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Saturday, April 8, 2017

What is the Anti Traction League?

london traction city

In a world where Municipal Darwinism is the accepted orthodoxy as a 'way of life', should the Anti Traction League's place in the Mortal Engines' Universe cast them as the villains or heroes of the piece?

You know how in Return of the Jedi when Obi-Wan Kenobi tries to convince Luke that he did not lie to him about his father and that it was true from a 'certain point of view'?

I kind of see it that way.

The novel of Mortal Engine's present's the Anti Traction League as the rogue outsiders, spies who live beyond the law of the lawless. If you were a citizen of the city of London and you suffered an attack by the League on your good self, you might see them as a terrorist outfit.

Or, if you were fearful of the giant cities eating you and your family and thought their efforts to defend you from predator cities, you might see them as heroes. 

So what is the Anti-Traction League?


At the time of Mortal Engines, the Anti-Traction League is an organization opposed to the prevalence of the Traction Cities and the principle of Municipal Darwinism that pervades the era.

The League was founded by a man named Lama Batmunkh in the aftermath of the Black Centuries which followed the Sixty Minute War and then for thousands of years since, the Anti Traction League has been a kind of Ying to the Yang of the Traction Cities.

The League is the actually the dominant power in Southern Asia though it also has territories in Africa and the Andes Eastern China is evidently irradiated by the War, and the Himalayas are now the centre of civilization, where the mountains make it impossible for resource hungry traction cities like London to approach (unless of course London has the Medusa weapon activated...)

The Anti Traction League is actually made up of many nations and kingdoms, whose people live in static towns and cities. The principal nation is Shan Guo, located in Western China and Central Asia.

Given this, the arguments about whether the League are the good guys or not get a bit messy when we start to compare population groups and sizes...

Of course you should also never become a monster in order to defeat a monster... and we'll discuss that concept a little further soon but first we must discuss the face of the Anti Traction League, the great and wondrous:

Agent Anna Fang!


anna fang sketch
In the Mortal Engines novel, Anna Fang is an Asian aviator that Hester Shaw and Tom Natsworthy meet shortly after their 'expulsion' from the city of London.

It quickly transpires she is a pretty handy in a tight spot and effectively she saves Tom and Hester from the Shrike when they escape from Airhaven.

Anna Fang leads a successful attack on the the pirate town 'Tunbridge Wheels' and sinks it. She then picks up Tom and Hester again and even though they now have learned that she is an Anti-Tractionist, they are still friends with her.

During an attack on the air fleet at the end of the novel she is killed by dastardly Thaddeus Valentine when he stabs her through the neck.

Stalker Anna Fang!


stalker anna fang
But dead is not dead in the realm of the Mortal Universe.

Have you ever heard of the Stalkers?

They are dead beings corrupted by unexplained technology that can reanimate the dead.

Stalkers are usually under the control of their masters but it's hard to keep a good Anna Fang down....

That's right, in Predator's Gold, Anna Fang's body is stolen from her burial place by the 'Green Storm' and subjected to the re-animation process and brought back to life.

For the rest of the series, Anna Fang lives as the undead! However this does not mean that it's the same Anna Fang. While self aware, the undead Anna Fang proves to be a heartless killing machine.

Which brings us to Green Storm

The Green Storm is a fanatical splinter group of the Anti-Traction League.


Its primary objective is to destroy all Traction Cities and "make the world green again", since the Traction Cities' constant movement and hunting for resources long ago destroyed much of the world's vegetation.

The Green Storm's rule is portrayed as militaristic, totalitarian and absolute, tolerating no dissent. They are also pretty keen on building an army of undead stalkers. An engineer that survived the destruction of London called Popjoy has developed many stalkers and was responsible for bringing Anna Fang back to life.

The Green Storm  eventually overthrow the ruling High Council of the Anti Traction League and too it over.

Over the next fifteen years, the Green Storm under the leadership of the Stalker Fang they conquered half of the known world with its vast legions of Stalkers, fighter airships and Air Destroyers and this progress was mostly at the expense of the remaining Traction Cities.

And who led Green Storm while all this happened? The merciless and monstrous Anna Fang!

Extra for Experts:

  • The Anti Traction League's formal symbol is a broken wheel, serving to show the goal of the League, the breaking of the traction cities. 
  • The symbol of the Green Storm is a jagged green lightning bolt.
  • The lands under the control of the League are protected from Traction Cities by the so called "Shield Wall". It is heavily defended and almost impenetrable, unless of course you have the Medusa Weapon - which London City managed to get hold of.. 

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