, you still manage to develop the creatures anatomy, the world it inhabits, and the customs and beliefs it follows. This is all very well done.

Well worth a read. And a excellent example of what can be achieved for anyone out there who fancies giving flash fiction writing a go.
(review of free book)

Review by: Marianne Curtis on Dec. 26, 2012 :
Loved this short story. The author says he is unemployed? Well, I think he found his calling!!! Keep writing.

Marianne Curtis
Finding Gloria, Moondust and Madness: A collection of Poetry, Behind Whispering Pines, Finding Gloria ~ Special Edition and Brian’s Last Ride
(review of free book)

Review by: Jon Olson on Dec. 07, 2012 :
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The descriptions of the man were very intriguing as it was told from a different point of view. In fact, I wouldn't mind a longer piece to learn more about the narrator.
(review of free book)

Review by: S. A. Barton on June 25, 2012 :
Well and thoughtfully written and a joy to read. I see why it sold in '79, and it is still fresh today.
(review of free book)

Review by: Kenny Chaffin on June 13, 2012 : (no rating)
Well Done. Very interesting and intriguing alien perspective in very few words.

(review of free book)

Report this book