To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die Paperback – October 13, 2010
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
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
"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
About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
It's kind of amusing that a prominent, wealthy media "personality"--apparently peeved that a tiny bit of attention was diverted from his own book--derided this book as exemplifying a "Culture of Death." If said "personality" had bothered to actually read the book before commenting (something I learned to do in, oh, elementary school), he would have realized that these stories about life, not death. They examine the human condition: love, friendship, hope, doubt, the struggle to make the best of things the face of adversity. This is NOT a book about people who "go gentle into that good night," in the words of Dylan Thomas. It may be in small part about talking dinosaurs, however.
Machine of Death is one such creation, and one that has actually burst from the seams of the Internet and leaped into the real world. At first glance, it looks like a bunch of science fiction stories--something few people would claim to legitimately enjoy. And yet these are science fiction stories for the layman--stories that tell of high school romance, of marital troubles, of, as one reviewer put it, existential dread. They're stories that deal splendidly with the idea of the Machine of Death--a tool that tells people just how they're going to die, if vaguely--and oftentimes go far beyond the known realms of what such a machine might entail. Whether it's with a dramatic or humorous look at the Machine of Death--and this book has got both, sometimes in the same story--Machine of Death's stories, however varied, manage to do what science fiction (or just fiction in general) so rarely can, which is immerse readers wholly into their worlds. Obviously, the plot twists inherent in the idea of Machine of Death mean that I'm unable to tell of any shining moments from the stories, especially considering the massive spoilers that even a few sentences would entail--but considering that the first forty pages are available online here ([...]), you can find out for yourself.Read more ›
However, one thing bothers me. As soon as I ordered the book, a note was passed through my door by an apparently invisible force. The note simply said, EXISTENTIAL DREAD. Now, I wasn't fazed at first. Except then I was, because I started to read more stories and the machine was right in each case.
I tried to rationalize it away but it gnawed and gnawed at me. I couldn't do anything about it. The machine was like God.
I hope you enjoy this product. 5 stars for accuracy. Goodbye.
One other thing to note, these stories are not all set in the same "world". They have the same premise -- a machine exists that can tell you how you will die -- but in some of the stories the world becomes a dystopia of religious oppression and in others the machines are novelties used at dinner parties. Lots of variety, but it is sometimes jarring when a story contradicts the one before.
The writers are (mostly) brilliant and I've enjoyed many of their works, but reading this book all in one go is really difficult. I think this book is best enjoyed a few stories at a time between other books. Otherwise, being hammered with the same narrow theme over and over can get very repetitive.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating tales with a surprising amount of variability given the parameters for all the stories.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I recently re-read this and it is as poignant and funny as always - who doesn't like reading about complete social disruptionPublished 3 months ago by Evan Leybourn - Author of Directing the Agile Organisation
I loved this book, Its one of those books you just have to tell everyone about. If you like books that make you think, buy this book already. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Had to read this for Uni but I recommend this as general reading. A book that sparkles.Published 7 months ago by Yarndi