Cover image for House of stairs
House of stairs

Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Puffin Books, 1991.
Physical Description:
166 p. ; 18 cm.
Five sixteen-year-old orphans of widely varying personality characteristics are involuntarily placed in a house of endless stairs as subjects for a psychological experiment on conditioned human response.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.3 7.0 47131.

Reading Counts RC High School 8.1 9 Quiz: 05386 Guided reading level: Z.
Subject Term:
Interest grade level:
810 Lexile.
Reading level:
6.0 Dale-Chall.


Material Type
Call Number
Teen Paperback Fiction Sleat

On Order



This chilling, suspenseful indictment of mind control is a classic of science fiction and will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

One by one, five sixteen-year-old orphans are brought to a strange building. It is not a prison, not a hospital; it has no walls, no ceiling, no floor. Nothing but endless flights of stairs leading nowhere--except back to a strange red machine. The five must learn to love the machine and let it rule their lives. But will they let it kill their souls?

"An intensely suspenseful page-turner." --School Library Journal

"A riveting suspense novel with an anti-behaviorist message that works . . . because it emerges only slowly from the chilling events." --Kirkus Reviews

Author Notes

William Sleator was born on February 13, 1945 in Harve de Grace, Maryland. In 1967, he received a BA in English from Harvard University. He mainly wrote science fiction novels for young adults. His first novel, Blackbriar, was published in 1972. He wrote more than 30 books including House of Stairs, Interstellar Pig, The Green Futures of Tycho, Strange Attractors, The Spirit House, The Boy Who Couldn't Die, and The Phantom Limb. His picture book, The Angry Moon, won a Caldecott Award in 1971. He died on August 3, 2011 at the age of 66.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Kidnapped from different state orphanages, five 16-year-olds become the unwitting pupils in a diabolical experiment intended to program them to unquestionably obey future governmental orders. [BKL Je 1 74]