Sunday, 4 August 2013

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories about People Who Know How They Will Die by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki

A collection of short stories contributed by many writers in response to this comic by Ryan North. They explore the consequences of what happens if a simple machine existed which could tell people how they would die. Not when, just how and often in an ambiguous way.

This first collection seems to have a lot of entries submitted by geek celebrities from the worlds of blogging, web comics and video gaming but surprise surprise it turns out they can write and write very well. The stories have been selected to show a  broad range of implications such a death prediction machine could have. There are some common themes of course and a lot of them focus on damaging it would be for people to know in advance what will kill them. There are a lot of other clever ideas in there too though. I particularly liked the last story "Cassandra" by T. J.  Radcliffe who manages to drag in quantum mechanics and collapsing probability functions in his tale of one woman's attempt to save the world from her future.

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