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Race Against Time

3.25  ·  Rating Details  ·  908 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
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

Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Published August 15th 1986 by Tor Fantasy (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,539)
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Diana Sandberg
May 05, 2013 Diana Sandberg rated it did not like it
Er. Reasonably well constructed scifi, fairly simplistic interpersonal relations, and a breathtaking premise - that racial purity is necessary to save humanity. Yikes.
Billy Roper
Oct 06, 2015 Billy Roper rated it it was amazing
This forty-two year old science fiction novel couldn't be written in the politically correct atmosphere of major publishing houses today. Why do I say that? Because it posits the idea that in the future all of humanity's races will engage in a genocidal race war, and the survivors will be brown, mixed race hybrids living in enforced equality and stagnation. All, that is, except for one couple each of Whites, blacks, and Asians, harvested from sperm bank and egg depositories from before the war. ...more
TheIron Paw
May 03, 2010 TheIron Paw rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Piers Anthony is a good story teller, and this book provides a decent yarn. However, one of his not uncommon failings is to use a good story to promote an ideological perspective (see also "Bio of a Space Tyrant"). That is the case in this novel. I think however that he missed his own point in this book: the author rather explicitly states his theme to be the importance of racial diversity for human development while the lessons drawn from the story would point more to the importance of cultural ...more
Mar 06, 2009 bookczuk rated it liked it
This was my first venture into Piers Anthony- and I was reading it as a break from Wuthering Heights- talk about extremes!

I have read various takes on this same idea- one of my son's favorite books was Running Out of Time, where a young girl finds that instead of living in 1840, she is living in 1996 in a reconstructed village that serves as a tourist site.

I liked the resourcefulness of the teens involved, but my favorite character was Canute the gomdog who can climb trees!
Jan 31, 2013 Vicki rated it it was ok
I felt unfulfilled with the ending of this book. My response was, "That's it?" and not in a good way. I was also unimpressed with the story in general from the storytelling element to the plot within itself, though I did enjoy the discussion on the octal counting system. Maybe if I was a younger teen, I'd have enjoyed this book more than I did.
Samuel Lubell
Oct 15, 2012 Samuel Lubell rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf, re-read
SF-John Smith is growing up as the all American boy in the 1960s except that little things don't match the way they are supposed to be, such as his dog with extendable claws and the ability to climb trees. His parents have him write letters to a girl he never met but was told he will marry. The two develop a rather obvious yet never broken code and John goes exploring (which is never discovered) and learns that he is really in a zoo in the future. When his bride-to-be is supposed to arrive there ...more
Chrissy Moon
Apr 03, 2013 Chrissy Moon rated it it was amazing
I forgot about this book.

I read this many years ago when I was a young whipper-snapper. I remembered this book recently and have been trying to find it in stores, to no avail. I guess I will have to give in and order it online so I can have a copy for myself.

This book changed my life in many ways. It's probably my favorite sci-fi book. It really makes you think, what would happen if all the races intermingled and mixed so much that they no longer existed, just one 'standard' race? And what would
Andrea McDowell
Jul 15, 2016 Andrea McDowell rated it did not like it
My experience of reading this novel (many years ago):

Stage 1: Wow, what a very strange 1950s America. I'll bet something's up!

Stage 2: Cool, teenagers race against vast conspiracy of adults breeding them for nefarious purposes!

Stage 3: How strange. The pinnacle of "white" culture is 1950s America, while the pinnacle of "Asian" culture is ancient China, and the pinnacle of "African" culture is a tribe on the savannah. Not, like, 1950s America vs. 1950s Shanghai and 1950s Nairobi. Hmm. And is it r
Mar 25, 2015 Akala rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystopian, childrens
Because I generally like Anthony's fantasy work, I picked this one up in Half Price. Starts out good, but fairly quickly loses steam, the characters are bland, the ending abrupt, and the message is really questionable.

It's pretty short but wasn't compelling enough for me to bother finishing in a reasonable time.

Anthony is a very prolific author but this feels like a first draft rush job. Read "A Spell For Chameleon" instead.
Mark Muckerman
Jul 31, 2015 Mark Muckerman rated it it was ok

Nothing impressive. Perhaps a bit dated as a 40-year old story, and the fantasy tech imagined in 1973 doesn't hold up in the 21st century. Plus, the story is shallow- thin, weakly developed, and if not full of holes, then at least riddled with cracks.

An easy read for an hour by the pool, and worth $1.80 used, but not a book you'd ever go back and read again.
Dec 05, 2008 Julie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Piers Anthony fans
Recommended to Julie by: read other Anthony books
This is a sort of warning about the future of man. I'm not really sure if what he is saying about race/ethnicity would really be kosher in today's book market. I do remember finding it really interesting how he used such diverse cultures as a backdrop, including the ancient kingdoms of Africa (part of the gold/salt trade). Definitely worth a read.
I have to say it. The cover art work on this book is so ugly that it prevented me from reading it sooner. And by sooner I mean more than twenty years ago. I know how juvenile that sounds but I just had to get it out.
This book should have been one of those junior high school sci fi introductions for "Young Adults". I didn't care about the main character. I didn't really care where the plot was taking him. It wasn't colorful enough or unique enough for me to be driven to read it. My own motivation
Christopher D'amico
Jul 28, 2016 Christopher D'amico rated it liked it
John Smith has lived in Newton his whole life, but things always seemed strange. And when his new Dalmatian Canute starts exhibiting some very un-dog-like qualities, his interest—previously only oddities and curiosities—is piqued. Then his pen-pal Betsy confirms his suspicions and the race is on…!
A quick read—short novel/long novella, Race is an interesting Sci-Fi thriller. With only a few characters, Anthony portrays the tension and the plot well, making the implausible seem plausible, and the
Jul 24, 2012 Rusty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For years I have meant to read novels by Piers Anthony. I just did and I'm wondering why I waited so long. While Race is written for youth it has messages for adults as well.

