Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die

4.5 52
by Ryan North
     
 

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Machine of Death tells 34 stories about people who know how they will die. The machine doesn't give the date or specifics; using only a blood sample, it just spits out a sliver of paper upon which are printed, in careful block letters, words such as drowned, cancer, old age, or choked on a handful of popcorn. The realization that we could now…  See more details below

Overview


Machine of Death tells 34 stories about people who know how they will die. The machine doesn't give the date or specifics; using only a blood sample, it just spits out a sliver of paper upon which are printed, in careful block letters, words such as drowned, cancer, old age, or choked on a handful of popcorn. The realization that we could now know how we are going to die changes the world: people became at once less fearful and more afraid. For every possibility the machine closes, it seems to open several more, with varying degrees of plausibility. Over time the machine is reverse-engineered and duplicated. Eventually there are machines in every doctor’s office and in booths at the mall. People can pay someone or perhaps get it done for free, but the results are the same no matter which machine is used — they are, at least, consistent.

Machine of Death features stories by Randall Munroe, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Tom Francis, Camille Alexa, Erin McKean, Jeff Stautz, and many others. The book also features illustrations by Kate Beaton, Kazu Kibuishi, Aaron Diaz, Jeffrey Brown, Scott C., Roger Langridge, Karl Kerschl, Cameron Stewart, and many others.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Machine of Death is a marvelous collection, riddled with intelligence, creative reach, and a frankness that makes the best use of the central gimmick." — Tasha Robinson, The Onion A.V. Club

"For an anthology that deals with the inevitability of death, Machine of Death is a lot of fun. The editors knew not to start off heavy, nor does the tone of the anthology lean too long in any direction, providing a lot of singular entertainment for the reader . . . Highly engaging, interestingly crowdsourced, and crafted with a great deal of care. You’ll be thinking about it long after you’re through reading." — Chris Greenwood, TOR.com

"The only consistent entity is the presence of the Machine of Death; the appearance of the machine, the depth of its integration into culture, and peoples’ responses to it and its predictions vary from story to story. This is both wonderful and frustrating — each story offers up a uniquely interesting take on the Machine of Death, which is impressive, but sometimes I found myself so taken in by one writer’s universe that I wanted it to serve as canon to the rest of the book. It’s not a bad complaint to have, and it’s the only one I can muster . . . The book is just too good to pass up." — Andrew Cunningham, Charge Shot!!!

"Picking just one good story in the Machine of Death anthology is like any of its characters escaping their foretold deaths — impossible." Rating: 4/4 — Christine Cabalo, Hawaii Marine

"Recalls the best writings of Harlan Ellison and Charles Beaumont and easily one of the most engaging slices of short stories I’ve had the pleasure to read in quite a long while. After all the years of picking up short story collections that inevitably disappoint, Machine of Death brought me laughs, terror and tears . . . Highly recommended." — Maurice Greenwood, Paradox Magazine

Chris Greenland
For an anthology that deals with the inevitability of death, Machine of Death is a lot of fun. The editors knew not to start off heavy, nor does the tone of the anthology lean too long in any direction, providing a lot of singular entertainment for the reader. Machine of Death is highly engaging, interestingly crowdsourced, and crafted with a great deal of care. You’ll be thinking about it long after you’re through reading.
Tasha Robinson
Machine Of Death is a marvelous collection, riddled with intelligence, creative reach, and a frankness that makes the best use of the central gimmick. While the seed idea seemingly lends itself to twist-ending stories about people who try to evade their predicted deaths, there are only a few of those; more often, the stories examine how the death-predictor machine would change the world.
Jeff VanDermeer
Personally, I found Machine of Death a lively, self-assured, and diverse read. The stories aren’t as similar as you might think from the premise, the editors have done a good job of breaking up the text with the art, and the whole enterprise has an air of subversion and energy that supports the outrageously cool way in which they managed to get the book world’s attention.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780982167120
Publisher:
Machines of Death
Publication date:
10/13/2010
Pages:
470
Sales rank:
218,278
Product dimensions:
9.14(w) x 11.32(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range:
13 Years

Related Subjects

Meet the Author


Ryan North is an author who lives in Toronto. He writes a comic strip called "Dinosaur Comics" which you can pick up in book form at your local bookstore, or which you can just read for free at Qwantz.com. They're pretty okay!

Matthew Bennardo has lived in Cleveland for the past twenty years. His stories have previously been published in Asimov's Science Fiction and Strange Horizons, among other markets. 

David Malki ! is the author of the Eisner-, Harvey- and Ignatz-nominated comic strip "Wondermark." His latest collection is Dapper Caps & Pedal-Copters, published by Dark Horse Books. He lives in Los Angeles and he likes to fly airplanes. Read his comics at Wondermark.com.

Randall Munroe, a cartoonist from southern Virginia, is the creator of the webcomic "xkcd" (xkcd.com), one of the most popular comics on the Internet. Formerly a roboticist at NASA, he now makes a living writing comics. He spends his time drawing, traveling, and training computers to beat humans at Rock-Paper-Scissors. He lives in Massachusetts.

Kate Beaton draws men in fancy hats for a living. On an exciting day she'll draw a character with epaulets. Visit her at Harkavagrant.com.

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Customer Reviews

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Machine of Death 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 52 reviews.
Melizerd More than 1 year ago
This book might sound a little morbid, and it sort of is, but it is also a collection of funny, thoughtful and surprising stories about a really interesting machine that will make you have some pretty interesting discussions with those around you! I highly recommend it!
moon781 More than 1 year ago
Stumbled upon this book entirely by accident and I was really glad I did. I hate to sound cliche, but this book really makes you think. How would you react if you found out the way you would die? Would you want to know? The individual stories are well-written and draw the reader in easily. I breezed through this book in no time. The only flaw I could see is that you get so engrossed in some of the characters that you are disappointed when the story is over and you don't know what happens to them. Definitely worth a read.
huskerfan29 More than 1 year ago
Didn't know what to expect from this book, I was just purchasing off of the concept alone. The book has turned out to be many different things all rolled into one. This book is the perfect book for readers of any genre, because it absolutely has something for everyone. I would highly recommend this book to casual readers looking for a bit more, a bit more thinking in their enjoyment.
ampersande More than 1 year ago
Picked this up in a BN store and thumbed through it, it's why I bought a NOOK! Overall a fantastic read, one that made me think every time I got to a new story. What would like be like if you knew (sort of) how you were going to die? This book will make you wonder.
JuryNelson More than 1 year ago
So many Internet celebrities means lots of different angles on a compelling premise. How do governments react to facing mortality? How do teenagers? If you like the aesthetic of our young Internet, you will love these stories.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining, quick ready and the stories varied enough to keep it entertaining, even if you hit a story you didn't like.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Started it but haven't picked it back up. Ordered book after a discussion with friends, which started with the movie (Fault of the Stars ?) and book. What would we do if we knew we were going to die from a certain illness or accident ? Felt the book was repetitive and rather silly. The book was put together by the editors who had made up a story line and had writers send a short story of what this death machine could do. Rated two stars due to writers created some wild ideas but it fell short of substance.
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I honestly found it hilarious when i was looking through the chapter names, the chapter named "death by sex with minor" was co-written by Yahtzee.
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