Machine of Death – Book Review

Machine of Death

Edited by: Ryan North, David Malki ! & Matt Bernardo
Published by: Bearstache Books

Imagine a world where there’s a machine that–given a simple drop of blood–will tell you how you’re going to die. This is a supposition originally posed by T-Rex in the popular web comic, Dinosaur Comics. The simple question sparked the imagination of people across the internet ultimately culminating in a volume of short stories entitled Machine of Death.

The editors of this anthology–Ryan North, David Malki ! and Matt Bernardo–sifted through over 700 stories and chose thirty-four to be included. Various cartoonists from around the internet contributed a unique illustration to each story, including John Alison (Bad Machinery), Kris Straub (Starslip) and Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant). The book was brought to my attention since I am a fan of both of Malki ! and North’s respective online comics (Wondermark and the aforementioned Dinosaur Comics). On October 26th, the editors had a push on Twitter and on various websites to get Machine of Death to hit the number one spot on the Amazon book list. Unbeknownst to them, Glenn Beck’s new book, Broke, was released that same day…but Machine of Death managed to beat it. This, however, only served to upset the Beckster. He called the success a result of America turning towards a “culture of death” and released his minions to thwart the indie book–that insolent little tome with no publishing house or major figures behind it. My favorite part of the story is when–after that point–Glenn Beck’s producers contacted the crew and requested some copies of Machine, once again proving that Glenn Beck ran his mouth without knowing what he was talking about.


Happy Birthday, Ambrose Bierce

Ambrose Bierce

Here we have the story that inspired myriad others, including Jacob’s Ladder and of course, this adaptation which later appeared as part of The Twilight Zone.

Direct link for the feedreaders.

Update: Took me a bit to find it. From Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary:

The first and direst of all disasters. As to the nature of it there appears to be no uniformity. Castor and Pollux were born from the egg. Pallas came out of a skull. Galatea was once a block of stone. Peresilis, who wrote in the tenth century, avers that he grew up out of the ground where a priest had spilled holy water. It is known that Arimaxus was derived from a hole in the earth, made by a stroke of lightning. Leucomedon was the son of a cavern in Mount Aetna, and I have myself seen a man come out of a wine cellar.


Dollar Dreadful: Sort of Like Dollar General, But Totally Different

Dollar Dreadful snippet: Archibald Grey

Brass Goggles points out that penny dreadfuls are on their way back in, but now it’s Dollar Dreadful (thanks to inflation). There’s previews online now and the full online shop will be hitting soon, they tell us, and it looks like a veritable hoot. How can you resist stuff with titles like “Octavious Watt and His Pneumatic Bride” and “Archibald Grey,” who has a Skeleton Key which opens everything, including a way into the land of the dead? Answer: you cannot.

We’ll try to yell when the shop goes live.