Why isn't Interstellar Pig a movie yet?
August 15, 2006 10:56 AM   Subscribe

Hopefully this will put an end to the interminable AskMe questions: Adam Cadre has written a complete retrospective and review of William Sleator’s young adult science fiction.
posted by Iridic (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Great post. It makes me want to go read some of his books.
posted by bove at 11:22 AM on August 15, 2006

fantastic! sleator is one of those writers that i tore through in my youth, reading everything i could find that he had written. i've since revisited a few of those books, and they don't seem quite as great now as they did then. still, like star wars IV, there's still a warm veil of nostalgia that makes them seem a lot better than they might actually be. one complaint -- garish cover art that merely illustrates the plot rather than evoking the mood of the book.

other great YASF from my youth (with great cover art): Heinlein's "Space Cadet" and Bradbury's Martian Chronicles.

Since I work with youth, I have tried to keep up with good contemporary YA writing. One good one: Feed, by MT Anderson
posted by cubby at 11:22 AM on August 15, 2006

House of Stairs is one of the best YA books I've ever read. Ever. Completely creepy and a fantastic work of science fiction.

Get it if you can, I think it's out of print - off to Amazon to check.
posted by agregoli at 11:27 AM on August 15, 2006

Excellent post. And I hope that if they do ever make an Interstellar Pig movie, it's better than Zarthura.
posted by JeremyT at 11:43 AM on August 15, 2006

Oh yes, House of Stairs made a huge impression on me as a kid, and my aunt managed to get me an autographed copy of Green Futures of Tycho when Sleator came to speak at the school where she taught in the 80s. Amazing stuff.
posted by sklero at 12:12 PM on August 15, 2006

Wow, I had no idea I'd read so many of his books when I was younger. (Four or five, though I really only remember Singularity.) Looks like I'll have to check out some of his newer stuff.
posted by kyleg at 12:33 PM on August 15, 2006

Oh boy -- I read this as "William Shatner's..." and I was shocked to read cubby's positive response. Whew. I'm OK now.
posted by Kloryne at 12:59 PM on August 15, 2006

Coincidentally, I was in a children's bookstore a couple of days ago and thought I'd see what WS was up to -- bought a paperback of The Last Universe and read it straight through. Very affecting but I can't agree with Adam Cadre's claim it's his best -- too much exposition and only fitful displays of the great beating unpleasantness at the heart of House of Stairs and Tycho.
posted by escabeche at 2:21 PM on August 15, 2006

Adam Cadre is no slouch himself. He wrote Photopia, which rocked my socks.

I read House of Stairs as a young'un and can still remember the ending (traffic lights, anyone?) which is about as effective as it gets.
posted by Sparx at 3:01 PM on August 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Cube always reminded me of House of Stairs (or, more accurately, of that book I just can't quite remember that I read when I was at school)
posted by ZippityBuddha at 3:07 PM on August 15, 2006

The Green Futures of Tycho was my first Sleator book, then I came across House of Stairs in 7th grade. Sometimes the traffic light thing still gets me, too. Singularity and The Boy Who Reversed Himself were also good, but not as amazing as those two. I picked up The Boxes fairly recently. It sounds like I missed out on Interstellar Pig, though. Others See Us seems strangely appealing.

I always liked young adult science fiction. Now if I can just track down a bunch of other items from my childhood. Aside from AskMeFi, are there other forums for ancient YASF?
posted by adipocere at 4:46 PM on August 15, 2006

Great post! I haven't come across William Sleator before. I'm the father of a 12yo who's just starting to get into this sort of reading. Definitely gonna keep a look out for House of Stairs and Insterstellar Pig.

I really hate the phrase 'young adult fiction', its so damn clinical, but its certainly useful when you are looking for books suitable for the specific age-group. If you are looking for more recent authors, I highly recommend Scott Westerfield's books - Uglies, Pretties & Specials, set in a dystopian/utopian future where teenagers undergo a surgical coming-of-age process. And of course, there is always Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy - my daughter has had those three books on high rotation ever since they came into the house.
posted by Nasty Canasta at 6:47 PM on August 15, 2006

I bought House of Stairs after one of those Ask questions, since I never happened upon it in my younger years. It's quite good.
posted by smackfu at 8:02 PM on August 15, 2006

If you can find a copy, check out Oddballs, which is a short book of authobiographical reminiscences about his family. It's blindingly funny.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 10:39 AM on August 16, 2006

There's actually a copy of oddballs on his brother's website. They all come across as entirely too clever by half, but with a genuine respect for one another.
posted by Sparx at 3:43 PM on August 16, 2006

I remember making a board game based on Insterstellar Pig as a kid.
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:57 PM on August 16, 2006

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