A BRIEF HISTORY OF MUNICIPAL DARWINISM By Deputy Head Historian Chudleigh Pomeroy
(Re-published past times form permission of the Guild of Historians.)
1: The World After The War
After the Ancients destroyed themselves inwards the Sixty Minute War, at that spot were several 1000 years when Nothing Much Happened. These were the Black Centuries. Mankind was reduced to a few 1000 individuals; scattered bands of savages who hid inwards cellars too caverns to escape the plague-winds too the poisoned rain, too survived on the canned goods they managed to dig upwards from the ruins of their ancestors’ nifty cities. It was a savage age, when life was cheap, too most people would happily receive got sold their ain children for a tin of rice pudding.
Even when the ash-clouds thinned too the Sun returned, bringing novel growth to the scorched earth, humanity was silent beset past times famines, pestilence too other types of unpleasantness. Vast upheavals too rearrangements of the Earth’s surface were underway. Whether these were due to the lingering effects of the mighty weapons which the Ancients had used inwards their war, or were only a natural process, nosotros cannot know.
What is sure as shooting is that mighty novel mount ranges arose (the Shan Guo uplands, the Deccan Volcano Maze too the Tannhauser Mountains beingness the prime number examples). At precisely about this time, alongside other nifty changes, some tearing tempest or convulsion inwards the planet’s crust caused the western edges of the isle called ‘Britain’ or ‘Uk’ to sink beneath the Atlantic, patch the North Sea drained away entirely, leaving Great Britain attached past times a land-bridge to the balance of Europe. (This was i twenty-four lx minutes catamenia to receive got nifty consequences for a miserable, ruinous metropolis called London, which clung on, barely inhabited, to a identify beside the dingy river Thames.)
2: New Shoots From The Ashes
Life inwards the Black Centuries was difficult, disagreeable too to a greater extent than oft than non pretty short, too it would live many thousands of years earlier anyone had the fourth dimension or inclination to laid nearly edifice a novel civilization. In most parts of the world, all noesis of the past times had been swept away, too human beings lived lilliputian amend than animals. Indeed, some were non really human at all, for lingering poisons from the state of war had caused mutant off-shoots of humanity to arise; primary alongside them the warlike Scriven too the sinister Nightwights. (Not only that, but a race of semi-intelligent gulls haunted the Atlantic coastlines, too inwards the northward herds of mammoth-like ‘hairyphants’ in i lawsuit to a greater extent than roamed the tundra!)
In Africa, however, where the plague-bombs too orbit-to-earth atomics had non fallen so thickly, a sure as shooting sum of learning had been preserved, too it was hither that the foremost flowers of civilisation began to bloom afresh. The so-called ‘Spring Cultures’ of Zagwa, Ogbomosho too the Tibesti Caliphate eventually grew into nifty trading cultures whose merchants too missionaries helped to restore civilisation to the balance of the world. As millennium followed millennium novel societies arose inwards Europe too South America, equally good equally inwards the remnants of Republic of Republic of India too PRC too alongside the Thousand Islands of the Pacific. Some fell past times the wayside, too nosotros know lilliputian of them forthwith beyond their names – the Raffia Hat civilisation, the Ash Boundary Culture, the Slate Bowl People. Others, similar the nifty civilisation of Shan Guo too the Mountain Kingdoms, receive got endured into modern times.
3: Of Nomad Empires too the Dawn Of Traction
In none of these novel societies did anyone elbow grease to stand upwards for the technological achievements of the Ancients. Most, indeed, prohibited scientific discipline too the edifice of complex machines, which they blamed for the disaster of the Sixty Minute War. Some, such equally the Zagwans, persecuted anyone who tried to save scientific knowledge, too destroyed whatever vestiges of the Ancient World they could find. We tin only gauge at the loss to historians which such vandalism has caused!
In the northern utilization of Europe, however, sure as shooting remnants of the old world were revered, equally nosotros tin encounter inwards those so-called machine-shrines where, inwards the depths of the Black Centuries, people prayed too made sacrifices to the battered computer-brains, toasters too automatic drinks dispensers they had flora alongside the rubble of Ancient settlements. Slowly, cultures arose which did non precisely worship the old machines, but tried to brand them operate again.
