I know this blog is really late... but... I only found out about it today. I was in the middle of my weekly blog and I was double-checking a book title I mentioned ("Rewind"). It's been years since I read it, so I just had to make sure.
I looked up William Sleator on Wikipedia. My eyes veered to the right hand box with his bio. I don't know how I missed it then. Maybe I just didn't want to register it. All I processed from that box was: Ah, he's 66 years old. His period ends at 2011? Did he stop writing at 2011? Is he doing something else now? Then I glanced over the page's Table of Contents, and clicked on Personal life, thinking, Oo, maybe I'll know what he's up to now. Did he decide to retire? He is 66 years old... And then I read:
He died on August 3, 2011, in Bua Chet, Thailand.
It felt like everything just stopped. He's... gone? He's... gone? It wasn't until I clicked on William's page (maintained by his brother, Daniel), and then his page to leave thoughts that the reality hit me hard, and now I'm crying so much. I can't believe it...
My original blog this week will have to take the back burner. I just have to blog about William Sleator, and express my condolences however I can (even if that means me typing and occasionally crying through this whole thing).
Outside of my close friends, my sister, or friends who I know read sci-fi, I almost never mentioned William Sleator, so I don't think many people knew. I was a huge fan of his work. I enjoyed his stuff so much that I made a declaration to myself one Summer in... maybe 1999: I'm going to read ALL of William Sleator's novels! It was one of the easiest declarations I ever made. I had already hungrily read everything that was currently out -- I just had to keep on top of his future works, which I more or less did.
Every couple of years after that declaration, I would search his name in the library or in bookstores to see if any new titles came out. Whatever I didn't recognize, I would either borrow or buy them and then gobble them up the same way I did years ago. I actually did a search like that about a week ago, wondering what titles I needed to catch up on. I have two, and I'll finish them before the end of the year. I remember those two titles popping up when I made the search last year, but I thought, I'll just wait till more titles are available. I'll finish those too quickly. Ha... :(
On the subject of sci-fi, I actually don't read too many sci-fi books. I'm probably being really biased (please correct me if I'm wrong), but when I think of sci-fi, I think of spaceships, space, lab coats, computers, incomprehensible science terminology, and space.
William's Sleators books, for the most part, were not like that at all. Most of the sci-fi elements took place on Earth, where we see characters dealing with everyday issues. I think that's how I was able to read and enjoy his books -- I was often able to relate. I also really enjoyed his direct writing style and that he was able to explain the sci-fi elements in a very easy to understand manner.
Of William's Sleator's novels, I enjoyed these immensely:
-House of Stairs -- loved the psychological issue
-Others See Us -- loved the thrilling suspense
-Singularity -- loved the bittersweet emotions
-The Boy who Reversed Himself -- loved the intricate details
-Rewind -- loved the whole idea and desperate emotions
-The Boy Who Couldn't Die -- loved the concept and suspense
-Interstellar Pig -- loved the idea
I see myself making a blog covering these novels in the future. I think The Boy who Reversed Himself was my first exposure. The one that sucked me in completely, though, (because I finished reading that before The Boy who Reversed Himself) was Interstellar Pig. To write briefly, Interstellar Pig is about a boy who gets involved in a boardgame, where losing could mean the end of the world.
Since reading it, I've often played with the idea of creating a boardgame just like in Interstellar Pig. I figured that in time I would make one and then write to William Sleator and tell him all about it. This is one of my big regrets -- never writing to him and expressing how much I enjoyed his books. I still want to make that boardgame. I think I'll try thinking about it again.
To end off, here is my message to William Sleator:
William Sleator, thank you for your stories. There's so much I want to say, but so much is going through my head. During my high school years, your stories delighted me and opened my eyes to new dimensions, ideas, and ways of thinking. Even going into adulthood, your stories still gave me such enjoyment. It was almost like having a book companion of sorts, every now and then popping into my life with warmth, intrigue, and joy. I would even say it was like having a friend, but I think anybody reading that would think I was crazy.
Even though you have passed on, you'll still be remembered -- till the end of time. I know I will never truly forget, because I know days from now, weeks from now, years from now... I will pick up your books and live through your wonderful stories again. *humbly bows head, blinking away tears* Arigatou gozaimasu!!! Thank you very much!!!!
Thanks for reading. I'll be out of it for the next week or so. Believe it or not, I am still crying, on-and-off. It really was like losing a friend or someone equally dear. A celebrity? A probable writing mentor? Somebody I really looked up to? I don't know... I just know that with his passing, I feel like I've lost something as well.
Next week is Thanksgiving in Canada, so there will be no blog that week.
You all please take care.