I read this book in my dad's collection at least ten years ago. I feel like the title had something to do with time, but I could be wrong. The cover has a brown bald head (you just see the back) approaching three young adults in what looks like a spaceship.

In the book, the main character is Caucasian and living in America, but then his dog does things it isn't supposed to do (like climb trees) and he realizes he's not in the time and place he thought he was. He meets a couple of other race-preserved people who were being raised as if in other times and places (I think there was a Chinese girl named Meilin? Or Mei-lan?).

They try to find a way back home from this planet populated by people who all have the same color skin and hair, they call each other either "Stan" for standard or "Norm" for normal, I can't remember which. There's also something about their houses being clear and shifting or adjusting according the what the inhabitants need...

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    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 21:14
  • 2
    His fog climbs trees?
    – JRE
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 21:17
  • @JRE, I remember this story, though it has been a long time and I can't recall the name or author. His dog climbs trees. It wasn't actually a dog, since dogs were extinct, but he'd been told it was. The only other detail I remember is that the protagonist had a pen-pal and they secretly carried out a discussion in an "every Nth word" code. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 22:54
  • I think it was a children's book, though I'm not sure. I read it at least 30 years ago, perhaps 40. I have no idea whether it was new at the time. The main character was definitely a child or teenager. Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 22:56
  • 1
    possible replacement duplicate hub target: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/214154/…
    – Otis
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 15:03

1 Answer 1


Piers Anthony's Race Against Time as per my answers here and here.

Race Against Time - book cover

John Smith is just a typical teenager growing up in a typical American town...Or is he?
He has a dog -- that can climb trees and understand very complex commands. He has parents -- who watch him constantly, taking notes when they think he's not looking. He has a girlfriend -- a girl he's never met, whom he has been told he must marry.

John knows that something is wrong, but until he crosses the boundary fence late one night, he doesn't realize just how much. For wherever he lives, it's definitely not America!

The race he lives among are "Standards".

  • If this is the correct one, whispered.aria, don't forget to click the Accept checkmark by the voting buttons.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 25, 2017 at 23:11
  • That's the one! Thank you so much! Commented Jun 26, 2017 at 2:29

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