Interstellar Pig

Interstellar Pig

by William Sleator

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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When three unusually attractive young adults rent the summer cottage next door, Barney's boring vacation at the beach seemingly takes a turn for the better. However, after the neighbors unwittingly reveal their extraterrestrial identities, the board game they have taught him becomes a real-life battle, and Barney must outsmart the aliens to save Earth from destruction. The fantastical tale contains some of Sleator's most inventive characters.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780140375954
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 06/28/1995
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 306,231
Product dimensions: 4.22(w) x 6.95(h) x 0.53(d)
Age Range: 12 - 14 Years

About the Author

"I typed my first story when I was six -- the beginning of my dependence on keyboards. It was called "The Fat Cat," and it read: "Once there was a fat cat. boy was she fat. Well, not that fat. But pretty fat." Even then, I needed an editor.

From that point on, I was always writing or composing something. And almost from the very beginning, I was fascinated by the grotesque and macabre. One of my first musical compositions was called "Guillotines in the Springtime." At school, when we were assigned to write a story about a holiday, I always cane up with something like "The Haunted Easter Egg."

In high school I continued writing poems and stories and composing music. When the school orchestra played one of my compositions at an assembly, everybody thought I was a genius. I did nothing to correct this impression. I went to Harvard, where I was miserable -- and wrote intensely tragic novellas, as well as music for student films and plays.. I also kept a voluminous journal, hundreds of single-spaced typed pages.. I gave them different volume titles like Rats Live on No Evil Star. (That's a palindrome.) I told that journal everything, and most of it is drivel. But it was a lot cheaper than going to a psychotherapist, and maybe I'll get some usable material out of it someday.

After college I spent a year in England, where I studied musical composition and worked as a pianist at the Royal Ballet School. It was there that I had the experiences which later became my first YA novel, Blackbriar. I really did live in the middle of a forest in an ancient cottage that once had been a pest house for people with small pocks. Because I was still keeping journal, I put all the details down on paper. Back in the States, I turned the journal into a book, and I was lucky -- because the manuscript was rejected by only one publisher. The second editor who saw it, Ann Durell at Dutton, liked it enough to work with me on it through a couple of drafts, until finally she felt it was good enough for publication and offered me a contract.

My second novel, Run, also took place in a house I had lived in. After that, I ran out of interesting real places to write about. I saw if I was going to make my living as a writer, I was going to have to begin making things up, using my imagination. The result was my first science fiction book, House of Stairs. Although I invented the plot and the setting, the characters in that book were all based on people I knew. I continue to use real people in my books, and that has gotten me into trouble at times. Fortunately, most of my friends have started speaking to me again.

Gradually, without much planning on it, I began drifting more and more into science fiction, a genre I had always loved. A lot of the fun of writing science fiction is learning about real scientific phenomena, like behavior modifications or black holes or the fourth dimension, and turning them into stories. The challenge is to try to make the parts you invent as believable as the scientific laws you are using. If you succeed, then you are giving the reader something that is magical and fantastic but at the same time might actually be possible.. That's the great thing about science fiction -- someday it could really happen.

For nine years, I also worked as a rehearsal pianist for the Boston Ballet, touring with them all over Europe and the United States, and composing three ballets that the company performed. (One of them was called Incident at Blackbriar, a nice plug for my book.) Eventually I quit because it was taking too much time away from my writing, and partly because the stressful atmosphere of a ballet company began to get to me. One of the best things about being a writer is that it's a job without a lot of stress. But I did keep notes of everything that happened: the time Giselle's house tipped over and knocked a dancer out cold, the time a dancer fell into the orchestra pit, what it was like to perform in ancient Roman amphitheaters in the rain, the kinds of things dancers say to each other onstage. I continue trying to turn it all into a book, and someday I may do it.

Now I live part of the year in Bangkok, Thailand, and part of the year in Boston. I write full- time and do a lot of serious cooking. I consider myself extremely fortunate to be able to make a living as a writer. I shouldn't ever run out of ideas -- knock on wood -- since the universe is full of great things like strange attractors and the Mandelbrot set. I still can't get over the fact that time slows down in the presence of a gravitational field. It really does, you know. That's not science fiction. It's a fact."

copyright ? 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

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From the Publisher

Barney is all set to spend two weeks doing nothing at his parents summer house. But then he meets the neighbors, and things start to get interesting. Zena, Manny, and Joe are not your average folks on vacation. In fact, Barney suspects they're not from Earth at all. Not only are they physically perfect in every way, but they don't seem to have jobs or permanent addresses, and they are addicted to a strange role-playing game called Interstellar Pig. As Barney finds himself sucked into their bizarre obsession, he begins to wonder if Interstellar Pig is just a game.

