Machine of Death – Buy it October 26.

For some of you, this image is all you need to know.

You remember my call for submissions for this anthology, based on a Dinosaur Comic that postulated the idea of a machine that could predict how a person would die. You recall me talking about the 700 submissions we received, and how we whittled it down to 30. You’ve asked me at conventions for the last four years — “When’s Machine of Death coming out? What’s the story with that? I really want to read that book!”

The answer is: October 26. Tuesday.

For the unfamiliar, here’s a bit of the premise:

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.

The problem with the machine is that nobody really knew how it worked, which wouldn’t actually have been that much of a problem if the machine worked as well as we wished it would. But the machine was frustratingly vague in its predictions: dark, and seemingly delighting in the ambiguities of language. OLD AGE, it had already turned out, could mean either dying of natural causes, or shot by a bedridden man in a botched home invasion. The machine captured that old-world sense of irony in death — you can know how it’s going to happen, but you’ll still be surprised when it does.

There were now machines in every doctor’s office and in booths at the mall. You could pay someone or you could probably get it done for free, but the result was the same no matter what machine you went to. They were, at least, consistent.

The book contains 34 stories by folks such as me, Ryan North, Randall Munroe, Shaenon Garrity, Yahtzee Croshaw, Erin McKean, James Lafond Sutter and a bunch of other great people. The stories are illustrated by folks such as Kate Beaton, Kazu Kibuishi, Aaron Diaz, Karl Kerschl, Jeffrey Brown, Scott Campbell, Cameron Stewart, Adam Koford and just too many more people to list. (Although at that link we try.) We’re also doing an audiobook that’s narrated by folks I can’t even mention yet.

Here is the significance of October 26 specifically:

It only takes a few hundred sales in a short time to become a Number One bestseller on

So even though the book is available for purchase now, we want to concentrate all the attention onto October 26. Blog about it, tweet about it, invite your friends to the Facebook event — just spread the word that October 26 is the day to buy Machine of Death on Amazon.

We talk about the whole deal some more at the official Machine of Death site:

The simple truth is that we probably can’t compete on the shelves at Barnes & Noble alongside every other book in the world. The agents and the publishers are right; it might not work for a mass market. That’s okay. We don’t need to sell it to everyone. We don’t need to sell 100,000 copies; we don’t have the rent on a New York office to pay for.

We only need to sell it to you.

On October 26, we want to send a message that a little project dragged kicking and screaming from “crazy idea” past “it’ll never work” all the way to “By God, they actually did it” can make a big splash. We’re internet people; you are too. We want to prove to all the people who said “this will never sell” that internet people make things happen.

Here’s the link to that post explaining everything:

Here’s the book on Amazon — tack your own affiliate link on there and make a few bucks, we don’t mind:

Here’s the Facebook event.

Here’s our faces when everybody pitches in and we take the world by storm: 😀

Buy it on October 26! Spread the word! And thank you!

18 thoughts on “Machine of Death – Buy it October 26.”

  1. You CAN buy it now, but we’re asking folks to hold off UNTIL the 26th. I’ll clarify that in the post!

  2. I don’t know for sure if/when will stock the book — but I THINK the regular will ship this book to Canada & the UK!

  3. I’ll second the call for a Kindle version. Or at least a Kindle-compatible ebook version. I’m not much a paper book buyer these days.

  4. @Dan, Brandon – there’s definitely an ebook version coming very soon, we’re just concentrating on this campaign for the print edition at the moment.

  5. I live in Australia, so obvious my date will be different. What day can I buy it on in Australia, so that I conincides with the US 26th Oct?

  6. @Katie
    Australia is roughly 15-20 hours or so ahead of the US (there’s something like 6-7 time zones involved, hence the vagueness).
    So: late on the 26th (say after 10pm Sydney), or most of the day on the 27th should be fine.

  7. Is that Dylan Meconis’s work facing your story?
    If so, this is a bifecta (obviously it can’t be a trifecta with only two items!) of EPIC AWESOME.

  8. @Rachel – the piece in the picture is actually by the wonderful Jess Fink! Dylan Meconis does have a piece in the book as well though.

  9. Will: actually because of the international date line, the Australian 26th will be on the US 25th, not on the 27th.
    At least, I think that is correct.

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