The story is told by young John Smith, a white American boy becoming a man who is living in a small town supposedly located in Nebraska. Several inconsistencies have begun to trouble him. There is the peeling color of the skin of many of the inhabitants of Newton. Why cannot John go beyond certain environmental limits outsid
Jun 19, 2011 Katy rated it it was amazing
Although somewhat controversial topics are raised on the subject of racial differences (the main character is one of only two "purebred Caucasians" left in the world and later finds there are only two "purebred Chinese" and two "purebred Africans," while the rest of the world is "Standard," apparently an amalgamation of all races who have apparently hunted down and killed all the other races for the most part), the book is nonetheless a very interesting bit of pulp fiction from the early 1970s. ...more
Leanna Aker
Feb 11, 2012 Leanna Aker rated it liked it
I always like a Piers Anthony read. As with most of his science fiction, the themes are a little "in your face." This one is a "society encounters monumental damage and decay...... racial discord.... preservation of race" kind of theme. John is living in an American town in the 1960's, and is set up to marry a girl named Betsy that he hasn't met. He starts to suspect something odd is going on for many reasons, one of which is that his skin color is real. Those people in his town paint on skin co ...more
Jan 20, 2016 Ariana added it
Read this when I was in 6th grade. Now realize it is ridiculously racist.
Abram Jackson
Oct 25, 2014 Abram Jackson rated it liked it
Well within the young-adult category. Fine, as far as that goes.
Jul 28, 2016 Tasha added it
Shelves: 2012
July 2012
Julie S.
Feb 13, 2011 Julie S. rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 01, 2012 Rick rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This science fiction book written in 1973 was interesting to read in the context of today's global issues of climate change, pollution, and ethnic and religious conflict. Piers Anthony has good insight into some potential paths of self destruction for our world. The characters are shallow and the story a little disjointed at times.
Crissy Moss
Mar 07, 2013 Crissy Moss rated it it was amazing
John Smith lives a very average life in middle america, or so he thinks. Though he has a girlfriend he's never met, and must marry. Then he crosses the boarder and finds everything is not what it appears to be.

An interesting point of view of culture, society, and "keeping up appearances".
Dec 08, 2013 Kei rated it it was ok
Shelves: ex-library
This... Interesting premise, and some baseball bat style politics, but... overall it left me sort of weirded that I bothered to finish it. I should have known that if I didn't fully remember reading it the first time it wasn't worth a second, but I'm stubborn.
Sean Randall
Jun 29, 2010 Sean Randall rated it it was ok
Though not the first time I'd read this one, I got little more out of it than before. Reminded me of a Heinlein Juvenile in substance (though not tone). The idea has merit, but the characters are so flat as to be relatively transparent.
I read this in junior high and can't even believe I remembered the name. GO LONG-TERM MEMORY!

Actually, long-term memory fail, cos I can't remember how it ends.

I will not be re-reading to find out. Sorry!
Dec 20, 2013 Jason rated it liked it
I'll always remember this book because when I asked my parents what "prehensile" meant, they told me I should stop reading books with "made up words" in them. :D
Jan 23, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009, 2014
The book was classic Science Fiction, and it made for a good read. It doesn't age as well as some other Sci-Fi because the whole race issue seemed a bit politically incorrect to me.
Jun 28, 2008 Philip rated it it was amazing
Great book. I couldn't put it down. The ending was slightly anti-climatic, but it was good nonetheless. Highly recommend it.
Alex Stronach
Jan 30, 2012 Alex Stronach rated it liked it
It's quite an entertaining book. It's a quick read but with some smarts thrown in. Over all worth checking out.
Aug 17, 2012 Jeremy rated it liked it
It was somewhat interesting, but it definitely felt like a short story that was waiting for completion.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #41 - Race Against Time by Piers Anthony (Sci Fi) 1 3 Mar 19, 2015 01:11PM  
  • Alternities
  • High Justice
  • The Argonaut Affair (Time Wars, #7)
  • There Is No Darkness
  • The Proteus Operation
  • Norby Through Time and Space (Norby, #5-6)
  • Time Patrolman
  • Greenthieves
  • The Flight of the Horse
  • The Bones of Time
  • The Chronicles of Castle Brass: Count Brass/Quest for Tanelorn/Champion of Garathorm
  • Across a Billion Years
  • The Cross-Time Engineer (Conrad Stargard, #1)
  • The Bug Wars
  • Against Infinity
  • The Changed Man (Maps in a Mirror #1)
  • Dress Gray
  • Star Trek 1
Though he spent the first four years of his life in England, Piers never returned to live in his country of birth after moving to Spain and immigrated to America at age six. After graduating with a B.A. from Goddard College, he married one of his fellow students and and spent fifteen years in an assortment of professions before he began writing fiction full-time.

Piers is a self-proclaimed environm
More about Piers Anthony...

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