In Mortal Engines, the Sixty Minute War devastated civilisation as we know it, leaving most 'old tech' completely inoperational. Yet, despite the collapse of technology as we know it, they managed to do something that literally could not be done today: put cities (most astonishingly, London!) on giant traction treads.

In other words, the paradox is:

Today: Lots of resources and tech. Literally could not do traction cities if we tried.

Traction Era: Minimal resources and tech. Has traction cities.

Is there an in-universe* explanation for this?

*(The out of universe explanation is obviously rule-of-cool)

  • 1
    Because the book is set thousands of years into the future, when the technology to lift and mobilise cities is more readily available?
    – Valorum
    Dec 10 '18 at 0:33
  • @Valorum - But only that survived, and not all the more useful stuff?
    – Adamant
    Dec 10 '18 at 3:03
  • @Adamant - Assuming you had access to meta-materials, the only barrier to lifting a city would be engineering and money
    – Valorum
    Dec 10 '18 at 7:26
  • @Valorum. But we couldn't make a city capable of the same acceleration that "London" is capable of. Dec 10 '18 at 22:51

"Necessity is the mother of invention" combined with the fact that the 60 Minute War probably starts 1500 or more years in our future. Given our current rate of technological advancement we can only guess what another millennium and change will bring. I'd also argue we do have the materials and engineering technology to build something like a traction city in the modern world. We couldn't get something like that to move, let alone do so at speed, but we could build it given enough money, materials, and motivation (of which we have none whatsoever).


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