What does Stanisław Lem have to do with Mortal Engines?

Saturday, April 18, 2020
stanislem law's book mortal engines
When I was searching for information about Philip Reeve's novel Mortal Engines, I kept coming across a book of the same name by Stannislaw Lem.

I generally ignored it until the other night I was thinking about the Steven Soderbergh, film version of Solaris and I realised that the author of the book that the movie was inspired by, was the same as the other Mortal Engines book.

It turns out that Lem's book Mortal Engines is a collection of his works that is also known as Fables for Robots.

The context of the stories is the fables are from the point of view of a universe populated by robots.

And therein gives rise to the book title and the use of the words from Shakespeare's Othello from which Reeve was inspired to use for his first novel:

"And O you mortal engines whose rude throats / Th'immortal Jove's dread clamors counterfeit..."

Law's book title uses a double meaning in the context the engines are literally the robots and describing the finite nature of humans of whom the tales are told - much the same how Reeve's also uses the double meaning of the mortality of humans and the giant traction engines cities.


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