Bill's Reviews > Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die

Machine of Death by Ryan North
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Mar 27, 2011

it was amazing

Disclaimer before I begin my review: I am a self-professed webcomic nerd, so I really got to enjoy the simple act of reading a lot of authors that I knew writing some sparking existentialist prose. That is probably the driving factor in what drove this book from a four star to a five star in my eyes.

Having said that, I was almost caught off guard with this book. I knew all about it, I'd heard plenty (mainly by following Ryan North on Twitter) about the book, the idea behind its conception, and its eventual publication. What surprised me was just how beautiful some of the stories were. I am about the last person on earth who would think to describe a book titled "Machine of Death" beautiful, but the way some of the stories approached the question of impending death was really honestly beautiful. Right off the bat, the story by Camille Alexa just yanked at my heartstrings - to the point that about four times throughout the course of reading this collection, I went back and re-read it because it hit me that hard.

I do agree with some of the critiques that collecting this many works that are thematically linked can be a bit tedious if you're sitting and reading them at length, but to people who had that critique, I must mention: it's a short story collection! It's made to be picked up and put down at your leisure. Personally, I found it perfect for keeping on the nightstand for a pre-sleep read, however, there were a few nights that I lay there as I was trying to fall asleep that the philosophical questions swirled around my head, and I wondered how I'd deal if I were face-to-face with the prediction of my demise.

All in all, it was just a delightful read, collecting some wildly talented and often overlooked authors. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this collection to damn near everyone I know.
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Reading Progress

March 27, 2011 – Started Reading
March 27, 2011 – Shelved
March 27, 2011 –
page 22
March 30, 2011 –
page 228
April 9, 2011 –
page 406
April 11, 2011 – Finished Reading

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