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The comic narrative strategies that Reeve uses in Mortal Engines set it apart from the bulk of deeply serious, starkly pessimistic science fiction for young readers. Sambell illustrates how Reeve eschews the oppressive admonitory tone of the dystopian genre, by playfully and humorously carnivalising the future instead. She argues that this innovative approach allows him to critique and subvert the polluted adult world in a manner that is not at odds with the desire to offer young readers optimistic possibilities within the post-catastrophe novel. A new style of didacticism is achieved, based upon an emancipatory model of child-adult relations.