Mortal Engines was like the YA book series with the best politics. Maybe it was tied with A Series of Unfortunate Events, but those books didn’t go too hard with praxis. These were books that were fervently anti-capitalist and anti-nationalist, written from a clearly defined Anarcho-Communist perspective. Sure, the conceit of autonomous, mobile city states is maybe a big hurdle to overcome — but to reflect a societal condition as fucked as late-capitalism takes some doing.
To celebrate the centenary of the Great War, one of cinema’s great technical fabulists has attempted to change the way that we process our history. Peter Jackson has colourised, digitised and converted into 3D the cinematic and photographic documentation of the life of British soldiers on the Western Front. Of course this caused controversy in the world of film preservation, whether it was right to adulterate the footage in this way. Should one provide voices to the men caught only in video 100 years after the fact? Is it possible to add colour without adulterating the political and aesthetic intent of the original documentarians?
So I pretty much love the Mortal Engines books; have since I was a kid. They are a sorta class-conscious, post-apocalyptic version of steampunk that you don’t see too often. Steampunk as a genre often gets too trapped in the ‘Steam’ to really pay attention to the ‘Punk’.