With the coming of the Mortal Engines Movie my brain kicked into gear remembering another book about cities walking around gathering resources. I have not read Mortal Engines but looking at the plot it seemed to have some similarities. I think it had a Steampunk feel to it but I am not completely certain. I have tried searching both through the web and my library but have not found it yet does anyone recall the book? As far as I can remember I read this between 2008 and 2013.

  • Off to a good start, but we could use some more details, like maybe a year you read it or when you think it may have been published. Take a look at this guide to see if you can add in any more details.
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:07
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    Same as this one? scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/176703/…
    – Buzz
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:09
  • Possibly Alastair Reynolds' "Absolution Gap"?
    – Moriarty
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:17
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    I can confirm that it is not The Inverted World by Christopher Priest which I have not read but I probably will nor Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds which I have read.
    – watertiger
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:46
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    @watertiger I was just about to ask a question about a similar book series but found this question instead. I know that Worldshaker is correct if watertiger and I are thinking of the same series. The thing that I remember the most about Worldshaker is that it ends with a revolution that develops through the second book in a very similar manner to the French Revolution.
    – anon
    Oct 28, 2018 at 21:47

4 Answers 4


How about Worldshaker, by Richard Harland? It was first published in 2009, which matches your time frame, and it is a steampunk-style novel set on a “juggernaut” - a mountain-sized city that walks around and "trades" with the locals for resources. Other juggernauts are mentioned as existing, although no others are important to the story.

The actual story revolves around the class divide between the upper and lower levels of the city, and the plot kick-starts when a boy from an aristocratic family meets a girl from the lower decks.


This is a long shot but James Blish's Cities in Flight series involves mobile cities. This was more used for space travel so it was flying, not walking. It seems unlikely but if nothing else fits, check it out.


Another possibility is Strength of Stones by Greg Bear.

The basic plot of the story follows a few separate groups of people in the far future, on a planet called God Does Battle - generations ago in the books timeline, the people of God Does Battle lived in giant cities that deconstructed themselves and moved around the planet on command.

One day, the cities decided their inhabitants are unworthy, and exiled them - the people now live in normal villages, with the general technology level have dropped to near medieval times.

The cities still deconstruct themselves to move around the plant, looking for resources.


Probably not your book, just predecessor treatment: Michael Moorcock, "The Land Leviathan", 1974.

The story of Oswald Bastable's adventures "trapped forever in the shifting tides of time" is framed with the concept of the book being a long lost manuscript, as related by Moorcock's grandfather. Several years after Bastable disappeared in 1910, the elder Moorcock travels to China in an attempt to track him down, meeting Una Persson of the Jerry Cornelius novels on the way who before disappearing leaves him a manuscript written by Bastable for Moorcock, relating what happened to Bastable after he unexpectedly left the elder Moorcock at the end of Warlord of the Air, probably bound for another alternate 20th century.

Bastable's story takes in a post-apocalyptic early twentieth century between 1904 and 1908, where Western Europe and the United States have been devastated by accelerated technological change caused by a prolific Chilean inventor, which led to a prolonged global war causing their reversion to barbarism. By contrast, South Africa. rechristened Bantustan, is ruled by President Mohandas Gandhi, has never had apartheid, and is an oasis of civilisation which stayed out of the conflict being an affluent, technologically advanced nation in this alternate, anti-imperialist twentieth century. To restore civilisation and social order in the afflicted Northern Hemisphere, a 'Black Attila', General Cicero Hood, leads an African army to beneficent if paternalist conquest of Europe and an apocalyptic war against the United States featuring the "vast, moving ziggurat of destruction" of the title.

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    Can you explain why it might match?
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 19, 2018 at 5:05

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