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Interstellar Pig 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It has been 16 years since I finished reading my last William Sleator novel-'Others See Us'. I have always believed that Sleator has the gift of identifying and remedying the self-posession and social isolation that some young adults seem to go through, by expanding their mundane circumstances into extraordinary adventures in his novels. In this story, Barney's boring vacation on the lake/beach turns exciting as he notices three athletic and exotic looking adults(two men, one woman) basking in the sun, and having fun in the cottage next door. They befriend him instantly and invite him over to eat all sorts of gourmet meals, and treat him as one of the group. Eventually, they turn him onto a game they're all seemingly hooked on called 'Intersellar Pig'. Close to the end of the novel when Barney plays the game, they whip out a regular board with a map of a galaxy on it, and deal out their characters/strengths/weaknesses in cards. Suddenly, Barney actually is in the game-(as a lichen of some sort) and what these people really are are aliens who are at the lake/beach because they found out from a piece of historical evidence that the 'Piggy's' whereabouts are contained in a clue inside the cabin where Barney and his parents are staying-hence the reason they befriend him so quickly. I have read 10 of Sleator's books, and most of them deal with some form of science theory or psychology, but this one tends to be more fanciful and fictitious. Nevertheless, it's a fun read.
atimco on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I probably wouldn't have read Interstellar Pig on my own, but it's a childhood favorite of a friend and he recommended it. NOW I know why that friend is the way he is! Wacky, imaginative, and wryly humorous, this book is one of the more memorable YA titles I've read. If you're like me, you have never meditated on the possible connections of pigs, interstellar travel, and aliens. But you're about to.While enduring a boring vacation at the beach, sixteen-year-old Barney meets some attractive strangers who have an odd fascination with his parents' rented beach house and the tragic legend of the lunatic who died there. They are also obsessed with a board game which they soon teach Barney to play. But when the board game becomes terrifyingly real, Barney must use his sub-par human intelligence against his ruthless opponents in order to win the game. Or ¿ must he?My description makes the book sound like a silly bit of mindless fun, but actually it raises some questions about the nature of reality, deception, manipulation, sexual attraction, and political strategy. And it does all this subtly, without the slightest attempt at being pretentious or profound. Under all the goofiness there is actually some real tension beyond just the exciting events of the plot. A young reader could read the book many times and only start to see the other layers later. But it's those layers of depth that keep the young reader coming back to the book. I thought of books like this in my childhood as having good bones to them, something real under the characters.The only quibble I had with the plot was that the Pig's motivation is not entirely convincing. And Barney is disconcertingly perceptive of his parents' insecurities, though he is sixteen and old enough to really start noticing. It just seemed a little overdone to me. When Barney is looking at his mom's fleshy face and body, her pathetic attempts to get a tan and look attractive, I just cringed. Perhaps that was Sleator's intent.Reading this book was doubly fun because without knowing anything about the book's beach-vacation setting, I read it during my beach vacation this year. It's a quick read, and I enjoyed this little trip through an alternate reality. I would recommend it to fans of Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett looking for a light YA read that nevertheless carries some philosophical weight ¿ but only if you want to pick it up.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got this book simply because it sounded interesting. It is a very straight-forward children's science fiction novel about a role-playing game that gets out of hand.It was a fairly fast-paced book that was an easy read. It is written about an overdone premise; a boy gets sucked in a game that is more than just the game it originally seems to be.The only thing that sets this story apart is the ironic ending to it.It was a quick, okay read, the premise was kind of interesting. The only outstanding thing was the irony of the ending. It doesn't make me want to go out and read more Sleator books though; and I am getting rid of it...definitely not a keeper.
mblaze on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Barney is an average, bored, teenager who is forced to spend two weeks with his parents at the beach. Things suddenly become interesting and potentially dangerous as he begins a friendship with some strange new neighbors who are obsessed with a weird, deadly board game. This book is captivating from the moment it begins. With each turn of the page, the suspense continues to build. The only weak point is the epilogue, which is not necessary and weakens the ending of the book. This book would be especially interesting for middle school students who are interested in adventure, suspense and science fiction.
