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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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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."
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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Top customer reviews
The collection opens with the heartbreakingly brilliant Old Age, Surrounded by Loved Ones by 'Nathan Burgoine. Burgoine is now on my list of go-to writers that I know will deliver a great story; I have yet to be disappointed. Also, the story wasn't what I expected at all; Burgoine has written an emotional story about sisters that will require tissues after reading it. If you're not teary eyed after this, then you have no heart to break.
Execution by Beheading by Chandler Kaiden is a thriller that features three children who, upon hearing a rumor about someone who is different, go to extremes to collect a rare "Cause Of Death" card from their machine...
Apitoxin is a very clever spin on the book's premise by John Takis, who places his tale right in the hands of none other than Sherlock Holmes. Apitoxin is both a wonderful tribute to the famous detective and a well written mystery that was great fun to read.
Monsters from the Deep, editor David Malki !'s contribution to the anthology, is a weird, creepy tale complete with aliens and a delightful Lovecraftian atmosphere.
Lake Titicaca by editor Matthew Bennardo instantly reminded me of The Body and Goonies, with kids a little afraid of what they're doing but too excited not to go off and have an adventure.
Be warned: This Is How You Die is indeed a long book but the stories are so varied and encompass so many genres that you will continually be pulled along to keep reading, unwilling to put the book down. And with a collection like this, that is exactly what you want; great story after great story that keeps you glued to the page til the last sentence is read.
Then you start over again.
This book does play on the fears of our own mortality and asks the million dollar question of if you could know how you were going to die would you want to? For me, no I really don't think i would, but the authors in these stories struggle with that question in a believable manner and many different paths were taken. Some chose to know, some ultimately didn't. Some fought their inevitability, some surrendered to it, which is a lot like facing down death from what I've seen in those I've known who knew via illness that their clock was winding down.
The simple premise is that a machine will tell you how you will die but not when or where. And while there are a few loopholes, for lack of another term, in the vagueness or off the wall possibilities, it's inevitable, like death itself, that the line printed on your card is true and unavoidable.
I can say for myself that I as great as this book was, and as much as I recommend it, I couldn't plow through it. The subject matter is pretty dark even if the authors handle it differently, and even though there is humor, along with the suspense and horror, some of the themes are universal and some very true to life. There are stories in here that made me laugh, and made me cry. A few like the one of the mirror twins, has stuck with me weeks after I read it, and goes down as one of my favorite short stories of all time. So I had to read a story or two here and there versus reading it in one sitting or even inside of one week. Your milage may vary, but even though as I've said the authors do a fantastic job, it's heavy subject matter when we're talking about death and it's inevitability.
Highly recommend this one. One of the best anthologies I've ever come across. I don't think you'll be disappointed if short stories and/or theme based anthologies are your thing.