Flashback Friday: House of Stairs

ffbutton2Flashback Friday is a weekly tradition started here at Bookshelf Fantasies, focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves. If you’d like to join in, just pick a book published at least five years ago, post your Flashback Friday pick on your blog, and let us all know about that special book from your reading past and why it matters to you. Don’t forget to link up!

My Flashback Friday pick this week:

House of Stairs

House of Stairs by William Sleator
(published 1974)

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Peter. Lola. Blossom. Abigail. Oliver. Five sixteen-year-old orphans. One by one, they are brought to a place that is unlike anything any of them has ever known. It’s not a prison, not a hospital. It has no walls, no ceilings, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere – except back to the red machine. The five will learn to love the machine, will let it rule their lives. But will they let it kill their souls?

House of StairsCan I just tell you how freaked out by this book I was when I was a kid? It’s a totally bizarre tale of psychological conditioning — and I loved it. Five teens trapped in a weird place that just consists of stairs going every which way, plus a single machine that dispenses food… but only if you do what it wants. Yikes! It’s not very long, but it certainly has stayed with me all these years.

House of StairsWhen my daughter was the right age, I gave it to her to read, and she was blown away too. And now that my son is in middle school, it’s come back off the shelf again… and we’re trying to convince him that he just has to read this book!

A note on the covers: I think I actually prefer the older, slightly cheesy versions for House of Stairs. The one above just lacks any personality… versus these older ones with bad hair, odd clothes, and lots of drama.

Have you read House of Stairs? Or anything else by William Sleator?

What’s your favorite flashback book this week?

Note from your friendly Bookshelf Fantasies host: To join in the Flashback Friday fun:

  • Grab the Flashback Friday button
  • Post your own Flashback Friday entry on your blog (and mention Bookshelf Fantasies as the host of the meme, if you please!)
  • Leave your link in the comments below
  • Check out other FF posts… and discover some terrific hidden gems to add to your TBR piles!


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

4 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: House of Stairs

    • I haven’t read that one — although I picked up a copy years ago. I think that one came out a few years after House of Stairs. Now that you’ve reminded me, I always did mean to read The Forbidden Game!

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