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9 Reviews
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 15 Feb 2011
By 
Jonathan Jacobs (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I'm not generally a big fan of short story collections, but this one is different. They're all beautifully held together by the one absurd premise - that a machine can predict the manner of your death.
I do think the price here is a bit steep, however. After downloading the sample, I realised that there is a free pdf version available. The kindle isn't great at displaying pdfs, but I found it was less of a problem for short stories!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Collection of compelling short stories based on a grim yet fascinating idea, 10 Jan 2013
By 
L. N. Carter - See all my reviews
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The machine of death is a compilation of short works from a huge range of authors centred around the idea: "What if there was a machine that could predict how you die?" - The catch being that the machine only gives an often cryptic clue as to the cause with no time or specific circumstances but is always right. If you are comfortable with the grim subject matter then I would thoroughly recommend this.

The stories range from the macabre to the amusing and in some cases uplifting and show the broad range of imagination used by the various authors when interpreting the premise and how it would impact the lives of normal and not so normal people. It is difficult to further review the book due to the amount of different authors other than to say that I couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating premise, 25 Feb 2012
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The simple but fascinating premise of all these stories is that a machine exists which can sample your blood and then predict how you are going to die: not in great detail, but just in an all-caps short sentence or even single word such as CANCER or DROWNING or SHOT BY SNIPER or VEGETABLES or IMPROPERLY PREPARED BLOWFISH or even TORN APART AND DEVOURED BY LIONS. All of those are story titles from this collection which ranges in tone from deeply satirical to the sweet and touching, via some full-blown dystopias and works of brilliantly funny black comedy.

How would life be different if you knew how you were going to die (or thought you did)? These stories look at every aspect of society: teenage cliques based on how cool your predicted death is; unemployed astrologers who no longer have a trade to peddle; dinner party games matching the prediction to the guest; fearless pilots who fly dangerously knowing that a crash is not how they are fated to go. The style of writing varies tremendously and some stories feel more professional than others but there's a fascinating range of responses here and overall this is a thought-provoking and entertaining collection. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic mixture of tales, 20 Aug 2011
By 
J. Perry "Grubbyfoot" (Bristol UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die (Paperback)
Thoroughly enjoyed this from start to finish. Though there are some truly heartbreaking stories, you shouldn't be fooled by the morbid title; there are just as many uplifting, funny or dramatic tales too. The best thing I can say about a book is that it gets your mind buzzing, and every one of these stories had me gazing out beyond the story, into the world implied by the protagonits and extrapolated from the common thread. Tales concerning prophecy traditionally have a twist at the end ("from the womb untimely ripped") and this concept is played with again and again, but the different authors and outlooks prevent this from becoming stale. Very excited for the sequel!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 20 July 2014
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die (Paperback)
I liked the story lengths in this collection; a nice size to read in a chunk. The concept is a fascinating idea and I liked the approach each author made with their story. In a collection it is often to difficult to love every single story and this was the case in this one for me; there were one or two I didn't enjoy as much as the others and one I ended up skipping through completely. Although they are separate stories I did feel like they linked well as there always seemed to be references made that I'd picked up before in someone else's story. I'd imagine in a physical book as opposed to the kindle that the illustrations would be excellent but even in the kindle they were good. All in all it is a book I'm pleased I came across.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun to read, really interesting concept, 12 Aug 2013
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A great collection of stories about death, some sad but mostly funny stories, all of them worth reading! Very happy to recommend this to anyone looking to read something a bit different
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept, 28 May 2013
By 
Hemzy (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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A good collection of stories. As always in a collection, some were better than others but the concept was interesting and the book is worth reading. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short story collection, 30 Nov 2010
By 
Suman Eugen Costin (Bucharest, Romania) - See all my reviews
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An incredible journey into a world which is different than ours by only one thing. There's a death machine that tells you how you die. Vaguely. This premise is great for a TV show also, and I urge the authors to try an sell such a script.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, but in urgent need of editing, 28 April 2011
By 
Cristobal Lander "crislander" (Florida, USA) - See all my reviews
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This book originated from a webcomic that proposed what a world would be like if a machine could predict how you'd die. A collection of writers chipped in, some coming from the webcomic scene, others coming from all over the internet, and the result was 34 thought provoking reads.

However, as the premise was simple, each writer decided to fill in the blanks of the world for their own story. This caused that the stories lack cohesion, each story has a very different take on the machine and the world around it, and after a while, it starts getting annoying. In one story the machine is the size of a shoe box, and in another it is the size of a soda vending machine. In one story nobody under 16 is allowed to take the test, while in another newborns are tested automatically. In nearly all stories the death prediction is exactly the same regardless of how many times you get tested or which machine you use, yet in another story it is stated that sometimes you can get a different, more accurate prediction if you repeat the test enough times. And there are several more instances of this. It gets jarring after a while, and adding a layer of editing or more accurate premises for the writers would've benefited the overall stories greatly.

This, however, should not be a deterrent. The Machine of Death is a great read, and is highly recommended.
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