My sister was assigned to read this book in elementary school so it must have been a sci-fi classic.

Anyway, there is this planet that has this street with identical houses and driveways and at the same time of the day all the identical kids from all of the houses come out and play or bounce a ball. It reminded me of looking into a mirror in a restaurant bathroom where your face repeats forever.

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    Welcome to SFF! Could you take a look at this guide to help jog your memory and edit in any more details you can remember? Every little bit helps us.
    – amflare
    Dec 13, 2017 at 21:52
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    Your question has already been answered, but note your scene in the trailer to the forthcoming movie version: youtube.com/watch?v=E4U3TeY2wtM Dec 13, 2017 at 23:58
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    @ChrisSunami There was also a 2003 version. While it wasn't spectacular (given the technology of 2003), it was a fun watch and was rather faithful to the source material. Thanks for mentioning a new version, though, now I can't wait to see it.
    – phyrfox
    Dec 14, 2017 at 7:07
  • Thanks for the tidbit about the movies. I will probably watch the new one too.
    – Ross Bush
    Dec 14, 2017 at 14:49

2 Answers 2


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle


From Amazon:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg's father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

The ball scene:

Below them the town was laid out in harsh angular patterns. The houses in the outskirts were all exactly alike, small square boxes painted gray. Each had a small, rectangular plot of lawn in front, with a straight line of dull-looking flowers edging the path to the door. Meg had a feeling that if she could count the flowers there would be exactly the same number for each house. In front of all the houses children were playing. Some were skipping rope, some were bouncing balls. Meg felt vaguely that something was wrong with their play. It seemed exactly like children playing around any housing development at home, and yet there was something different about it. She looked at Calvin, and saw that he, too, was puzzled.
"Look!" Charles Wallace said suddenly. "They're skipping and bouncing in rhythm! Everyone's doing it at exactly the same moment."
This was so. As the skipping rope hit the pavement, so did the ball. As the rope curved over the head of the jumping child, the child with the ball caught the ball. Down came the ropes. Down came the balls. Over and over again. Up. Down. All in rhythm. All identical. Like the houses. Like the paths. Like the flowers.

Then the doors of all the houses opened simultaneously, and out came women like a row of paper dolls. The print of their dresses was different, but they all gave the appearance of being the same. Each woman stood on the steps of her house. Each clapped. Each child with the ball caught the ball. Each child with the skipping rope folded the rope.

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    There's a movie scheduled for 2018. The trailer includes the "bouncing ball" scene at 1:11: youtu.be/kZ3bYBPlR2g?t=1m11s Dec 14, 2017 at 16:21
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    Simpsons did a bit on this in S07e12 with all the children in the school yard bouncing a ball in synchronicity.
    – GreySage
    Dec 14, 2017 at 16:48
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    There's another story that also has this bit, but one of the kids stumbles with his ball causing an issue (because he faltered in perfection). I believe it's a short story and a classic, but I can't remember it.
    – Jason
    Sep 30, 2018 at 1:04

That's from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. It's a scene on Camazotz, a planet controlled by the evil bodyless brain which is the antagonist in the story.

In front of all the houses, children were playing. Some were skipping rope, some were bouncing balls. ... "They're skipping and bouncing in rhythm! Everyone's doing it at exactly the same moment!" This was so. As the skipping rope hit the pave ment, so did the ball. ... Over and over again.

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