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Monday, October 23, 2017

We're one year old!

shrike attack gasbag and gondola fan art

It's our one year anniversary as a website!

Or you could say it's our birthday.

One year of wistfully waiting for a movie based on a book that I had never heard of until Peter Jackson announced his protege Christian Rivers would be directing a movie about giant cities that roamed a scorched Earth eating each other.

I was in.

And so naturally I had to read the book.

And I was in x 2

And then I read the rest of the books and now I suspect this website has become more about the books than the movie!

Wait till that trailer though eh? Next year perhaps? Any thing released now till Christmas is probably going to get lost in the hype of The Last Jedi coming out.

We've covered a boat load of ground in a year and made some friends on Twitter and Facebook which has been great. Hey you lurkers, come and say hello!

I also suspect we are the only dedicated Mortal Engines website out there - except for a few wiki and of course, the Ministry of Truth himself, Mr Philip Reeve.

Here's some of our more popular posts over the year.



Fan art by the talented Peter Yea.

Monday, October 16, 2017

What is the MEDUSA weapon in Mortal Engines?

medusa being fired from London


The MEDUSA was the ancient Old-Tech super weapon that the Mayor of London city tried to use to breach the Shield Wall.

Magnus Chrome, the Mayor of London, intended to use the Medusa weapon against the Walk so that he could take London City through to the fertile hunting grounds beyond the wall.

But what exactly is the Medusa and how is it used. Does it make you turn to stone if you look at it too long?

MEDUSA is a 'ground-based' weapon.

It is stated in the Mortal Engines novel as taking up the whole of the inside of St Paul's Cathedral, where the Guild of Engineers had rebuilt it under complete secrecy.

Philip Reeve described as having a huge, metallic hood shaped 'like a cobra's hood'. It fires a beam of energy (either sourced from outside the real universe, or the cities generators), resembling a "cat-o-nine-tails", at targets up to two hundred miles away.

The firing coordinates are input via a control panel at the base of the firing mechanism.

In Mortal Engines, the Medusa was never actually used as intended.

It was accidentally destroyed by Katherine Valentine who was mortally wounded during her noble attempt to sabotage it. She succeeded somewhat - the Medusa was unable to be fired by Magnus Chrome but it did over heat, blow up and destroy the city of London with it.

The resulting explosion killed most of the thousands of people living in the city, many of them innocent.

Medusa weapon concept art from Mortal Engines
The Engineers prepare Medusa for firing

So where did the Medusa weapon come from?


The weapon was originally deployed in America during the infamous Sixty Minute War, the one which turned planet Earth into a post-apocalyptic wasteland from which the traction cities eventually evolved from. This is not to say the Medusa was the only weapon used that caused the destruction. The satellite systems known as ODIN wreaked a fair amount of damage.

Many thousands of years after the great War, London secretly made archeological expeditions to the Dead Continent and gathered the pieces of Medusa from an old Brothal base and re-assembled it inside the St Paul's complex.

In a key plot point which echoed a generation,  Thaddeus Valentine (working for Magnus Chrome)  had years before the events of the book, sort to obtain the computer control system of the Medusa. A fabulously complex item of technology even by the standards of scientists from the pre-war era,

Valentine tracked it to being in the hands of Hester's parents, found them and killed them. During this horrible moment, he also scarred Hester, both physically and of course mentally.

So what is the plot of Mortal Engines in relation to Medusa?


Katherine Valentine spends most of the first part of Mortal Engines trying to figure out what MEDUSA is. Then, when the city of London is being chased by the city Panzerstadt-Bayreuth the roof of St Paul's Cathedral lifts up and destroys the predator city with a blast of pure energy.

The successful use of the weapon serves as proof of concept to Magnus Chrome and it further adds to his resolve to breach the Shield Wall.

Magnus' plans are ultimately foiled when MEDUSA system overloads with energy and explodes, obliterating most of London with it.



Concept art of Medusa being opened above Saint Paul's Cathedral by Jaekyung Jaguar Lee. Medusa firing art design by Peter Yea.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Reeve announces 'Station Zero' as new Railhead novel

The cover and name of the third and final novel in Philip Reeve's Railhead series has been revealed as:

Station Zero


Here's the cover by artist Ian McQue:

station zero railhead cover art

Reeve said while praising McQue's work:

"'When I was reading science fiction novels as a young teenager one of the things which drew me to them was the covers, which tended to feature colossal multi-coloured spaceships and exotic planetscapes by artists like Chris Foss and Peter Jones. 

The modern-day equivalent of those illustration giants is Ian McQue, a concept artist for movies and computer games and also the creator of a wonderful body of personal work featuring shifty-looking characters, wild landscapes and rusty airborne boats (check out his Twitter or Instagram accounts)."

Station Zero will have a May 2018 release date. Order from Amazon.  

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Shrike concept design as imagined in A Darkling Plain

If you're ever read A Darkling Plain, you're appreciate this fan art from thatfigures of the Shrike:

sketch of shrike from A Darkling Plain

This picture represents one of the greatest endings to a novel I've ever had the joy of reading!

I also found this second sketch of the Shrike being discovered by the same artist:

shrike foun din a cave - darkling plain

David Buisan's Mortal Engines spanish cover version artwork

Here's the incredible artwork by David Buisan that he designed for the Spanish language version of Mortal Engines:

spanish cover of mortal engines


Without the title getting in the way, one can truly appreciate that it really does convey what happens in the novel. Too often book covers have a cool picture that doesn't rally related to the words inside.

My only quibble would be I think Philip Reeve said in one of the chats he did on Discord that it was Hester's right eye that was disfigured... 

Buisan has also designed the cover for Predator's Gold and we presume the next two novels as well..

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Hera Hilmar imagined as Hester Shaw

Here's a great photoshop effort of Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw

hera hilmar imagined as hester shaw

We truly hope that Christain Rivers and Peter Jackson go all in on the disfigurement of Hester as it really is an outward embodiment of her inward psyche.

Found on Reddit!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Fantastic Mortal Engines cosplay costumes

Hester Shaw costume cosplay from Mortal Engines book

Mortal Engines movie and book Cosplay Costumes


Let's face it, while Mortal Engines was a book, there wasn't much cosplay of the amazing characters that come from the book. There didn't seem to be too many Ana Fangs running around the Comic Conventions or monstrous Shrikes lurking in dark corridors.

That said, there was this pretty awesome version of Shrike which comes from a very cool short film.

Shrike Mortal Engines cosplay costume

Cosplay inspired by the Mortal Engines book and movie


But now that Mortal Engines is a movie and the characters have been visually brought to life, cosplayers now have something to focus and get into.

Everyone loves Hester Shaw cosplay! Check out this extreme facial scarring!

hester shaw face scar make up

Hester Shaw with awesome scar across face


scarrred hester shaw cosplay costume

Another fine Hester

hester shaw cosplay costume

Kids seem to love dressing up as Hester!

hester scar cosplay