The Traction Codex

A couple of years ago I spent a very pleasant few days with Jeremy Levett in Bristol, coming up with something called The Traction Codex. It's a sort of encyclopaedia/history of the World of Mortal Engines, featuring all those things you Always Wanted To Know But Could Never Be Bothered To Ask, like, how did Airhaven get airborne? Why do the cities use heavier-than-air fighters while the Green Storm stick to airships? Who was Red Loki? etc, etc.  We've also added some details which never made it into the books, like the alarming sport of 'Traktionturnieren' or civic jousting...
If you've bought an e-book edition of the Mortal Engines books recently you may have found The Traction Codex attached to it as a sort of appendix, but if you already own the books and still want to look at the Codex, your luck is IN: it's now available separately on Amazon (UK).  It even features a few illustrations by yours truly, like the turnierenstadts above, or this one of Batmunkh Gompa:

Because of the way it's been bundled up with the books, it proved quite tricky to write - we had to leave a lot of details because we wanted to avoid spoilers for people who might be referring to the Codex while reading Mortal Engines, and wouldn't want to learn what happened to characters in the later books.  So it's by no means a complete guide, but I'm pleased with the way it turned out; Jeremy was able to provide some rather elegant escape-routes from the logistical corners I'd painted myself into while writing the books, and it was nice to have a chance to expand the Mortal Engines world a bit without writing a whole 'nother novel - as much as I'd still like to do that too...  I'd also like to come back to the Codex in a year or so, add a lot more entries, and publish a paper version with extra illustrations, but whether I'll ever have the time and energy we can only guess.

In the meantime, The Traction Codex is a snip at only 85p, and it's available HERE.

EDIT: I didn't realise that Kindle books have 'regions' like DVDs. This version of The Traction Codex won't be readable if you're in the USA (and if you're anywhere outside the UK it's probably best to check that it will be compatible before you splurge 85p on it). Hopefully Scholastic will one day make a US version available too.

(NB: As with the current UK editions of the Mortal Engines books, the cover is pretty repellant: I had no control over that, and can only apologise. It also very shabbily fails to credit my indispensable co-author, Jeremy Levett.)


Anonymous said...

See what you mean about the cover - ugh. However, looking toward to breaking open the Codex tonight!
Looking forward to next Fever Crumb installment!

Tim Knight said...

I'm planning to get an iPad in a couple of months' time and now know what my first eBook purchase will be.

It's a shame it's not available in print (to line up on 'Mortal Engines' shelf), but I guess it's probably not economical to produce that way. Although it would make a nice little book like the charity Harry Potter books that came out a few years ago (The Guide To Quidditch etc)

Thomas said...

Oh no! Only Predator's Gold has a passable cover - the others are abhorrent!
I hope the rest of us without a Kindle get a chance to see the codex soon!

John Fulton said...

Have you considered doing a Kickstarter to produce a printed edition? I bought the Kindle version, but the first thing my other half said when I showed her was "Is there a printed version?" - I'm sure she's not alone in being an ebook refusenik.

You could probably do a print-on-demand version at Lulu - that way you'd have full control over the cover and layout, too.

Philip Reeve said...

Thanks all! John, I'm looking into options for doing a printed edition - if only to make sure the pictures aren't wasted (I did them really big, in accordance with the dimensions I was given, but they've been reduced to tiny little blurs). I think I could probably fund a small print-run without doing a kickstarter, but of course it's not just the time and hassle involved in getting the thing ready for publication, there's then the ongoing time and hassle of selling it and mailing copies to buyers etc - I have several writing projects on the go at the moment, so I'm not sure I have the time to become a publisher/bookseller as well!

John Fulton said...

Whichever way you decide to proceed, I hope we do see a printed edition. These pictures are too good to be wasted. I noticed I can double-tap on the picture in the Kindle app on my Nexus tablet to view a larger version - but it looks like it's just a zoomed-in view of the low-resolution image.

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