Study Guide

Mortal Engines Technology and Modernization

By Philip Reeve

Technology and Modernization

Technology does a lot of wonderful things. We can carry hours and hours of music and reading on digital devices that fit into our pockets. We can scan people for diseases that are invisible to the naked eye. And we can blow up the entire planet dozens of times with nuclear bombs.

Wait. One of these things is not like the other.

Mortal Engines takes place in the aftermath of some "bad" technology: that would be the nuclear weapons that wiped us all out. So technology started up again, with traction cities and airships. Now, technology is speeding us toward destruction for the second time. Is it possible to modernize so much that we end up going around in circles and back to a primitive age?

Questions About Technology and Modernization

  1. How have the traction cities benefited humanity in this age? How has the same technology been destructive to society?
  2. Why are defunct pieces of technology, like CDs, considered valuable relics to the people of London?
  3. Why does Magnus Crome insist on using MEDUSA even though he doesn't really understand it?

Chew on This

Technology brings mankind farther and farther away from the natural world. The people of the traction cities are frightened of living on the earth, but they need to do this in order to survive.

The people of London have put so much effort into destructive technology that allows town to eat town that other things like healthcare and nutrition have fallen behind. It might be too late for them to catch up.