So, I read this story in high school and this is a part of a bigger story. Technically this is an excerpt. A group of people is locked in a house and they are being observed. Every day they go about their daily routines and they keep on doing it EVERYDAY. One day a guy observes this and wants to find out more about this. So he stays awake one night and finds out that one of the people is going out of the house, which none of them EVER do. SO he follows the man he sees that there is an outhouse and when he goes in that the people in there tell him that he is the first amongst them to get out of the house. when he says that there was another guy who did that too, he was told that that other person was a human but all of the others inside the house including him are Martians.

Thanks in advance. I have been looking for this for almost about a decade.

It's a science fiction story and most probably by Isaac Asimov.

  • It doesn't sound very Asimovian. Now if it ended with a bad pun...
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 29, 2016 at 23:24

2 Answers 2


It's Brian W. Aldiss' Outside. Short summary here:

Four men and two women live in a habitat which feeds them, allows them to play piano, and live day-to-day amid various domestic duties and pastimes. Harley, after years of doing the same things, feels an unease that he suspects his companions may not share. One night, when the command to sleep presses his brain, he decides to stay awake.

Harley discovers a whole world outside his habitat. An inexplicable sad rage comes over him at this injustice as he encounters a man in a suit and several uniformed men. The suited man explains that this war with the Nititians required them to isolate the Nititian spies from prying state secrets out of agents. Instead, the Nititians... play card games and the piano and clean the habitat? This leads to Earthlings learning Nititian secrets to defeat the menace.


A similar story setting in Isaac Asimov's repertoire is The Naked Sun. From the wiki description:

The book focuses on the unusual traditions and culture of Solarian society: the planet has a rigidly controlled population of twenty thousand, and robots outnumber humans ten thousand to one, whereas people are strictly taught from birth to despise personal contact, and live on huge estates, either alone or with their spouse only. Communication is done via holographic telepresence (called viewing, as opposed to in-person seeing). Baley insists on face to face conversations, traveling in a closed vehicle because of his own agoraphobia, from his life in the enclosed cities of Earth.

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