The Blue Metal Culture, the Electric Empire with their earthenware batteries too foreign electro-magnetic helixes, too the mysterious Pyramid Builders of the High Arctic were alongside them, but all were eventually swept away past times natural disasters (the frequent Ice Ages of the catamenia 10,000 to 3,000 BT), or past times the rising of the Nomad Empires, rowdy hordes of barbarians who used whatever technologies they could observe or bag inwards their endless wars with i another.
They built armies of ‘Stalkers’ or ‘Resurrected Men’, too their mobile battle-platforms too ‘traction fortresses’ receive got been seen equally the fore-runners of the Traction Cities nosotros alive upon today. One of these Nomad Empires was the Scriven, a mutant race from the high north, famous for their speckled peel too spectacular cruelty. As their numbers dwindled too the climate grew cooler they were gradually driven due south too due east out of their old strongholds inwards Siberia too flora their way at terminal to London, a squalid trading-post inwards eastern UK.
They conquered it easily, too ruled it for almost 2 hundred years. They were eccentric too tyrannical, yet nether their principle London began to thrive again. Merchants too scholars were drawn to the metropolis past times the relics from the Ancient world which scavengers dug upwards inwards nifty quantities from the soil precisely about it, too vast advances inwards noesis too technological prowess were made.
The Scriven fifty-fifty laid the Order of Engineers, a fore-runner of our present-day Guild of Engineers, to report too re-use the things they found. But the Scriven business was growing weak, too eventually they were overthrown inwards their plow during a bloody rebellion led past times the self-styled ‘Skinners Guilds’. There too then followed a brief catamenia of independence for the city, earlier novel nomad conquerors swept inwards from the north. These novel arrivals called themselves the Movement, too their arrival marks the commencement of a novel age; the Traction Era. For they were led past times the genius who would transform our city, the immortal First Helmsman Nikolas Quirke.
When the notion of Traction Cities foremost came to him, none forthwith tin say. Some legends that equally a fellow travelling aboard his nomad Traction Fortress he was visited past times a dream inwards which he saw an entire metropolis moving across the confront of the earth. Others claim that the thought had foremost been conceived past times the terminal of London’s Scriven rulers, Auric Godshawk, too that Quirke only inherited it, but few people nowadays believe that. Whatever the origin of the plan, Londoners shortly came to encounter its wisdom – specially when it was pointed out to them that a mobile London require non precisely flee its enemies; it could conquer them, too utilization their raw materials to brand itself larger, stronger too faster-moving!
Over the next few years the metropolis was torn downwardly too rebuilt inwards the shape of a gigantic vehicle, based on the linked too extended chassis of the Movement’s Traction Fortresses. These were unsafe times, for patch all Quirke’s loose energy too resources were employed inwards the rebuilding of the metropolis his nomad rivals inwards the northward hatched plots too alliances to overthrow him too accept the city’s riches for their own. The most serious of these crises was the Northern War, inwards which many competitor bands of nomads joined together too drove due south to laid on London with Stalkers, armoured mammoths too their ain traction fortresses. But Quirke’s genius defeated too obliterated them, too London moved northward to devour their sometime strongholds.
Today’s Londoners would scarcely recognise the metropolis on which their ancestors foremost laid forth. Far smaller than modern London, it rolled on wheels instead of tracks, it had no jaws yet, too its iii tiers were protected with armour too ringed with cannon too catapults. It looked to a greater extent than similar a giant-sized version of the nomads traction fortresses than a city. But inwards the hundred years that followed it was to consume most of the richer settlements inwards UK, too the raw materials it took from them were used to expand the base-plate, build the foremost tracks too add together a farther 4 tiers were added to the city, bringing the full to the 7 on which Londoners alive today.
Also at this fourth dimension nosotros encounter the beginnings of the Guild system, with the groups responsible for each aspect of London’s movements clubbing together to protect their ain interests too educate their children inwards their ain fields of expertise.
