Fri
Aug 5 2011 11:08am

William Sleator 1945-2011

William Sleator 1945-2011Science fiction and young adult novelist William Sleator passed away this week at his home in Thailand. Sleator was most famous for his novel House of Stairs that depicts a dystopian orphanage without walls or a ceiling and stairs that seem to ascend into infinity. (If you’re unfamiliar with Sleator and his style, you can read a good rundown of House of Stairs here.)

Combining Kafkaesque imagery with thrilling plotting in his tales, the contemporary field of speculative young adult fiction would likely look very different if it weren’t for Sleator. He will be missed.

5 comments
Jeremy Hull
1. snowdog79
William Sleator and Orson Scott Card were the authors that cemented my love for SF . I first read "The Duplicate" when I was in sixth grade, and I'm not sure which blew my mind more--the story's dark tone or the unusual tense it was written in.

The next year I found an autographed copy of "Interstellar Pig" in my junior high library, and it became my all-time favorite Sleator book. He even drew the Piggy by his signature!

Those who haven't read him or who are quick to dismiss "young adult" fiction are strongly advised to check him out. He takes complicated concepts and creates a story that explores them in an accessable, entertaining fashion.

Favorites:
Interstellar Pig (a mixture of RPG board games, evil aliens, and a historic mystery, with a fantastic ending)
The Duplicate (dark and powerful)
Singularity (such an incredible concept--what would you do living in complete isolation for a year while the world stood still around you?)
House of Stairs
The Boy who Reversed Himself

In his memory, I'm going to start a re-read of the books I have, and start tracking down those I don't (both for myself and for my daughter when she gets older).
piapiapiano
2. piapiapiano
So sorry to read this. He was one of my favourite authors when I was in my teens. His books actually taught me stuff!

Singularity -- that it was possible to completely change yourself if you tried hard enough, and that you didn't have to be the person other people expected you yo be.

House of Stairs -- that positivity and encouragement can be powerful motivators.

The Green Futures of Tycho (my favourite) -- don't mess with time travel!

Him and Diana Wynne Jones. It's turning into a bad year for my adolescent fanself.
Genevieve Williams
3. welltemperedwriter
Aw, man. Sad to hear. I was a huge fan of his as a teen and read everything I could get my hands on. House of Stairs was a favorite of course, but I also remember liking Interstellar Pig, Singularity, Fingers, and Among the Dolls (I think that's what it was called; very creepy dollhouse story).
piapiapiano
4. Mark W
There were two books from my childhood that put me on the path towards the scifi/fantasy genre-A Wrinkle In Time and House Of Stairs. Sleators contribution to the YA world of fiction always seemed undervalued. I hope that his works live on for many generations to come.
Chuk Goodin
5. Chuk
I loved Sleator's work. I was just suggesting Singularity to my daughter a few days ago.

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