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As no walls no ceiling no floor Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere except back to a strange red. I am insanely addicted attracted to stories about the group in peril when people are thrust into an alien setting absent of any social rules and obligations Under such circumstances it usually doesn t take long for humans to throw off the shackles of civilized conduct and resort to a brutal survival of the fittest approach That s not just the pessimist in me coming out but the realist What we become in extremis is both fascinating and frightening in the heroic heights we reach and the craven depths we sink to and how uickly we revert to our most primal and baser urges One hundred thousand years of evolution gone in the blink of an eye William Golding shows us this in Lord of the Flies as does Scott Smith in The Ruins Jose Saramago in Blindness and Stephen King in his novella The Mist These books teach us that there are even worse fates than losing your life it s losing your humanityIn House of Stairs William Sleator proves just how uickly humans can be stripped of their humanity First published in 1974 I imagine Sleator was influenced at least in part by some of the famous psych experiments of the first half of the 20th century including the Little Albert Experiment and the Milgram Obedience Experiment Just a few years prior to its publication there was also the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment a study designed to ostensibly observe the effects of becoming either a prisoner or prison guard Twenty four students were selected out of 75 to play the prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building Roles were assigned randomly This experiment degenerated so rapidly into violence and the dehumanization of its subjects that it had to be stopped after only six days Good times The five 16 year old protagonists here are subjected to much the same mindfuck pardon my French enclosed in a never ending space of stairs there are no walls no floors no doors no ceiling just stairs going up going down That s the set up What follows is pretty tame by today s standards and in my books does not hold a candle to Lord of the Flies however it still makes for pure unadulterated compulsive reading It doesn t surprise me that in 2000 the American Library Association with teen participation chose it as one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of the last 50 years Recommended A Daddy for Christmas red. I am insanely addicted attracted to stories about the group in peril when people are thrust into an alien setting absent of any social Banned in Britain rules and obligations Under such circumstances it usually doesn t take long for humans to throw off the shackles of civilized conduct and Hour of the Beast resort to a brutal survival of the fittest approach That s not just the pessimist in me coming out but the Dictionary Of Dreams realist What we become in extremis is both fascinating and frightening in the heroic heights we The Love of a Latino reach and the craven depths we sink to and how uickly we Other Days, Other Eyes revert to our most primal and baser urges One hundred thousand years of evolution gone in the blink of an eye William Golding shows us this in Lord of the Flies as does Scott Smith in The Ruins Jose Saramago in Blindness and Stephen King in his novella The Mist These books teach us that there are even worse fates than losing your life it s losing your humanityIn House of Stairs William Sleator proves just how uickly humans can be stripped of their humanity First published in 1974 I imagine Sleator was influenced at least in part by some of the famous psych experiments of the first half of the 20th century including the Little Albert Experiment and the Milgram Obedience Experiment Just a few years prior to its publication there was also the infamous Stanford Prison Experiment a study designed to ostensibly observe the effects of becoming either a prisoner or prison guard Twenty four students were selected out of 75 to play the prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building Roles were assigned Deception Island randomly This experiment degenerated so The Family rapidly into violence and the dehumanization of its subjects that it had to be stopped after only six days Good times The five 16 year old protagonists here are subjected to much the same mindfuck pardon my French enclosed in a never ending space of stairs there are no walls no floors no doors no ceiling just stairs going up going down That s the set up What follows is pretty tame by today s standards and in my books does not hold a candle to Lord of the Flies however it still makes for pure unadulterated compulsive The First Partition of Poland reading It doesn t surprise me that in 2000 the American Library Association with teen participation chose it as one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of the last 50 years Recommended