BrynDahlquis on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Captivating, interesting, and horrifying. Barney's encounter with aliens is like no other.
bookcurse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am a little strange about scaryness, as you may have noticed in other reviews. Let me explain. Once I was reading some books that I can't remember the title of, and there were injuries, games where people hunted other human beings [hunted: searched for and killed on a private island], and other pretty gory stuff. But it was science fiction. I didn't mind. Until the very last [or was it next to last?] chapter where they locked a bad guy [really girl; I didn't think it would otherwise sound right] in a thing like a cubicle with a roof and were gassing her. When they told her over the vid cam, she held pearls in front of the camera. The lady on the other end was very upset, as the gas ruined pearls. Now that is a frightening thought. I can't tell you how my mind works, but this gives you an idea. Anyway, back to the book. There is a boy who is a loner, gets sunburned very easily, and is very suspicious of all activities. He is staying in a beach house with his parents over the summer[Do they at all care about him?]. He meets the people in the cement structure 10 yards away who were very, very upset that they couldn't stay in the house his family was staying in, which is understandable because theirs is very small for three people to stay in and is a horrid shade of pink. But it is still suspicious when they keep asking to go to his house, and even more so when they pick up every yearbook, pot, and article of clothing in the summer house. And they finger the scrapings on the wall in his room. It gets creepy and cruel from then on, but my favorite part is the last few paragraphs. The reason I talked to you about my weirdo psychology is that I was almost scared to death when they said what 'the piggy' looked like. If you read this book you will probably think this strange.
MaowangVater on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The beach house Barney¿s parents have rented for two weeks is too far from town for him. There¿s no one for a sixteen-year-old to hang out with. He¿s been staving off boredom by re-reading his old science fiction books, but then the landlord stops by and tells them that people used to say that the house was haunted, but before he finishes his story he rushes off to greet the new tenants of the house next door ¿ tenants that were extremely disappointed when they learned that the house Barney¿s staying in was already rented. They make quite a favorable impression on his parents, who think that Zena, Manny, and Joe, are older and more sophisticated then Barney does; he thinks they may be college students. They¿re all in excellent physical shape, but all they seem to want to do is play a board game called Interstellar Pig. It¿s a science fiction role-laying board game. Each player is dealt a card with an alien character, you might be an arachnoid nymph from the planet Vavoosh or a species of carnivorous lichen from Mbridlengile, or an octopus-like gas bag, or a water-breathing gill man from Thrilb. Once you have your character you travel from planet to planet until the timer signals the end of the game, collecting cards for laser guns or for hyperspace drive, or a card to boost or lower your intelligence, or to force you to land on a poisonous planet. But the most important card is called the Piggy, and if you don¿t have it in your hand at the end of the game, your planet is sucked out of existence and your species exterminated. It¿s a cool game, with a very realistic board, by Barney doesn¿t understand why his new neighbors are so obsessed with it, that is, until they all take a day trip to a nearby island and he finds a small box containing a small pink object. On it is carved a smiling face with one eye. ¿The vertical iris, inlaid in bright silver, gave the eye a piercing alertness. Crude as it was, the thing seemed alive. And it was the brutal wrongness of it, the mouth smiling with such placid idiocy, noseless, under the solitary eye, that made the face so repellent.¿Interstellar pig is a deliciously creepy read, like the chill you might get from an ice cube drawn down your sunburned back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I kindda liked it, but it turned out to be really bad. There is NO plot or purpose to this book. All it's about is a boy who, on his summer vacation, bumps in to some aliens and plays a stupid board game and almost gets eaten by a sea of lichen. I DO NOT reccomend to any one. It's a complete time waster.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interstellar Pig was a great book filled with excitement. I loved the book because it made me think and ask questions, kind of like a mystery book. I also liked the book because it was told from the main character's perspective making it easier to understand. Barney, the main character, was vacationing in a cottage when these three strange neighbors arrive in the cottage next door. These three ¿neighbors¿ were very interested in Barney's cottage. They were so interested they talked Barney into giving them a ¿tour.¿ At least that's what Barney thought. It seemed as if they were looking for something but what ever it was Barney knew they wouldn't find it. The next day Barney was invited over to the neighbors house to play a board game. They called it Interstellar Pig. This book isn't a book that I would of read if I wasn't assigned it because I never really read science fiction. The book turned out to be great! I recommend this book to anyone especially someone who doesn't read science fiction.
