Synopses & Reviews
The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. No dates, no details. Just a slip of paper with a few words spelling out your ultimate fate at once all-too specific and maddeningly vague.
A top ten Amazon Customer Favorite in Science Fiction & Fantasy for 2010, The Machine of Death is an anthology of original stories bound together by a central premise. From the humorous to the adventurous to the mind-bending to the touching, the writers explore what the world would be like if a blood test could predict your death.
But don't think for a moment this is a book entirely composed of stories about people meeting their ironic dooms. There is some of that, of course. But more than that, this is a genre-hopping collection of tales about people who have learned more about themselves then perhaps they should have, and how that knowledge affects their relationships, their perception of the world, and how they feel about themselves.
Features 34 stories by Randall Munroe, Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw, Tom Francis, Camille Alexa, Erin McKean, James L. Sutter, David Malki, Ryan North, and many others
Features illustrations by Kate Beaton, Kazu Kibuishi, Aaron Diaz, Jeffrey Brown, Scott C., Roger Langridge, Karl Kershl, Cameron Stewart, and many others
"Machine of Death is a lot of fun....Highly engaging, interestingly crowd-sourced, and crafted with a great deal of care. You'll be thinking about it long after you're through reading." Chris Greenland, Tor.com
"But where this collection could have merely skated by on its own cleverness, it turns out to be a lot deeper than that. A lot more intelligent. A lot less predictable." Hannah Strom-Martin, Strange Horizons
"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
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 doctors 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.
About the Author
Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki met on an Internet forum about talking dinosaurs. This book is the direct result of that and a myriad other factors. They have come a long way.