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not going to happen, we don’t need to worry about nuclear war at all, but what we need to worry about is in the future everyone’s going to have the means to broadcast their own lives. They’re all going to become broadcasters and they’re going to become obsessed with broadcasting to everyone else the minute detail of their everyday lives. And he wasn’t a technologist in any way, he didn’t see the internet coming, he was imagining people with little sort of home TV stations, video tapes, but he’s absolutely right, psychologically. He really understood where we were going.’


Before we finish, I am bound to ask him how he feels about his novel, Mortal Engines, being turned into a film, which is being directed by Peter Jackson.’It’s very good. I got to go down to New Zealand in the spring and meet some of the actors - they’ve finished now, finished shooting, all the live action, and now the 18 months of post-production are under way, large chunks of it are going to be CGI, and very state of the art CGI, so it’s not quick. So yes, we hope for the best. I think it’s going to look very good, judging on the sets I saw, and going round the costume department and going round the art department, where they have concept art for every scene pinned up. It looks remarkably close to how I imagined it really. I think it’s going to be great. What difference it makes to my life I don’t know really. We’ll see.’


Railhead and Black Light Express are published by Oxford Children’s Books.


Philip Womack is an author and critic. His latest novel The King’s Revenge is published by Troika Books and concludes the Darkening Path trilogy.


Books for Keeps No.226 September 2017 19


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