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This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death Paperback – July 16, 2013


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This Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death + Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die + What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for THIS IS HOW YOU DIE:

"THIS IS HOW YOU DIE is a brilliantly addictive book that reads like a series of existential, death-obsessed Twilight Zone episodes. It's a book that can somehow make "brain toxoplasmosis" jump right off the page. It's fun and twisted, but also surprisingly deep and almost meditative in parts. Very highly recommended." -Seth Grahame-Smith, New York Times bestselling author of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Unholy Night

"This volume takes the already cool concept and pushes it in dozens of fantastic new directions." -Brandon Sanderson, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn trilogy and Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series

Praise for Machine of Death:

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

"Recalls the best writings of Harlan Ellison and Charles Beaumont.... Machine of Death brought me laughs, terror and tears....Highly recommended."
--Paradox Magazine

About the Author

Matthew Bennardo is a writer and editor from Cleveland. His short fiction has been appearing in print and online for over a decade, with pieces in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Daily Science Fiction, Shimmer, among others.

David Malki ! is the Los Angeles-based author of Wondermark, a comic strip available online and in collections from Dark Horse Books, one of which was nominated in 2009 for the Eisner Award (the highest honor in comics) for "Best Humor Publication." He also holds the distinction of having written the longest article ever published by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Ryan North is the Toronto-based author of the online Dinosaur Comics, one of the internet's most popular comic strips. He's also currently the writer of the Adventure Time comic book from BOOM! Studios, based on the television show.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 16, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455529397
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455529391
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
79%
4 star
16%
3 star
6%
2 star
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See all 70 customer reviews
This is a great collection of very smart, funny, thoughtful stories.
mayville
It's hard to sit and read this book because it just makes me want to go and write!
Zack
I love the composition of many stories that were written by different authors.
Yatesatey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Kenton Johnston on July 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to say, t's been a long time since a story drove me to tears. the last time was when I saw My Dog Skip in theaters as a kid. Or it was, until I opened my mailbox today and read one of the fine selections contained in this book. I'm not going to do my usual binge-read of the rest of this book. This is going to be savored.

Whether you've read Machine of Death or not, this is an excellent buy. I can't wait to read the second story tomorrow.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Rich H. on July 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Being the second collection of short stories themed around a horrific little machine that, given a sample of your blood, tells you how you are going to die.

And it's never, ever wrong.

There are a couple of jokers in the deck, of course. It tells you *how* you will die, but not *when*. Also, the invariably-capitalized Machine of Death is an Oracle in the classical sense: its predictions always come true, but are usually open to interpretation and often more than a little ironic. Example: the Machine predicts you will die from "GUNSHOT WOUND," but it turns out that that fatal wound comes from a hang-fire from the gun you're using to try to kill the person you think is going to shoot you. It's a weird but brilliant concept, and the various authors have a lot of fun with it in this book.

The stories in the first MoD collection dealt mostly with the Machine's impact on peoples' lives (and deaths,) and the often darkly hilarious situations that arose from *sort-of* knowing how one would depart this world. This time around the authors take a more sober, insightful look at the societal and practical potential of the Machine's predictions: "The Test" as a teenage rite of passage; collecting and exchanging prediction slips like trading cards (and the terrifying consequences of trying just a bit too hard to gain peer cred by obtaining a truly unique slip); how the job description of your average workaday assassin changes when he can't simply shoot his targets dead anymore; and lots, lots more.

And it *works*. Both collections are worth reading, but the stories in this one are consistently better written, more interesting and thoughtful, if not quite as funny (although it does have its moments.) These are not just good MoD stories, these are good stories, period. Five stars.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
"This Is How You Die" edited by Matthew Bennardo , David Malki and Ryan North is a collection of stories and comics about a world where machine with 100% certainty is able to predict how someone will die. It will need just a little drop of your blood and you will get paper with "Old Age" or "Cancer" written on it without any further details, most importantly when.

This is sequel of very successful "Machine of Death" anthology where the concept of the predicting machine was introduced. But this collection is even better than the last one, because all the writers interpret the idea differently making their worlds around this central idea but with more creativity and few surprises.

The stories are really diverse; some have literary style although for few you will not be sure how to categorize them - in one or more specific genre - as mystery, humor, romance, philosophy, SF... Also main characters are music stars, school kids, police officers, French aristocrats, even aliens.

Beside unusual and very interesting idea, this book is richly illustrated by some of the most famous names in comic world, Aaron Diaz, Braden Lamb. Lexxy Douglass, Carla Speed McNeil to name a few. As bonus, the book also contains exclusive comics made by Kris Straub, Ryan Pequin, Anthony Clark and KC Green. Those familiar with comics will recognize their names.

In the end it's interesting asking ourselves question if a machine could predict how we would die, would we really want to know?

If you want some different reading experience based on intriguing idea, be sure to read "This Is How You Die", you'll enjoy it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rich on August 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you read the first Machine of Death book, stop reading and buy this one. It's as good if not better with more twists and turns that we loved in the original.

If you haven't read the first Machine of Death book, stop reading and go buy it. Now. Then come back and buy this one.

If you are still reading this I assume you read both already and you know what I am talking about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PAUL MCNEIL on September 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
At any given time, I'm reading a small pile of books, but I generally have a short story collection or non-fiction anthology in that pile, giving me something to digest in small chunks here and there as the need arises. I nibble here and there over months, sometimes stalling out completely for a bit before coming back. I love short stories, and feel they don't get the respect they deserve, but at the same time it is true that most collections, whether from one author or many, do not maintain the highest level of quality. In novels we can see how these slower or lesser bits are part of the whole, and muscle through, but with a collection of independent pieces, they can kill the momentum in an otherwise great book.

Well, I bring this up for the simple reason that it does not apply here. This is How You Die is about as much fun as you can have with a short story collection- dozens of looks into different worlds, but all of them sharing one thing- a Machine of Death that can spit out an infallible and unavoidable prediction of how you will die, but not with a when or details. This little idea offers up, it turns out, endless ways to approach mortality, loss, and fate, which would have been enough to be entertaining, but what I found here was a lot more. The first story made me realize, as I teared up a little, that there would also a lot about life and love, and as I went on I found humor, genre riffing, and just a whole lot of awesome. There are sci-fi stories, a children's book, a choose-your-own adventure, adventure, and quiet moments of contemplation. It's all over the place, but the central idea and the consistently high quality tie it all together. Some stories reminded me of The Twilight Zone, with well-earned twists, while others were downright meditative.
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