What is the '60 Minute War' in Mortal Engines?

02 March 2023
The Sixty Minute War was a global conflict that occurred thousands of years before the events of the Mortal Engines Quartet and the Fever Crumb Series. Its name derives from the fact that the war only lasted for an hour, due to the speed and efficiency of the weapons of mass destruction employed.

In the book and movie adaptations of Mortal Engines, a 'cold war' between various nations directly preceded the war's outbreak. The concept of mutually assured self-destruction played out, resulting in the other nations launching their own missiles in response to the first strike. The war's devastation was catastrophic, leading to a desolate Earth where the majority of humanity perished. North America became known as The Dead Continent and was believed to be inhospitable for human life.

60 minute war

Two of the weapons used in the war were the MEDUSA and ODIN, which were featured in Philip Reeve's novels. Stalker Anna Fang utilized the ODIN weapon in A Darkling Plain to great effect, going on a rampage and destroying everything in her path. Tailored virus bombs were also employed during the conflict, delivering unimaginable horror upon the population.

The Dead Continent refers to modern-day North America, which was a primary target during the Sixty Minute War. It was regarded by many as a barren, irradiated, desolate, and inhospitable land. However, Vineland, an area discovered to be habitable and sustainable in the long-term, was mentioned in the Predator's Gold novel. According to Philip Reeve, the author, the US being a 'dead continent' is highly unlikely, as it would have been reseeded with plants and animals by the time of Mortal Engines. He speculates that there may be thriving low-intensity settlements and secret airbases that have been overlooked.

If you are intrigued by this concept from Philip Reeve's book, you may be interested in his theory of municipal darwinism.


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About the author Jimmy Jangles

My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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