SKOVRON, Jon Man Made Boy Allen & Unwin, 2013 362pp $19.99 pbk ISBN 9781743315132 SCIS 1627424
Times Square in New York is a lively place at any time with its bright lights, theatres, eating places, stores and traffic. But deep beneath the Square in tunnels and caverns is a theatre with shows whose performers are a variety of protected mythical and legendary monsters (ogres, satyrs and trouwes or trolls, the last of their kind, and even Madame Medusa herself) in the care of their manager, the vampire Ruthven, where humans make their way down to it for the unique thrills. Among the residents is Frankenstein’s monster, who acts as head of security, and his wife Bride, whose skills with spare parts stitched together their flesh and blood robot son Boy who at 17 has become a computer genius but whose only interaction with the world above is through a small network of fellow computer hackers.
But when Boy’s father plans to send him off to live with the Frankenstein family in Switzerland for his further education, he rebelliously runs off from his prison, determined to make his own life in the human world, and he joins one of his fellow hackers, only to discover that a massive powerful virus he had been working on, and which he thought had failed, was now VI, and had broken out and was pursuing him and threatening mankind with its powers to possess the minds of every person, monster and human. He cannot escape it, and he is led to seek help, in a series of exciting adventures and sometimes violent confrontations, driving across the United States, aided by Sophie and Claire, the shape-changing grand-daughters of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and by other mythical beings in the Arizona Desert and in Hollywood such as the Dragon Lady and the Invisible Man, who help Boy face up to his responsibility and . . .
This is a highly imaginative and inventive novel, a very different quest-style fantasy, set firmly in the modern 21st century America. It is a story which would appeal to young computer enthusiasts who can appreciate Boy’s demonstrated skills, but it also provides a fascinating look at the wealth of mythical, legendary and fictional characters like centaurs, naiads, and the flute-playing kokopelli and a chance to explore the internet for explanations. This would be good enthralling reading for ages 12 to 15 and older. JDA