The Life of Shinke

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die

Posted on: September 8, 2014

Title: Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die

Author: Various authors

Published: 2010

Description: “The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. It didn’t give you the date and it didn’t give you specifics. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed, in careful block letters, the words DROWNED or CANCER or OLD AGE or CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN. It let people know how they were going to die.”
MACHINE OF DEATH tells thirty-four different stories about people who know how they will die. Prepare to have your tears jerked, your spine tingled, your funny bone tickled, your mind blown, your pulse quickened, or your heart warmed. Or better yet, simply prepare to be surprised. Because even when people do have perfect knowledge of the future, there’s no telling exactly how things will turn out. (Taken from Goodreads)

From the moment I saw this book in my updates feed on Goodreads I knew I had to read it. The concept was so interesting and different and I knew I would love these stories.

Fast forward two and a half years later and I have finally finished reading this amazing book. I know it seems bad that I’ve been reading a book for so long but honestly I would just read a story, put the book down and think about it for a while, it was that thought provoking. Additionally, I didn’t want to rush through this book and have each story blur into the next, so I purposely took my time.

The thing I found so amazing about this book is that each author had a completely different take on how this knowledge would affect the individual and the world. One of my favorite stories is about a world where people are separated based on their death prediction. So the people that get non-violent deaths such as cancer and heart attack are the elites and live in a paradise while the persons with violent death predictions live in slums. The government also schedules the deaths of the people in the slums, so for instance they would fill a plane with people who got “Plane Crash” predictions and schedule a plane crash to facilitate their deaths. And while this is cruel and terrible, in their world it made sense because they would cut down on people getting injured unnecessarily. Would I have ever condone this behavior, no, but I can see the logic of them wanting to do this.

While not every story is amazing, there are so many gems in there that it would be a shame not to read it for fear of not liking a few. It was such a fun and interesting look into society and the human psyche and what knowing your death might bring. There is currently a sequel out called “This is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death” and I will be picking this up pretty soon.

Have you read any of the books in the Machine of Death series?

What did you think about it?

What would you do if you knew how you were going to die?

Would you want to know?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading! 🙂


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