Author Archive

Review: Machine of Death

Posted: November 9, 2010 by iggyceltic in Cthulhu lives

There is a Machine that can predict all deaths based on a sampling of your blood. It could write out things like: “Old Age”, “Almond”, “Flaming Marshmallow”, or “HIV from Improperly Sterilized Machine of Death”. Now, the thing about the Machine is that it likes to do ironic deaths for the given card. So “Old Age” could mean that you got run over in the street by a 90-year-old man. But, given that leniency, the machine is never wrong.

The book itself is a collection of short stories and artwork by some of the more well-known comic artist on the internet. Mitch Clem does the artwork for one of the stories, Ryan North came up with the original idea and has a few stories of his own. But there are also stories from lesser known writers that submitted their story to be included in the book.

Each story in the book takes place in an entirely separate universe. In one of the stories getting your death might be a right of passage into the bigger world, where the Music Industry looks for those with “tragic” deaths that will be sure to sell records after the singer is dead. Others the machine is seen as something not to be trusted, but employers force their employees to take the test to determine benefit packages. Some of the stories make it seem like the machine is truly all-knowledgeable about one’s death, while there are a few where it seems to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whichever way the author takes there story, there is always one common theme. No one knows how exactly the machine works, all it takes is a blood sample and accurately spits out your death.

Each story is unique and none of the stories will take you a great deal of time to read. But, despite that, some of the stories will keep you thinking about them well after you actually read them.

One of the few criticisms of the book that I have is that quite a few of the stories you want to read more, you want to read a full book on the topic. Even that isn’t a true criticism, just a desire for a continuation on a couple of themes from a few of the stories. Maybe in a bit more time some of the authors realize that they want to continue to explore their universe that they created and will produce longer stories or even novels on them.

One of the other noteworthy things. On October 26th 2010, the creators of the book planned an Amazon bombing on purchases of the book. It rose all the way to number one. Preventing John Grisham from claiming the number one spot. But better off, prevented Glen Beck’s just released book from being one of the top two books. So, not only did an indie book top the Amazon sales charts, it also prevented one of the biggest blow-hards in politics from claiming he is one of the best writers in America.

As a background of what I’ve been reading lately, over the last couple months I have read all of the Dune series, except for a few of the new ones. Which piqued my interest in the book beyond what it might have normally been and I am glad I did. I cannot recommend this book enough. If you ever thought it would be interesting to know the cause of your own death, then this book would definitely fit your fancy. So if you can spare the money go order the book or a digital version of it. If you can’t, find the website for the book and download the free PDF.