Guest More than 1 year ago
wow, interstellar pig is the best book I ever read in my life. The part that aliens have been fighting for a prize since the beginning of time to save their speicies and found out a place called earth has it and tries to kill a boy named barney who has the prize that is called 'the piggy' is one of the greatest of stories possible. William Sleator was the first author I discovered that I actually enjoyed reading without being forced to. Sleator comes up with the most brilliant stories imaginable. if you like suspense, fiction, action, a page turner, and a book that really makes you think then get off the computer and buy it at a local booksore
Guest More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this in years but if you enjoy this book then you will like all of William Sleater's other books.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interstellar Pig was one of the worst books to ever be printed! I don't usually like sci-fi books, but I can sit through them. This one was different. When I was supposed to be reading it, I would try to find other things to do instead of read it like 'Oh, maybe I could clean my room!' or 'Maybe the shower needs cleaning. I could do that!' Don't even bother with this stinker.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read it aas a book for school and it was sutch a good book I had to find a sequal. I recomend it to anyone that likes a good scifi book. I also think you shuld read parasite pig.I am only half through but I know it will be as good as interstellar pig I know it will be good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interstellar Pig is the best Sci-fi book that I have read. It is so facinating how all the aliens are trying to gain control of the pig. At the same time there is a mystery about the house that barney lives in the captain was supposedley killed by his brother (who is probably one of the aliens playing the game at that time. Overall it is the best book of it's background and a classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read Interstellar Pig and have found it to be one of the most immaginative, descriptive, exciting, and fantastic books to have been written. I find this book excessively interesting and more than worth the time spent reading it
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
At first I laughed at the ridiculous title, but I read it anyway. At first it's dull but it gets better and better until a big fight at the end. The teenage hero, Barney(HA!! Barney the Dinosaur!!), finds out about a mystery about a mad man that turn out to be a real, true story and three aliens;Zena, Manny, and Joe,come to claim a mysterious tricket called the Piggy that a fellow alien lost on the planet, and Barney finds out their sci-fi game isn't a game but a race to get the Piggy and hide it from your enemies...
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book wasn't interesting, it was too easy to follow, in the beginning. In fact, it was almost boring. However, just before I was tempted to put the book down altogether, it sudenly got interesting. Then, it was altogether confusing. Introducing muliple characters and new names at the very end made this book exremely hard to follow. This book is not a Science fiction book, whatever people might say, becuase it gives no reference to any new technology that the human race will have at any time in the future. It does, however, talk about things that have not been proven to exist or be possible (aka spaceships that beam people up, telepathy by 'the piggy'). Becuase this book is set in the present, and the technology used in it is not made by humans, it is not Science Fiction, whatever the publisher might want to say about it. When I sat down to read this book, I expected a good, Bradbury kind of idea, and read one of the easiest books I have ever read in my entire life. I was rather dissappointed with this book in general, but becuase of it's somewhat captivating plot, I didn't completely hate it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
William Sleator is my most favorite author. he has written some of the best books I have ever read..and I ave even had the pleasure of meeting him which was one of the best days of my Middle School years! I have read almost all of his books...I am just sad I can't find one of them...which I want to read again. however I recommend this book and ALL of William Sleators books to N E one who likes fiction!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When i was done reading this book it opened a hole new world to me. I had new ideas and great new visions. I thought it was the best book ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes place at a beach house in Paradise called 'The Captain's House.' The main characters are Barney, his Mom and Dad, Zena, and the three neighbors, Manny, Joe and Ted. The main theme is about three neighbors (who are aliens) who come to Barney's beach house with a suspicious game that turns out to be in real life. I wanted to read this book because I like sci-fi/fantasy books. I thought the plot was too strange to be believable, and the strange made-up names (like in the Star Wars movies) made it hard to follow. Overall it is a good book.