Machine of Death

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Machine of Death
Machine of Death.jpg
Standard cover
AuthorRyan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki, editors
Cover artistJustin Van Genderen
GenreScience fiction
PublisherBearstache Books
Publication date
October 13, 2010
Followed byThis Is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death 

Machine of Death is a 2010 collection of science fiction short stories edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki.[1] The stories featured in Machine of Death were submitted by various writers since early 2007 and all focus on a device which can accurately predict the manner in which the user will eventually die. The book became a #1 bestseller on shortly after its initial publication, and was later released online under a free license.


All of the stories featured in Machine of Death center around a device which, when provided with a blood sample, can identify the way a person will die. The machine relays this information by printing a short word or phrase, which serves as the title of each story, on a small card. The machine is never wrong, but often vague or cryptic.[1] The premise was inspired by a cartoon from Ryan North's Dinosaur Comics.[2][3]


The three editors solicited submissions, many of them from novice and unpublished or unknown writers, in early 2007. After failing to find a publisher willing to accept an anthology containing material by so many unknown authors, the editors self-published the book in late 2010.[4]

Shortly after the book's publication, the editors announced "MOD-Day", encouraging buyers to purchase the book en masse on October 26 in an effort to reach #1 on the bestseller list on[5] The effort was successful. Malki described the feat as the literary equivalent of winning the Super Bowl.[3] October 26 was also the release date of Broke: The Plan to Restore Our Trust, Truth, and Treasure by conservative Fox News commentator Glenn Beck. When Beck's book failed to reach #1 on that date, he complained that the anthology was part of a liberal "culture of death".[6]

In November 2010, the editors released the anthology under a Creative Commons Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 3.0 license.[4] Readings of stories from Machine of Death are currently being released in podcast form on the book's website. They collected submissions for a second volume from May through July 2011.[7][8]


Additional artist contributors whose illustrations are not tied to specific stories include Katie Sekelsky and Mitch Clem.


  1. ^ a b Higgins, Jim (6 February 2011). "'Machine of Death': killer stories to die for". Times Herald-Record. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  2. ^ "Machine of Death Press Kit". Machines of Death. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  3. ^ a b Simmons, Amy (28 October 2010). "Indie anthology defies literary odds". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b "About". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  5. ^ Malki, David. "MOD-Day is OCTOBER 26". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  6. ^ Eichler, Alex (28 October 2010). "Indie Sci-Fi Anthology Steals Glenn Beck's Thunder". The Atlantic. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  7. ^ Malki, David. "MOD Volume 2 Submission Guidelines". Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  8. ^ North, Ryan. "Machine of Death 2 deadline reached!". Retrieved 20 July 2011.

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