Philip Reeve has brought out a collection of three short stories in the universe of the Mortal Engines quartet, to tie in with the film adaption of Mortal Engines coming out later this year. As if fans of the original series didn’t have enough to lose their minds over already.
The collection, entitled ‘Night Flights’, is centred around Anna Fang, the Anti-Tractionist aviatrix supporting-character from the original quartet. It’s essentially a prequel to the main saga which, as Reeve says in his 2018 Book News update, ‘adds a bit of detail to the stories of Anna Fang’s early life which are hinted at in Mortal Engines’. The middle story in the collection is based on ‘Traction City’, Reeve’s World Book Day novella release from 2011, refocussing the events on Anna who in that book was more of a deuteragonist, while, excitingly, the first and last stories are wholly new creations.
Unfortunately, it’s only a short dip into the world, as a 200-page read, making it in total only about two-thirds the length of ‘Traction City’, but prices reflect that, retailing at Waterstones for £10.99. As a nice bonus to the written material, this edition is illustrated throughout by the sci-fi concept-artist Ian McQue, who also produced the updated cover art for the new editions of the original quartet released to coincide with the movie. Neat.
Ian McQue's covers for the series' re-release
There’s a whiff of cynical marketing in the new release as it times in with the December 2018 of the ‘Mortal Engines’ movie adaptation. Regardless, no fan of Reeve’s Mortal Engines Quartet is going to object to another chance to enter that world before the movie, since the last release in the series, besides the 2011 quartet, was ‘A Darkling Plain’ ending the original quartet twelve years ago. The recently released trailer looks like it’ll make the wait worth it, as it has just the right quantity of bombastic YA sci-fi to give the fans plenty to get excited about.