THE MONSTER MAKER by Nicholas Fisk


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Fisk leaves the sci-fi space scene of previous stories for the barnlike, British studios of one Chantey Balogh, who makes monsters for films and is thus idolized by mechanical-minded 12-year-old Matt. Matt is delighted when his persistence wins him entry to the studios, and ecstatic when his talent wins him an unpaid summer job (Chancey just doesn't think about money) actually working on the fantasy creatures. The only sour note is struck by a gang of hoodlums who throw rocks at the studio, harass Matt on his way home, and finally give him a brutal beating. (Why? They are simply baddies--who, like many baddies of British fiction, speak in substandard English which seems to be considered explanation enough.) Matt's run-in with the mob makes a strong fight scene, and the beating leaves Matt with a bad concussion--which in turn makes all the more garishly surreal the climactic chaos in the studios: The hoodlums break in; Chancey's high-voltage ""security"" system zaps into action; enormous Ultragorgan shoots flame and bellows; and to Matt, delirious now after a day with pain and ringing and a lit-up London subway map flashing inside his head, it seems that the monsters come to life. On Matt's recovery, Chancey clears things up, and thrills him further with the promise of a real job in the future. Sheer wish fulfillment, bolstered with some spectacular effects at the monster-movie level.

Pub Date: March 24th, 1980
Publisher: Macmillan