Traktionstadts, a Mortal Engines Questionnaire & Steampunk in Doncaster

Here’s a fine digital sketch by Kaek J Kaekington of the armoured cities of the Traktionstadtsgeselleshaft from Infernal Devices / A Darkling Plain, looking very much as they did in my mind’s eye when I was writing those books.

It’s always nice, and kind of strange, to see someone using my stuff as a springboard for paintings, models or animations, so I was pleased to hear from Carrie Louise Jones, who contacted me via my Facebook page to say:

Hello everyone!! I’m an art student from the UK currently carrying out a final project, where I have chosen to produce conceptual design and illustration for Mortal Engines. I have produced a short questionnaire for fans of the book to complete, which is accessible through my blog. I would love fans of the book, and perhaps Philip Reeve himself, to help me with this project as I am extremely passionate about illustration and the Mortal Engines books.

Thank you very much 🙂 All help is appreciated.

You can find Carrie’s questionnaire here: there are already some good responses.  (I’m fighting off the temptation to fill it in myself, but I think people might be less likely to give their own opinions about how things look and what they mean if I’d been on and given my own answers.) 
Also on the Facebook page, Candice Foers-Bates got in touch to let me know about a new steampunk festival which will be taking place in Doncaster on the 15th and 16th June this year.  I have my doubts about steampunk, as you may know (I think I’ve decided that it makes a nice seasoning, but not much of a dish), but Steampunk Doncaster looks as if it will be be fun. I’m afraid it’s too far for me to go (I have commitments in the south around the same time) but hopefully it will be such a huge success that it will become a fixture of Doncaster life and I’ll be able to attend in future years.

Predator Cities re-published in the U.S.A

For various reasons Mortal Engines and its three sequels (or The Predator Cities Quartet, as they are now collectively called) have been unavailable for the past couple of years in the U.S.A.  During that time I’ve had lots of e-mails and facebook queries from American readers wondering how they can get their hands on them.

Now, at long last, I can give them an answer which doesn’t involve second hand copies or expensive imports, because in June 2012 Scholastic will be releasing these snazzily-jacketed new paperbacks:

There’s an interesting disjuncture between the first two and the last two covers (though maybe that’s a reflection of the books themselves). The first two echo the heavily decorative, steampunk-y covers of the US editions of Fever Crumb and A Web of Air, which is fine (the U.S Fever Crumb (right) is one of my favourite covers ever) but I think Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain are a great new approach, full of atmosphere and detail,  and hinting at the landscapes and action within.  And I love the way that the symbols which David Wyatt designed for the Lost Boys and the Green Storm have found their way onto the Limpet’s nose and the controls of that flying machine…  
I guess that, as books which are nearly ten years old, the Predator Cities Quartet may not be piled high on booksellers’ front tables, or widely advertised, but they should be available from bookstores and all the usual online sellers as of next week.  Please spread the word!