I was read this short story on a school field trip in 6th grade or so, so it is probably from the 70s or 80s, but never knew the title or author.

It's about a boy who slowly discovers that he is in fact the animal in an alien zoo.

I'm fairly sure what leads him to the discovery is the realization that the only way the moving sidewalks in his world, which are motionless until he steps on them, could only work if he is the only one using them.


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    It sounds similar but probably not the same as Race Against Time by Piers Anthony. A boy growing up in an American town slowly comes to the realization that things aren't right. One key moment comes from observing his dog which does things that are unlike anything he's read about dogs. While it's probably not the same it might help your search to know books which are similar. – Erik Noren Mar 16 '12 at 14:51
  • Just out of curiosity, do you mean that the moving sidewalks only work for him, while other pedestrians just walk? – HNL Mar 17 '12 at 5:27
  • @ErikNoren - I don't think it can be Race Against time, unless he's really misremembering parts -- in Race, the captors are humans; they are from a blended human stock, and raising racially pure individuals in simulated natural homes. – K-H-W Mar 17 '12 at 6:06
  • Definitely not Race Against Time, sadly. – SingularityCo Mar 17 '12 at 15:57
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    The way I remember the sidewalks workin is that rather than being in constant motion, they would start when stepped on. Since the protagonist never encountered any already moving sidewalks, he (or I) conluded that such a system wouldn't really work if a large population is using it. It was basically a classic solipsistic suspicions turn out to actually be reality story, if there is such a thing. – SingularityCo Mar 17 '12 at 16:03

This sounded really familiar so I started browsing the internet and found this link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0734611/ which sounded very familiar as well. It is a Twilight episode about an astronaut (played by Roddy McDowell) who crashes his ship on Mars. His shipmate is killed in the crash but Roddy's character ends up meeting the Martians and the story proceeds from there.

On the IMDB page, the writer of a short story is referenced, Paul W. Fairman. After more searching I found this link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/People-Are-Alike-All-Over/137360052951932 but so far I haven't found anything yet on the reference to March 1952 Fantastic Adventures that is listed on that page.

I'm going to keep searching but I thought maybe someone out there may have more resources than I do. (I'm crossing my fingers because I think it sounds like the story that I enjoyed at one time.)

  • Wow great work, and better than I've ever done occasionally trying to sleuth this out from time to time. – SingularityCo Mar 17 '12 at 16:05
  • I knew there was a reason I decided to open a bookshop. Have a copy of the anthology listed on the FB page on the way. Will report back. – SingularityCo Mar 17 '12 at 16:16
  • Definitely good work, I couldn't find a thing on this one! If it's helpful, ISFDB shows this particular story included several other anthologies as well, one of which may have been the original source from @SingularityCo encountered it. – Josh Mar 18 '12 at 0:28
  • Book arrived today. Will let you know. – SingularityCo Mar 27 '12 at 13:38
  • Sadly, that is not the story. Good story, very similar ending, but not the one I remember. Oh well. – SingularityCo Mar 27 '12 at 13:44

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