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Machine of Death by Ryan North

Machine of Death

by Ryan North (Editor), Matthew Bennardo (Editor), David Malki ! (Editor)

Other authors: Camille Alexa (Contributor), John Allison (Illustrator), Kate Beaton (Illustrator), M. Bennardo (Contributor), Brandon Bolt (Illustrator)67 more, Vera Brosgol (Illustrator), Jeffrey Brown (Illustrator), Scott Campbell (Illustrator), Dalisa Chaponda (Contributor), John Chernega (Contributor), Mitch Clem (Illustrator), Danielle Corsetto (Illustrator), Chris Cox (Contributor), Ben Croshaw (Contributor), Alexander Danner (Contributor), Aaron Diaz (Illustrator), Rene Engström (Illustrator), Jess Fink (Illustrator), James Foreman (Contributor), Tom Francis (Contributor), Rafa Franco (Contributor), Dorothy Gambrell (Illustrator), Shaenon K. Garrity (Contributor), William Grallo (Contributor), KC Green (Illustrator), C. E. Guimont (Contributor), Matt Haley (Illustrator), Christopher Hastings (Illustrator), Paul Horn (Illustrator), Sherri Jacobsen (Contributor), John Keogh (Illustrator), Karl Kerschl (Illustrator), Kazu Kibuishi (Illustrator), Adam Koford (Illustrator), Douglas J. Lane (Contributor), Roger Langridge (Illustrator), K. M. Lawrence (Contributor), David Malki ! (Contributor), Les McClaine (Illustrator), Erin McKean (Contributor), Brian McLachlan (Illustrator), Kevin McShane (Illustrator), Dylan Meconis (Illustrator), Camron Miller (Contributor), Carly Monardo (Illustrator), Randall Munroe (Contributor), Nation of Amanda (Illustrator), Ryan North (Contributor), Ramón Pérez (Illustrator), Pelotard (Contributor), Brian Quinlan (Contributor), T. J. Radcliffe (Contributor), Jesse Reklaw (Illustrator), Katie Sekelsky (Illustrator), Gord Sellar (Contributor), Kean Soo (Illustrator), Jeff Stautz (Contributor), Cameron Stewart (Illustrator), Kris Straub (Illustrator), James L. Sutter (Contributor), Marcus Thiele (Illustrator), Kelly Tindall (Illustrator), Ryan Torres (Book Designer), Dean Trippe (Illustrator), J Jack Unrau (Contributor), Justin Van Genderen (Cover designer), Bartholomew von Klick (Contributor), Julia Wainwright (Contributor), Jeffrey C. Wells (Contributor), David Michael Wharton (Contributor), Shannon Wheeler (Illustrator), Kit Yona (Contributor)

Series: Machine of Death (1)

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English (23)  French (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (25)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
This (like most other short story books) took forever for me to finish. I kept reading one story and then waiting for my transit ride to finish. But that's me.

I really enjoyed it though. I loved all the different view points. Was excited to see the various recognizable names after certain stories.

My only real complaint was after about half way through, the stories started to end way more open ended. I really started to get frustrated at the lack of real conclusions.

But would recommend to others. ( )
  halkeye | Feb 4, 2014 |
Quite an interesting collection of stories about a machine that can foretell how a person will die. Some stories are better than the others but I generally liked the book and will definitely check out the second collection. ( )
  thioviolight | Feb 4, 2014 |
I agree with many of the other reviews here about the interesting diversity of the stories collected here, but also wanted to mention the artwork accompanying each story drawn by some of the most gifted webcomic talents around. Once I accepted the premise behind the machine, reading these stories made me almost feel as if I were in the world where such machines were everywhere, and I wasn't sure whether I'd like things better this way or not. ( )
  rmagahiz | Dec 21, 2013 |
Machine of Death is an anthology of stories based on the idea that there is a machine which can examine a blood sample and determine that person's cause of death. However, its answers tend to be vague or ironic, so that it's truly difficult to interpret correctly, and absolutely impossible to avoid. The concept was originally put forward by Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics. Then it took on a life of its own.

I read the book by listening to the podcast. Every story from the book is available in the podcast (though not in the same order), so the podcast is pretty much an audiobook at this point, with a few extras. Check it out. The physical book has a picture for each story. Good times.

