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"I am not a speed reader. I am a speed understander."
- Isaac Asimov

Traction City Gut  
  The area of a Traction City used for taking apart and consuming captured prey cities.  

Big Traction Cities preyed on smaller ones; a captured city was "consumed" in the Gut.

The Gut was where London dismantled the towns it caught; a stinking sprawl of yards and factories between the Jaws and the central engine rooms. Tom loathed it. It was always noisy, and it was staffed by workers from the lower tiers, who were dirty and frightening, and convicts from the Deep Gut Prison, who were worse. The heat down there always gave him a headache and the sulfurous air made him sneeze and the flicker of the argon globes that lit the walkways hurt his eyes. But the Guild of Historians always made sure some of it staff were on hand when a town was being digested, and tonight he would have to join them and go about reminding the tough old foremen of the Gut that any books and antiques aboard the new catch were the rightful property of his Guild and that history was just as important as bricks and iron and coal.
From Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve.
Published by EOS in 2003
Additional resources -

Recycling meets Municipal Darwinism.

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