Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will DieMachine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die by Ryan North

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was turned on to this book by the first editor, Ryan North, as he is also the author of one of my favorite web comics, Dino Comics. It is a collection of submitted stories all based on the premise of a machine being invented that could use a simple blood test to predict exactly how a person would die. It was usually very short and ambiguous (e.g. “old age” could mean you literally die of old age or an old person runs you over with their car). Hundreds of people wrote short stories stemming from this idea.

I gave the book 4 stars because, as you can imagine when faced with the writings of over 30 authors, some will align with a certain reader better than others. Some stories I tore through and thoroughly enjoyed, while others were mildly interesting but didn’t quite captivate me. Some followed story lines that I could have predicted, and others took the premise in directions I never would have thought about. Altogether, it was a very enjoyable read and very interesting to see so many different takes based on such an intriguing premise.

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