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House of Stairs

One by one five sixteen year old orphans are brought to a strange building It is not a prison not a hospital; it h. Young adult fiction must be a really tough genre to wrap your head around for a writer You have a story that you want to tell and you have to tell it in such a way that it is simple enough for your target audience to read yet engaging enough to keep them reading The themes have to be familiar enough for them to understand and relate to yet unusual enough to be interesting for them Go too far in the wrong direction and you have a failure So how does a YA writer do it balancing all those issues while still writing a good bookDamned if I know I ve never managed to write a decent book for adults much less young onesFortunately there are plenty of talented writers who can write for young people and one of those is William SleatorA YA writer who specializes in science fiction Sleator has written his fair share of strange fantastic and sometimes disturbing books Of all the ones I ve read this book is probably the one that creeped me out the mostThe setup for this story is simple Five sixteen year old orphans two boys three girls are put into a giant room with no visible walls ceiling or floor The only structures in this room are stairs and landings Nothing else except for a small machine with flashing lights and odd sounds that dispenses foodThat s itThe five characters are very different and very interesting First we have Peter a scared boy uncertain of his surroundings in the best of times and utterly overwhelmed by being dropped into this bizarre place He s afraid of everything and everybody and finds solace only his the strange trances he drops into in which he is with an old orphanage roommate Jasper feeling safe and protected As an interesting aside it wasn t until I was much older that I figured out Peter s sexuality It wasn t that thinly veiled either I really don t handle subtlety well I thinkLola is not a showgirl Sorry had to put that in Lola is a tough street smart girl who has no tolerance for stupidity or cruelty She s had to learn a lot in her time and doesn t look to others to decide what she should or should not doBlossom is a fat little girl who is the first to figure out how to use the food dispenser in a rage at it she sticks out her tongue and out pops a food pellet but on this later She is cunning and devious much sharper than people would give her credit for being If anyone is truly dangerous in this crowd it is herAbagail is a mousy girl pretty in her own way but with very little in the way of self confidence She tends to latch on to other people and uestion her own thoughts and actions She does have compassion however though not the means to make her compassion a realityFinally Oliver is the other boy of the group and he is all that Peter is not He is strong and confident and good looking For a while Peter thinks that Oliver is his old friend Jasper and subseuently Peter is devoted to Oliver A certain power stucture evolves when it is discovered that of all the people only Oliver can bring Peter out of his trances Oliver has power and he is not afraid to use itThese five kids are trapped in this house of stairs None of them know why they re there they only know that they are They soon discover that the food dispensing machine will only give them food under certain conditions In the beginning they are forced to repeat a series of actions and movements that evolve into a kind of dance hoping to get food from the machineFrom there it gets only worse They soon discover that the dance isn t enough The infighting that comes naturally becomes essential to their survival for only when they are cruel or greedy will the machine start flashing its lights and entice them to dance The uestion then becomes whether or not the kids will do as the machine wishes and how long they can hold out against it Or if they willThis book is disturbing to say the least It levels some pretty harsh accusations about human nature not just regarding the kids in the house of stairs but also regarding the people who put them there The kids are there for a reason and not a good one The whole setup which is thoroughly if somewhat clunkily explained at the end is about conditioning and changing people s personality through stimuli and reinforcement to make them behave as desired Because it demonstrates people young people in particular behaving in a manner that displays the truth of their nature this book has often been compared to Lord of the Flies and rightly so In its way it s even disturbing than Lord of the Flies at least the kids in that book had been left to their own devices as terrible as they were In this book the horrors that these five teens go through are part of a deliberate state sanctioned experiment in human conditioning a kind of horrible Pavlovian Breakfast Club Such is the nature of that experiment that the two children who resisted the conditioning were actually regarded as failures Upon reflection the people pulling the strings are far frightening and disturbing than these poor manipulated childrenIf nothing else the lesson to be learned from this story is simple be a human being There are some things that are too important to sacrifice for something as simple and petty as food and acceptance We must never allow ourselves to be beasts We have to be human This has relevance today when we are debating the ethics of torture is it a necessary evil that we must tolerate if our society is to survive or is it an offense against our humanity If we allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that an evil act is somehow the right thing to do then we have lost a very important part of ourselvesOf course it s also about science but the message here is less dire we must not allow science to lose its humanity In this book a strange future with a monolithic state government science is entirely utilitarian with no moral ualms about putting minors through psychological torture The good news is that at least as of this writing science errs on the side of ethics Modern science certainly has its moral gray areas but the majority of scientists out there would never consent to run an experiment such as this I hopeThe last line in the book is one of the frightening ones in literature right up there with the last line in 1984 It s a blunt reminder of everything that has happened in the book and a pointed summation of everything that Sleator has been trying to say that humans have a base nature that we can be manipulated and we will given the right circumstances allow others to shape who