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

Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die - Randall Munroe, James Foreman, K. Sekelsky, Camron Miller, John Chernega, David Michael Wharton, K.M. Lawrence, Jeffrey C. Wells, Vera Brosgol, Kit Yona, J. Jack Unrau, Jeff Stautz, Aaron Diaz, Matthew Bennardo, Yahtzee Croshaw, Douglas J. Lane, Brian Quinlan, Kate Beaton

'Machine of Death's premise is pretty great, inspired by a Dinosaur Comics gag, its about a world where a device with only a blood sample will predict how you will die. The stories all share the same premise, but don't adhere to a single universe, which helps keep the collection from getting repetitive. North also focused on stories that strayed from the obvious track. Different times, genres, themes and, of course, quality. My only overarching nitpick was that often characters would behave recklessly after getting a prediction of, say, car crash, because they assumed they wouldn't get hurt. That didn't bite them in the ass nearly often enough. It never seemed to occur to them that they could get severely hurt and/or immobilized without dying.

So, some stories were rough around the edges or simply didn't go anywhere, but I didn't mind, since I let myself skim that third. The rest are OK to very good takes on the futility of escaping death, fate and cryptic predictions.