Singular author William Sleator has passed away.
As a teen I read and re-read and re-read certain books. One of those was “House of Stairs” by William Sleator. It’s a science fictionish tale of a group of teens who are subjects in a behavior modification experiment. This book, for me, encapsulates one the most fascinating aspects of science fiction/fantasy. It explores the question of how people will behave in unusual, even unprecedented situations.
I think this is why I tend to prefer “soft” science fiction. For me, the draw is not technology, it’s people. I love Ursula K. LeGuin for her anthropological approach. Ray Bradbury is another favorite in this area. I know some people are dismissive of genre fiction as “not serious” or something, and William Sleator was double-labeled, because he was also considered a young adult author. But I’ve read widely and eclectically throughout my life, and in my opinion, if you want fiction that explores the human psyche, you could do worse than picking up a book by Sleator.
Hmm…maybe it’s time for another reading of “House of Stairs.” I haven’t visited it in years.