I read a story in the 1980's (before 1984) about a future where race (black, white, etc.) had disappeared and for some reason "they" were attempting to bring back the races. The main character was a white boy. At the beginning of the story he meets a girl of another race that is also part of the project to bring back distinct races.

I thought the title was "killing time" but that really does not fit with the story I remember and none of the books I have found with that title fit.

The other detail I remember is that the people counted in octal (base 8) which I thought was cool.

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    Race Against Time, Piers Anthony, probably a bunch of questions.
    – Adamant
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 1:56
  • I've voted this as a duplicate because this question has a bit more detail than the other (the answers are kind of a weird loop, though). Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 5:03

1 Answer 1


As per Adamant's comment, this is likely Piers Anthony's Race Against Time as per Book where there was only one race.

It involves a 20th century white boy accidentally scratching off the skin of his friend, showing that it's all brown underneath, and that there's some vast conspiracy that everyone but him is involved in. I want to say that his friend still helps him, but the majority of it is him corresponding with a penpal through coded letters (they do something like having the message be in every third letter) to escape and find more people like him.

Of course, the reveal isn't that the people around him aren't human, but that the human race has become a homogenous brown due to the mixing of races here in the 24th century, and the protagonist, his pen pal, and a few others are genetic throwbacks to earlier races being preserved in a zoolike "natural environment".

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    That looks like it. I have requested it from the library :) I read a lot of other works by this author around the same time and I recognize the cover. Thanks!
    – Charles
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 3:22
  • Welcome to the site!
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Jun 9, 2019 at 3:29

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