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quietearth [Celluloid 12.22.09] post apocalyptic movie news scifi steampunk

Word via is that Peter Jackson is secretly working on the first in the Mortal Engines series about a post apocalyptic world in which giant mobile cities consume each other to survive. (Makes me think of Dali's Temptation of St.Anthony) While this is rumor as Jackson has a lot of other stuff on his plate, I'm hoping this goes before anything else because this will be another great film in what has clearly become a resurgence in intelligent science fiction. BRING IT ON!

From Wikipedia:
The book is set in a post-apocalyptic steampunk world, ravaged in ages past by a nuclear holocaust known as the "Sixty Minute War," which caused massive geological upheaval. To escape the earthquakes, volcanoes and other instabilities, a Nomad leader called Nikola Quercus, who changed his name to Nikolas Quirke, designed a system known as Municipal Darwinism, where entire cities essentially become immense vehicles known as Traction Cities, and must consume one another in order to maintain themselves in a world deprived of most natural resources. Although the planet has since become stable again, Traction Cities are still used despite the fact that they were intended to escape from natural disasters, and the new world order continues.

Much technological and scientific knowledge was lost, and what remains of "Old Tech", artifacts remaining from our more developed society, are dug up and pored over by scavengers and archeologists. Europe, some of Asia, north Africa, Antarctica and the Arctic are inhabited by Traction Cities, and North America is a radioactive wasteland, while much of the rest of the world is the stronghold of the Anti-Traction League, an organisation that seeks to stop cities from moving and thus stop the intense consumption of the planet's resources. In the world of Traction Cities, nations no longer exist - each city is an individual state.

I really hope this gets made because it sounds utterly incredible. You can find out more about the book series on the official website.

Has anyone read any of these books and can chime in?

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acrobatic flea (11 years ago) Reply

My favourite books! This could be magnificent (if it's true)!!!


Live for Films (11 years ago) Reply

I've read the first couple of books and really enjoyed them. Some amazing scenes of the big cities hunting smaller cities and then stripping them of all resources.

Plus pirates on airships, mysteries, conspiracies, and lots of swashbuckling type action.

Well worth a read and they should make amazing films


MrSatyre (11 years ago) Reply

I haven't read the books, but it sounds awfully similar to Otomo Katsuhiro's "Cannon Fodder" short featured in the fantastic anime film "Memories" (available on DVD and Blu-ray from


Engine (11 years ago) Reply

I've read them all, including the prequel which came out a few months ago. They are some the best children's literature out there - a sort of 'best-kept secret' but have a very quirkly British sense of humour. The first book is definately not a typical Hollywood story - it's set in London and is about an apprentice historian called Tom Natsworthy who tries to save his hero (a secret agent called Valentine) from a would-be assassin called Hester Shaw. Hester is by far the greatest character in the books - disfigured, bitter and vengeful and full of hate and passion. She's described as hideous, without a nose and permanent sneer. I can quite imagine this film keeping that kind of detail, but we'll see. Philip Reeve loves his films,comics and anime and Mortal Engines is full of those kind of influences: airships, mechanical assassins called Stalkers that were once human and those traction cities that gobble up other cities. It would make a great series of films as long as PJ doesn't take all the originality out of them. The thing that concerns me is Jackson might be tempted to Hollywood-ify them to widen their appeal. I can easily see this being like Golden Compass - soul-stripped and sanitized and stand-alone. The other big problem is the story only begins with Mortal Engines and is only fully resolved in the fifth book. If it's done well it'll blow Harry Potter out of the water for sure...

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