Tuesday 29 April 2014

The Iron Man - Ted Hughes - A Story in Five Nights

The Iron Man:
A Story in Five Nights
Ted Hughes
Faber and Faber
ISBN 9780571289103
ASIN B0076795A6

I picked up this book to read for two reasons. First the movie The Iron Giant is one of my children's favorites and they ask for it often. The second is author Matt Haig posted an article on his top 10 Robots. That got me thinking about this book and I had to track it down. I was amazed by this short novel and have since read it to my son who loved it also. The book is a story in 5 nights. The nights are:

The Coming of the Iron Man
The Return of the Iron Man
What's to be Done with the Iron Man?
The Space-Being and the Iron Man
The Iron Man's Challenge

Now to be honest the book is so different from the move, The Iron Giant, that the book took me quite by surprise. It was a very pleasant surprise. The story does have an Iron Man that no one knows where he came from, or what to do with him, and a little boy name Hogarth. But after that the stories are so different, almost like a children's version of Blade Runner vs Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. But back to the book.

The story begins with the Iron Man's arrival. He just appears strolling across the countryside. The opening chapter is very humorous, with him rolling down a cliff and the parts reassembling themselves. In the second encounter the Iron Man ears, cars, tractors and other machinery so the town's folks plan to trap him. Hogarth plays a role in this and as soon as he does he regrets it. But sometimes what we fear most is what we need most. And when the earth is attached by a space-bat-angel-dragon Hogarth believes that the Iron Man might be able to save us.

As stated earlier this is a great little book. And the best news is there is a companion volume called The Iron Woman to continue the adventure.

Books by Ted Hughes:
For children:

How The Whale Became Meet My Folks!
The Earth-owl and Other Moon People
Nessie, the Mannerless Monster
The Coming of the Kings
Season Songs U
Under the North Star
What is the Truth?
Ffangs the Vampire Bat and the Kiss of Truth
Tales of the Early World
The Iron Man
The Iron Woman
The Dreamfighter and Other Creation Tales
Collected Animal Poems Vols. 1-4
Shaggy and Spotty
The Mermaid's Purse
The Cat and the Cuckoo
Collected Plays for Children

The Hawk in the Rain
Flowers and Insects
Moortown Diary
Rain-Charm for the Duchy
Three Books: Remains of Elmet, Cave Birds, River
Elmet (with photographs by Fay Godwin)
New Selected Poems 1957-1994
Tales from Ovid
Birthday Letters
The Rattle Bag (edited with Seamus Heaney)
The School Bag (edited with Seamus Heaney)
By Heart
Collected Poems

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