Scott Westerfeld

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Scott Westerfeld
Westerfeld at Utopiales 2010
Westerfeld at Utopiales 2010
Born (1963-05-05) May 5, 1963 (age 59)
Dallas, Texas, US
  • Writer
  • composer
  • media designer
GenreYoung adult, science fiction
(m. 2001)

Scott David Westerfeld (born May 5, 1963)[1] is an American writer of young adult fiction, best known as the author of the Uglies and the Leviathan series.

Early life[edit]

Westerfeld was born in Dallas, Texas.[2] As a child he moved to Connecticut for his father Lloyd's job as a computer programmer. He saw his father working with planes, submarines, and the Apollo missions.

Westerfeld graduated from Vassar College with a BA in Philosophy in 1985.[3] He began composing music as a teenager[4] and composes music for modern dance.[5] In 2001, Westerfeld married Australian author Justine Larbalestier.

As of 2013, Westerfeld divided his time between Sydney, Australia and New York City.[2]


Westerfeld is best known for the Uglies series, including the spin-off graphic novel series Shay's Story. Other novels of his include Afterworlds and, for adults, The Risen Empire and The Killing of Worlds, parts one and two of Succession.

Westerfeld began his career writing novels for adults, but switched to YA literature with his Midnighters trilogy. He has written four YA novels that take place in New York City: Peeps, The Last Days, So Yesterday, and Afterworlds. While The Last Days is not a sequel to Peeps, it follows a group of different characters in the same setting. So Yesterday is not related to these novels, but is often grouped with them because it is also set in New York City.

He has also written the Leviathan series, an alternate history trilogy set in World War I consisting of Leviathan, Behemoth and Goliath, plus its illustrated guide The Manual of Aeronautics.

In 2017, Westerfeld produced a graphic novel with illustrations by Alex Puvilland titled The Spill Zone. The graphic novel, released officially in October 2016 as an online syndication prior to the 2017 print release,[6] tells of a photographer who ventures back into her upstate New York hometown abandoned by a mysterious event to take pictures of the occurrences happening there since.[7]

In a blogpost in 2006, Westerfeld claimed to have ghostwritten five Goosebumps books, one of which was All-Day Nightmare, one of the entries in the Give Yourself Goosebumps series which came out in February 2000.[8]

Several of his novels have been optioned for films. So Yesterday has been optioned to be made into a film by one of the producers of Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine.[9] However, this option 'slowly died', as Scott Westerfeld wrote on his blog. The Uglies series was optioned in 2006 by Twentieth Century Fox as a possible film series.[10]


A major theme in Westerfeld's work is the idea of free thinking or questioning authority. In Uglies, the protagonist Tally rebels against her society's rules first with harmless pranks and eventually by leaving the city altogether. She finds a group of runaway uglies who refuse to conform to social norms that includes undergoing cosmetic surgery. Similarly, So Yesterday examines popularity and why certain trends are considered 'cool.' The novels praises innovators who think outside the box and come up with new fashion statements entirely on their own.

Another common theme in Westerfeld's novels is coming of age. Because Westerfeld writes primarily for young adult audiences, his protagonists are usually teenagers who find themselves over the course of the novel or series. Tally in Uglies, Cal in Peeps and Hunter in So Yesterday all struggle with finding where they belong until they come to terms with who they are.

Courage is another common theme in Westerfeld's work. His protagonists often face frightening or dangerous problems and have to rely on their own courage to overcome the problem. Often adults are not present during the time of crisis and the protagonist is left to his or her own devices. For example, Cal in Peeps is trained by adults on how to track down vampires, but he goes alone to actually catch them and must accomplish this task completely on his own.




Succession series

The two books were re-published in 2005 in one volume, also titled The Risen Empire.

Young adult[edit]

Midnighters trilogy

Peeps series

  • Peeps (2005) (also known as Parasite Positive in Britain and V-Virus or Peeps in Canada)
  • The Last Days (2006)

Uglies universe

Uglies series

Impostors series

  • Impostors (2018)
  • Shatter City (2019)
  • Mirror's Edge (2021)
  • Youngbloods (2022)

Related works

  • Bogus to Bubbly: An Insider's Guide to the World of Uglies (2008)
  • Graphic novel retellings from Shay's point of view:

Leviathan series (illustrated by Keith Thompson)

Related works

Spill Zone graphic novel series (illustrated by Alex Puvilland)

  • Spill Zone (2016)[6]
  • Spill Zone: The Broken Vow (2019)

Related works

  • Spill Night (short story for Free Comic Book Day) (2017)

Zeroes trilogy (with Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti)

  • Zeroes (2015)
  • Swarm (2016)
  • Nexus (2018)


  1. ^ "Scott Facts". Scott Westerfeld. Born: May 5, 1963 Dallas, Texas, USA
  2. ^ a b "Author Feature-Scott Westerfeld". Texas Library Association. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  3. ^ Kevin Stone (December 2006). "A Conversation With Scott Westerfeld". The SF Site. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  4. ^ "Scott Westerfeld: Music". Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  5. ^ "Author Information: Scott Westerfeld". Internet Book List. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Doctorow, Cory (October 6, 2016). "Spill Zone: a new free online graphic novel from Scott Westerfeld, creator of Uglies". Boing Boing. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Westerfeld, Scott (October 14, 2016). "Spill Zone". Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Westerfeld, Scott (June 5, 2006). "A Decade of Freelance". Archived from the original on July 14, 2016. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  9. ^ "So Yesterday, the Movie". April 13, 2006. Retrieved March 18, 2012.
  10. ^ Publishers Weekly, January 8, 2007.
  11. ^ "2006 Best Books for Young Adults with annotations". Young Adult Library Services Association. July 30, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  12. ^ "BBYA 2006 Top Ten with annotations". American Library Association. Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Retrieved February 20, 2023.
  13. ^ "Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults 2006". March 22, 2017. Archived from the original on March 22, 2017.

External links[edit]