Teaser Tuesday 12/18/2018: “Mortal Engines”

So this week I’m reading Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve.


I am the eye in the sky, looking at you


This is a post-apocalytpic steampunk novel in which, thousands of years after the Sixty-Minute War destroyed most of the Earth, wheeled or tracked cities roam the desolate wasteland that remains, chasing down and feeding on each other for raw materials. The main part of the story involves the predator city of London as it attempts to dominate what’s left of the world with the help of a mysterious superweapon left over from the war. Not that Our Hero, Tom, knows anything about that. He’s just trying to get back home after a mysterious incident ends with his getting dumped down a garbage chute and left behind as London continues on its way.

A small man with a huge, drooping moustache was polishing glasses. He glanced up without much interest when Tom said, “I’m looking for a ship.”

“Where to?”

“London,” said Tom. “Me and my friend have to get back to London, and we have to leave tonight.”

“London, is it?” The man’s moustachios twitched like the tails of two squirrels that had been shoved up his nose and were starting to get a bit restless.


Now, I’ve had Mortal Engines on the device for quite some time, and normally I let its “open a random book” feature choose my next book for me (way to live on the edge, me!), but in this case I picked the book manually, because I’m planning to see the movie version when it comes out soon:

I generally like to have read the book before seeing the movie. That way I can properly annoy everyone by complaining how much better the book is, e.g., “The Golden Compass“, which everyone else I saw it with liked, but which I thought sucked, despite having perfectly cast the part of the heroine. (Sometimes movies surprise me, though. I fully expected the movie version of “Stardust” to suck, which, shockingly, it did not; and I actually liked the movie version of “Watchmen” more than the book, mainly I thought because the villain’s evil plot in the movie made more sense.) Anyway, it’s pretty unusual for me to hate a movie―which is why no one takes movie recommendations from me, and why my film rating system is how long it takes to put my wife to sleep―but I’m much harder on books, which I think carries over to movies that are based on books I’ve read. Perhaps I’ll start to retroactively hate “The Martian” after I finally get around to reading The Source Material.

Meanwhile, editing continues on Father’s Books! I’m pretty sure it’s going to be ready for release in 2019; this is probably the last pass where I’ll be making changes. Then there will be one more to look for typos, if I can resist tweaking the text.

He went inside, to the back wall, and peered into the corner. The water in the sump sat black and gritty and quiescent, but ashen streaks stretched from the hole, as if something had dipped long fingers in the oily liquid and then dragged them along the floor.

Or maybe had tried to climb out of it.

Pro tip: If you have the kind of house where something might be living in your sump … you should probably move.

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