All the Guilds met together inwards council to determine on the city’s hereafter class too probable meals.
The Navigators who were responsible for steering it, too the Merchants who helped fund it rapidly came to dominate the council.
Historians, patch lacking political power, were greatly respected, for they had already begun to practise the London Museum, i of the greatest centres of learning nearly the past times since the autumn of the Ancient world, too the way past times which many Old-Tech devices receive got been rediscovered, too restored to every twenty-four lx minutes catamenia use.
(It is interesting to regime annotation that London’s engineers had real lilliputian ability at that time. Despite the fact that it was their skills which kept London moving, they were divided into modest groups; the Designers, Axle-Strengtheners, Wheelwrights, Cog-Cutters, Power-Teams, Duct-Managers etc, etc.
It would silent live several to a greater extent than centuries earlier they achieved the principle over London affairs which they presently enjoy.
4: The ‘Traction Boom’
As London increased its size too speed, too started to await hungrily at larger settlements on the far side of the old North Sea, other cities began to re-create its lead, either inwards monastic tell to escape London’s jaws, or inwards the promise of emulating its success.
At foremost Londoners were indignant at what they saw equally this poaching of their nifty idea. But Quirke-ite thinkers it thus. The Great Quirke, they said, has brought nearly a novel stage of history. From this fourth dimension on all civilised people volition want to alive aboard towns which move. Those that are rigid too swift volition consume upwards those which are deadening too weak. And inwards this way the affairs of men volition come upwards into harmony with the natural world, where the fittest survive. The theories of the Ancient philosopher Chas Darwin had of late been re-discovered inwards the library of i of the towns London had eaten, too the novel scheme was rapidly labelled Municipal Darwinism.
There too then followed the catamenia known to vulgar people equally the ‘Traction Boom’, during which cities too settlements of every size were compelled to ‘go mobile’, or to confront beingness eaten upwards past times others which had. Some added tracks similar London’s, other experimented with inflatable wheels, systems of rails, or even, inwards the instance of the short-lived Pogo-city of Borsanski Novi, some large springs. Others, meanwhile, rebuilt themselves equally rafts too took to the seas. Some, similar Airhaven too Kipperhawk, became airborne, taking wages of developments inwards aviation. Even the mountains tin forthwith live gnawed asunder past times specialised mining towns inwards search of ore. Even the icy polar wastes are traversed past times cities, too the floors of the oceans receive got choke the hunting grounds of submarine towns similar Pacifica.
Can it live long earlier Airhaven is joined inwards the heaven past times hunting cities, maybe ones capable of ascending to the real fringes of space?
The Ancients, equally anyone who has looked upwards at the nighttime heaven volition know, built homes too observatories inwards orbit. It is non inconceivable that cities may i twenty-four lx minutes catamenia evolve to hunt there, too. Like life, our cities adapt to exploit every environment.
As Municipal Darwinism spread, the static cultures shortly began to wither away. Today they last only inwards mountainous regions, such equally Shan Guo, where the warrior-monk Batmunkh founded his Anti-Traction League. In Africa the degraded remnants of the Spring Cultures silent protect their heartlands against mobile towns, but fifty-fifty with the League’s assist their territories grow smaller every year. Despite such League atrocities equally the sinking of Marseilles, most people believe firmly that moving cities are the future, too that Municipal Darwinism volition triumph. Indeed, most metropolis people nowadays imagine that it is cruel too fifty-fifty unhealthy to laid human foot upon the bare earth. In years to come, the only thing left of the old way of life volition live a few precious relics, preserved inwards places similar our London Museum.
This was a wonderful early on seek written past times Philip Reeve which gives a chip of farther insight to the world of Mortal Engines. It is written from the signal of persuasion of Chudleigh Pomery, a grapheme from the foremost Mortal Engines novel.
It’s in all likelihood non considered canon but serves equally a fair thought of how giant traction cities came to roam the globe!
Pomery is played past times veteran British actor Colin Salmon.
If you lot desire to larn to a greater extent than nearly the stories that happened during the times the seek refers, cheque out Reeve’s prequel serial which starts with the novel Fever Crumb.