we are His message to his readers teenagers like the ones in this book is to refuse to submit to such control Good advice for them and for us Factory of Death really tough genre to wrap your head around for a writer You have a story that you want to tell and you have to tell it in such a way that it is simple enough for your target audience to Thirteen Plus One (The Winnie Years, read yet engaging enough to keep them Rapid Math Without A Calculator reading The themes have to be familiar enough for them to understand and Almost Late for School relate to yet unusual enough to be interesting for them Go too far in the wrong direction and you have a failure So how does a YA writer do it balancing all those issues while still writing a good bookDamned if I know I ve never managed to write a decent book for adults much less young onesFortunately there are plenty of talented writers who can write for young people and one of those is William SleatorA YA writer who specializes in science fiction Sleator has written his fair share of strange fantastic and sometimes disturbing books Of all the ones I ve Seduced by My Doms (The Doms of Genesis, read this book is probably the one that creeped me out the mostThe setup for this story is simple Five sixteen year old orphans two boys three girls are put into a giant The Certainty of Violet and Luke (Volume 5) room with no visible walls ceiling or floor The only structures in this Kane Richards Must Die room are stairs and landings Nothing else except for a small machine with flashing lights and odd sounds that dispenses foodThat s itThe five characters are very different and very interesting First we have Peter a scared boy uncertain of his surroundings in the best of times and utterly overwhelmed by being dropped into this bizarre place He s afraid of everything and everybody and finds solace only his the strange trances he drops into in which he is with an old orphanage M-am săturat să fiu prost really don t handle subtlety well I thinkLola is not a showgirl Sorry had to put that in Lola is a tough street smart girl who has no tolerance for stupidity or cruelty She s had to learn a lot in her time and doesn t look to others to decide what she should or should not doBlossom is a fat little girl who is the first to figure out how to use the food dispenser in a Love in the Light (Hearts in Darkness, rage at it she sticks out her tongue and out pops a food pellet but on this later She is cunning and devious much sharper than people would give her credit for being If anyone is truly dangerous in this crowd it is herAbagail is a mousy girl pretty in her own way but with very little in the way of self confidence She tends to latch on to other people and uestion her own thoughts and actions She does have compassion however though not the means to make her compassion a The Protestant Temperament re there they only know that they are They soon discover that the food dispensing machine will only give them food under certain conditions In the beginning they are forced to Some Kind of Wonderful repeat a series of actions and movements that evolve into a kind of dance hoping to get food from the machineFrom there it gets only worse They soon discover that the dance isn t enough The infighting that comes naturally becomes essential to their survival for only when they are cruel or greedy will the machine start flashing its lights and entice them to dance The uestion then becomes whether or not the kids will do as the machine wishes and how long they can hold out against it Or if they willThis book is disturbing to say the least It levels some pretty harsh accusations about human nature not just Cabin 28 regarding the kids in the house of stairs but also সোনালী দিন যায় reason and not a good one The whole setup which is thoroughly if somewhat clunkily explained at the end is about conditioning and changing people s personality through stimuli and Native Son reinforcement to make them behave as desired Because it demonstrates people young people in particular behaving in a manner that displays the truth of their nature this book has often been compared to Lord of the Flies and Vampir Broken Heart (Broken Heart, rightly so In its way it s even disturbing than Lord of the Flies at least the kids in that book had been left to their own devices as terrible as they were In this book the horrors that these five teens go through are part of a deliberate state sanctioned experiment in human conditioning a kind of horrible Pavlovian Breakfast Club Such is the nature of that experiment that the two children who C++ Primer Plus resisted the conditioning were actually Murder In Elysium regarded as failures Upon Snips, Snails, and Dragon Tales (The Order of the Stick, reflection the people pulling the strings are far frightening and disturbing than these poor manipulated childrenIf nothing else the lesson to be learned from this story is simple be a human being There are some things that are too important to sacrifice for something as simple and petty as food and acceptance We must never allow ourselves to be beasts We have to be human This has Baby Faces relevance today when we are debating the ethics of torture is it a necessary evil that we must tolerate if our society is to survive or is it an offense against our humanity If we allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking that an evil act is somehow the Kinky Mom right thing to do then we have lost a very important part of ourselvesOf course it s also about science but the message here is less dire we must not allow science to lose its humanity In this book a strange future with a monolithic state government science is entirely utilitarian with no moral ualms about putting minors through psychological torture The good news is that at least as of this writing science errs on the side of ethics Modern science certainly has its moral gray areas but the majority of scientists out there would never consent to Solution Manual for Organic Chemistry run an experiment such as this I hopeThe last line in the book is one of the frightening ones in literature Finding Home (Rollin On, right up there with the last line in 1984 It s a blunt Bianco Rosso E Veronelli reminder of everything that has happened in the book and a pointed summation of everything that Sleator has been trying to say that humans have a base nature that we can be manipulated and we will given the آثار الحق جلد اول right circumstances allow others to shape who we are His message to his Kayak Craft readers teenagers like the ones in this book is to آثار الحق جلد دوم refuse to submit to such control Good advice for them and for us

