Fuse #8

Monday, August 21, 2006

Sleator Redux

There's been a more than decent William Sleator rundown posted recently on a site called adamcadre.ac. As with many things on the web, I've no idea who wrote the piece or why it's necessarily there. Just the same, it's remarkably insightful, especially when you consider the author's take on Sleator's work, both old and new. And though some would classify this particular author as YA, I know for a fact that my library has Intersteller Pig and Singularity firmly in our children's collection. For anyone who has ever searched in vain for worthy sci-fi children's books (you'd be amazed how often schools require their kids to read some), this article is a must read.


At 10:52 AM , Anonymous Tammy Pierce said...

I've said it before (to him) and I'll say it again: this man is a god to me. He is out there consistently publishing edgy, thought-provoking science fiction for readers ten and up. As many of us know, once a kid of any age starts on science fiction, the age of the book doesn't matter, s/he will burn through the kids' shelves, the teen shelves, and on up into the adult shelves within the next year. Sleator is a librarian's and bookseller's gift in that he can at least slow down a new science fiction fan for a month or two if they can keep digging out more of his books.

He makes us think, whatever our age as readers. He's deeply unsettling, which to my mind is what makes a great science fiction writer. He should get more attention.

There should be a Gods of Kidlit award, and he should get one.

At 12:29 PM , Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Failing that, there should probably be a Sci-Fi Award for children's literature. I suppose the fact that sci-fi is not considered a "legitimate" literature coupled with the sparse showing it has every year would make the establishing of such an award difficult.

I suppose I should actually read him, eh? Would you call him the Philip K. Dick of kiddie lit?

At 5:46 PM , Anonymous Tammy Pierce said...

Dick's a little too out there. Ummm--more like the Aldous Huxley, only less drugs. Or the Ray Bradbury. Yeah, maybe the Ray Bradbury. Try THE HOUSE OF STAIRS. That's nice and dystopian (if you like dystopias).

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America now have an award for kidlit, the Andre Norton, voted by the membership. Given the state of things, though I imagine it will go primarily to teen books, and mostly fantasy. The first winner was Holly Black, for VALIANT (which made me happy, because it went to something good.

We're getting more and more sf in each year in teens, with editors like Sharyn November at Viking actively stumping for it. Sleator and H.M. Hoover have been producing steadily. Scott Westerfeld is the Hot New Flavor, turning out science fiction of the kind we kiddie writers have been telling the science fiction crowd kids will read for years: topics of interest to modern kids, not yesterday's "classics." There's good stuff being published (and occasionally imported) from the UK, Canada, and Australia, but it's almost universally darker and grittier than US publishers like to see. We just have to let publishers and writers know there's a need and a desire for it, and hope people wake up.


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