Philip reeve re­turns to the lit­er­ary world of Mor­tal En­gines

SFX - - Mortal engines -

When Philip Reeve vis­ited the Mor­tal En­gines film set in New Zealand, it didn’t just demon­strate to him how his 2001 novel was be­ing trans­lated onto the big screen. It also pro­vided the in­spi­ra­tion for his new short story col­lec­tion. Set in the same postapoc­a­lyp­tic world, Night Flights was in­spired by a con­ver­sa­tion the au­thor had with Ji­hae, who plays rebel avi­a­tor Anna Fang.

“Ji­hae was lovely, and she will be su­perb as Anna,” says Reeve. “But it made me wish there was more of her in the book, as she was so strong that I ended up slightly sidelin­ing her so that the younger char­ac­ters have to take charge of things. So when my pub­lish­ers Scholas­tic wanted to repub­lish a longish short story called ‘trac­tion City’, which I first wrote as a World Book Day book a few years ago, I thought it would be a chance to put Anna at the cen­tre of things.”

Hav­ing ex­ten­sively re­vised the orig­i­nal ver­sion, “trac­tion City” is now the sec­ond of Night Flight’s three sto­ries. “It’s set aboard the trac­tion City of Lon­don and fea­tures a young and rather an­gry Anna, who is now at the heart of the ac­tion,” ex­plains Reeve. ”I’ve also writ­ten a new story called ‘Frozen Heart’, about how Anna es­caped from the slave-holds of Arkan­gel – events which are re­ferred to sev­eral

times in the Mor­tal En­gines quar­tet, but this is the first time the truth has been re­vealed! the third story, ‘terth Of the Sea’, has an older Anna work­ing as an in­tel­li­gence agent for the Anti-trac­tion League and en­coun­ter­ing a new type of preda­tor town.” Reeve has also col­lab­o­rated with Jeremy Levett on The Il­lus­trated World Of Mor­tal En­gines, a vis­ual guide to Mor­tal En­gines that’s based on the en­cy­clo­pe­dia-es­que trac­tion Codex that the pair re­leased on­line a few years ago. It’s lav­ishly il­lus­trated by Aedel Fakhrie, Ian McQue, Philip Var­banov, Amir Zand, David Wy­att and Rob turpin and with maps by Lowtuff and Maxime Plasse. In Reeve’s words, it an­swers ques­tions such as ‘Mo­bile cities – how is that even a thing?’ “It’s been a great way of ex­pand­ing the Mor­tal En­gines world and fill­ing in a lot of his­tory which the nov­els only hint at,” he con­tin­ues. “It also gives a glimpse at how trac­tion Cities have de­vel­oped in places my he­roes have never vis­ited. Places like South Amer­ica and Aus­tralia. And there are quite a lot of puns as well!” Stephen Jewell

Night Flights and The Il­lus­trated World Of Mor­tal En­gines are out now.

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