Is it possible that one day all human and animal life will be replaced by robotic and mechanical forms? It may sound like a far-off possibility but perhaps it is much closer than we think…
There was once a time when wildlife was plentiful, but as the population of humankind has grown and their activities have become ever more harming to the natural world, animals no longer exist in their original form. In their place…Mechanica - human-created replacements for what has been lost.
Set in the future, the 23rd century to be exact, Mechanica explores a world that has been destroyed by humans and one in which mechanical animals have been created to replicate those that have been lost. The book is an account of what one young scientist-come-explorer discovers on her travels. Liberty Crisp was the daughter of scientific couple Herbert and Alexandra. Liberty was always destined to follow in her parents footsteps. Following a terrible attack by wild Mechanica on her homeland, Liberty escapes on the HMS Beagle. Mechanica is a recorded account of the incredible Mechanica species that she encountered on her voyage through the Orient.
Birds, insects and reptiles are all wonderfully reimagined. There are butterflies that can fly up to four hundred kilometres per hour and ones that are over one metre wide. Birds that can reach speeds of six hundred and seventy kilometres per hour and extraordinary bats that can understand humans. Snakes that weigh nearly nine hundred kilograms and can reach speeds of up to one hundred and seventy eight nautical miles per hour and wasps powered by nuclear fuel reactors. Spiders with incredible vision with a greater optical zoom than you’ll find on any camera and flies that can detect the most minute of sounds using acoustic mapping sensors.
There is a lovely nod to Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ as not all Mechanica have been a success. As species evolved there would be failures. An example being the Electric Blackbird that is too heavy to fly as a result of a mismatch in technology - the heavy Speyer framework could not be supported by the Childress power pack. I also love the brilliant wordplay on where examples of species are housed - the London Museum of Unnatural History.
Each Mechanica is presented on a double page spread. A full page colour steam-punk style illustration on one side and then detailed field notes on the opposite page including technical name, English name and a description. Quick facts are presented in a top trump style and feature stats on weight, width, speed, power source, sensors and origin.
This amalgamation of technology and animals will appeal to many readers. The world that it imagines may seem far fetched but it could in fact be a reality that may not be that far away at all. We have all been warned.
Recommended for 9+.