House of Stairs – Friday Fiction

house of stairs cover

House of Stairs
1974 (originally published)
1991 (paperback edition)

I remember this book from when I was a teen and it was pretty cool. I was a fan of those dystopian society/social experiment movies and books. My favorites from that era: Stepford Wives, the original Planet of the Apes, and Soylent Green. I know there wouldn’t be a Hunger Games without these classics paving the way.

I really liked the artwork on previous editions and wish that the publishers hadn’t tried to make it more modern. The late 80s fashion and hair are hardly selling this book in 2017.

Think I will go check Netflix for a few old time sci fi choices.


house of stairs back cover

interior text


  1. I loved this book when I read it in high school. I had an after school job shelving books in the public library and I would bring home armloads of books like this. Too bad the terrible cover art will probably turn off future readers.

  2. This is an awesome book! I remember reading it as a teen, sometime around 2008, but it was a different edition with a different ugly ’80s cover. I admit this one is worse, though. Makes it look like a dated made-for-TV movie instead of an interesting psychological study.

  3. Ooh, I remember this book! Well, the title at least. Funnily enough I always thought it was by John Christopher. So there were two YA SF hacks, were there…

    Quick run to my local library catalog reveals that we have, incredibly, the first edition. I never realized anything in the Young Adults section survived longer than ten years.

  4. A fantastic story that leaves you with some deep and disturbing ideas to think about. I first read this when I was about 12, and still have my copy. Willing to bet this book gives a lot of kids their first exposure to genuine idea-confronting science fiction.

  5. I loved this book so much that when I started a classroom library for my Reading for Pleasure class I tracked it down and added it. I knew that students who like dystopian fiction would love it. I think I read it the first time around the time I read The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (before Bachman was revealed as Stephen King).

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