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My lifelong love of Science Fiction started in the third grade in the mid-60s with a short story we read in class about 2 children on another planet who had to work or go to school all the time and never got to play. They talked about what life would be like on a planet where children got to play after school or had time to daydream and wondered how fantastic a world that would be. I've tried to find it on the internet a number of times with no luck to read with my grandson.

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    It's a bit tenuous, but your description immediately reminded me of "The Fun They Had" by Asimov Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 0:01
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    Does it make them dull boys?
    – DavidW
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 2:19
  • Clara, I agree. You should post that as an answer.
    – Pete
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 9:30

1 Answer 1

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My answer differs from the question in several points: the children are on Earth, not on another planet, and they do not have to work/go to school all day (although they do have school on Saturdays and Sundays). But otherwise it fits the sense of the story very well so I will offer it up anyway.

The Fun They Had is a short story by Isaac Asimov, first published in F&SF in 1954, but collected in numerous short story collections since. It's popularity took Asimov by surprise, calling it "probably the biggest surprise of my literary career".

It is set in the year 2157, and deal with two children, Margie and her older brother. They are educated individually by machines, and so have no friends or social interaction with other children. One day Tommy finds a book, a real book with printed pages, which described the schools they had centuries earlier. Later Margie sits daydreaming about those old schools:

She was thinking about the old schools they had when her grandfather's grandfather was a little boy. All the kids from the whole neighborhood came, laughing and shouting in the schoolyard, sitting together in the schoolroom, going home together at the end of the day...

Margie was thinking about how the kids must have loved it in the old days. She was thinking about the fun they had.

The story is available at the Internet Archive.

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  • That's it! As soon as I read the title my dormant memory brain cells woke up and it all came back to me. Dr. Asimov is my 2nd favorite author, and I can't believe I didn't run into that story in all my reading of his short stories over the last 50 years. Thank you so much, I have a 7 year old grandson who will be reading that story this weekend.
    – Lisa in SC
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 2:00
  • @LisainSC: As per the tour, you can accept a correct answer by clicking on the checkmark by the voting buttons.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 2:22
  • Glad I could help @LisainSC - I hope your grandson enjoys it. As FuzzyBoots mentioned, can you click the tick to "accept" the answer, so people know it has been answered. BTW, this question will probably be closed soon as a duplicate ("The Fun They Had" comes up quite often as an answer). This certainly does not mean your question is bad, just that the answer has be given before, and I hope you continue to stick around Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 8:40

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