The stories range from tragic to funny to though-provoking. One story is just a couple of sentences long. It's pretty funny in a morbid sort of way.

This book came out while I was still a librarian and I ordered it for my library. Having finally read it, I'm so glad it's in the library's collection. Hopefully the patrons there will enjoy it as much as I have. I even enjoyed the blurbs about the authors and artists. I'm very excited for the sequel, called This Is How You Die, which is out now. ( )
  Jessiqa | Dec 2, 2013 |
Interesting premise that's slightly too long for the concept. The idea for the book grew out of a webcomic blog post - what would be the consequences of knowing the cause (but not the date) of your death? This is a collection of sort and very short stories sent in by webcomic authors along that theme. The other key point is that the machines' information is cryptically short, usually only one word - cancer, old age, heart attack, bullet, car crash, but occasionally totally ambiguous, and frequently ironic. All the stories look at how a person and their immediate acquaintances respond to the readout they get.

They are very varied! both in time and outlook. Some focus on the very introduction of the machine, the initial disbelief, attempts to cheat it, or prove it wrong, others are set much further down the time line after it is well established, old hat, almost forgotten, or deeply enmeshed in society - occasionally jarring notes are caused by assumption of new technologies and societies juxtaposed with more contemporary stories. I think my favourites are the earlier stories, although the very first in the book is set in a well established society and a wonderful contrast between the practicality of a school girl - which cliche can I join - versus her parent's joy at the unusual reading. Many of the stories pick up on the occasional unusual reading and what it frequently doesn't mean.

However at 350 pages, there are a lot of stories, and the idea doesn't change much between them, after a while it becomes dull, with little new sparks to enliven them. I don't think the later stories in the book are actually any less well written than the earliest ones, but the novelty has faded by then and they are no longer as exciting.

Worth reading and dipping into for a thought about the frailty of Oracles in whatever legend they appear. ( )
  reading_fox | Aug 18, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
North, RyanEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennardo, MatthewEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Malki !, DavidEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexa, CamilleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allison, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beaton, KateIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bennardo, M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bolt, BrandonIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brosgol, VeraIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brown, JeffreyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Campbell, ScottIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chaponda, DalisaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chernega, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clem, MitchIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Corsetto, DanielleIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cox, ChrisContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Croshaw, BenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danner, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Diaz, AaronIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Engström, ReneIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fink, JessIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foreman, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Francis, TomContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Franco, RafaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gambrell, DorothyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Garrity, Shaenon K.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grallo, WilliamContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Green, KCIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Guimont, C. E.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haley, MattIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hastings, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horn, PaulIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jacobsen, SherriContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keogh, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kerschl, KarlIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kibuishi, KazuIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Koford, AdamIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lane, Douglas J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Langridge, RogerIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lawrence, K. M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Malki !, DavidContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McClaine, LesIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKean, ErinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McLachlan, BrianIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McShane, KevinIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Meconis, DylanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Miller, CamronContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Monardo, CarlyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Munroe, RandallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nation of AmandaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
North, RyanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pérez, RamónIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
PelotardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Quinlan, BrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Radcliffe, T. J.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Reklaw, JesseIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sekelsky, KatieIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sellar, GordContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Soo, KeanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stautz, JeffContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stewart, CameronIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Straub, KrisIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sutter, James L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Thiele, MarcusIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tindall, KellyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Torres, RyanBook Designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trippe, DeanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Unrau, J JackContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Van Genderen, JustinCover designersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
von Klick, BartholomewContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wainwright, JuliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wells, Jeffrey C.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wharton, David MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wheeler, ShannonIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yona, KitContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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I'm going to write the best story ever.
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Book description
Machine of Death is published under a Creative Commons license, rather than traditional copyright. The specific license is BY-NC-ND (Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 3.0 license).

Information about the creation of the book and access to podcasts of the individual stories can be found at http://machineofdeath.net

Several free ebook editions are available as well: http://machineofdeath.net/a/ebook
Haiku summary
You know how you'll die
But none of the specifics.
How does that change things?

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0982167121, Paperback)

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 thirty-four 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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:56 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"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. It didn't give you the date and it didn't give you the specifics. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed, in careful block letters, the words 'DROWNED' or 'CANCER' or 'OLD AGE' or 'CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN.' It let people know how thye were going to die"--From introduction.… (more)

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