review ñ PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook Ø William Sleator

Machine The five must learn to love the machine and let it rule their lives But will they let it kill their souls. Probably the first dystopian novel I ever read Because of this book near the beginning of season one of LOST I was already predicting the cages and fish biscuits that would show up in season threeUPDATE Reread in 2013 after reading multiple times from ages 10 20 It has held up really well for a book written in the mid 1970s besides some unfortunate stereotyping that was common at the time The 7 Components of Transformative Organizing Theory rule their lives But will they let it kill their souls. Probably the first dystopian novel I ever The Big Golden Book of Poetry read Because of this book near the beginning of season one of LOST I was already predicting the cages and fish biscuits that would show up in season threeUPDATE Reread in 2013 after Wild Man Creek (Virgin River, really well for a book written in the mid 1970s besides some unfortunate stereotyping that was common at the time


10 thoughts on “House of Stairs

  1. says:

    After googling different phrases for a while I finally found the name of the book I read when I was around 12 that catapulted me into my interest into psychology and the human mind The story of five teenagers locked in a place that consisted only of stairs and landings the way they were trained like Pavlov's dogs to respon

  2. says:

    A chilling and suspenseful tale that stick with the reader for years to comeThis book is recommended for 9 12 year olds however I think it might be a bit intense for the younger side of this group and I as an adult thoroughly enjoyed Slater's treatment of this psychological horrorPersonal Note I read this book as a tween and it s

  3. says:

    Young adult fiction must be a really tough genre to wrap your head around for a writer You have a story that you want to tell and you have to tell it in such a way that it is simple enough for your target audience to read yet engaging enough to keep them reading The themes have to be familiar enough for them to understand

  4. says:

    Rating 35 🌟Review Five orphans named Lola Peter Blossom Abigail and Oliver all aged 16 suddenly find themselves in a weird place where there are no walls floor rooms or anything normal The only thing this place

  5. says:

    I read this because it is the #1 answer to What the hell was that crazy book I read 20 years ago? uestions House of Stairs has showed up on LibraryThing's Name That Book group three times in the past year Half of the YA books in that group turn out to be William Sleator We got a Contact Us uestion the other day that turned out to be

  6. says:

    I am insanely addicted attracted to stories about the group in peril when people are thrust into an alien setting absent of any soc

  7. says:

    A modern classic I read House of Stairs freuently as a child and was happy to see this speculative novel from 1974 stands the test of timeThat's because Sleator wisely keeps the futuristic science fiction touches to a minimum There's a very '70s reference to air pollution but it isn't pivotal The rest of the book is about what does

  8. says:

    I first read the synopsis for this a few years ago and the concept immediately caught my attention Set in an unknown but clearly dystopian future we follow five kids in their early teens who are suddenly dumped alone on a never ending room of stairs There is a machine that spits out food but only when the group perform certain ac

  9. says:

    Probably the first dystopian novel I ever read Because of this book near the beginning of season one of LOST I was already predicting the cages

  10. says:

    I think this is the last entry in my YA Sci Fi kick but it's a high note to end on I've spent than half my life searching for this book Really I checked it out from the Lawrence Public Library when I was 9 or 10 and read t

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