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R.I.P. William Sleator, pioneer of young-adult science fiction

Illustration for article titled R.I.P. William Sleator, pioneer of young-adult science fiction

The current boom in dystopian fiction for young-adult readers owes a lot to William Sleator, who passed away in Thailand a couple of days ago. His books were creepy, scary, and also filled with a relatable sort of dread.


His most famous novel, House of Stairs, involves five teenage orphans who wake up in a house with no doors and no windows. Other books include alien abductions, kids having the same weird dream, an egg-shaped object that lets you travel back and forth in time, and a black hole that whisks a child into an alternate universe. There's a great list of Sleator quotes and facts here.

Sleator, who wrote 30 novels in total, will be missed by young readers and by anybody who cherishes weird, scary books for kids and teenagers. His final novel, The Phantom Limb, will be published in October. [School Library Journal]

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Annalee Newitz

House of Stairs freaked me the hell out when I was a kid, and later became one of the few books that I believe adequately prepared me for junior high.