Monday, August 11, 2014

Paula Reviews This is How You Die

Title: This is How You Die: Stories of the Inscrutable, Infallible, Inescapable Machine of Death
Editors: Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki !
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2013
How I got my hands on it: Bought it at Barnes and Noble

So a few years ago the creator of Dinosaur Comics ( published a little book called The Machine of Death. (My original review can be found: here) It was a project born out of one thing one of his characters said that fans latched onto. Fans started sending Ryan North stories based on a "machine of death" that would tell you how you would die- and no matter what- that prediction came true. If your prediction said "Old Age" you could die of old age or you could be hit by a car with an elderly driver. His little self published book reached #1 on Amazon and made it into real brick and mortar book stores. And people loved it so much there was a demand for more stories. And a board game!

MoD is one of the few books in the past few years that has really messed with how I view the world and was a total mindf**k. I was so excited to see that there was a second volume of it. The setup of the book is still the same: short stories and amazing art. And yet This is How You Die expands the idea of the Machine is some really interesting ways. In this volume- the machine isn't just a black box that takes a blood sample and gives you a sheet of paper- it can change its predictions, it can sing haunting songs, it can be used by humans to try and prevent epidemics, and my favorite: it can be an alien species that has been slowly infiltrating earth...

I think my favorite thing about this volume of stories is that where in volume one it was "here's a prediction and here's a funny/sad/poignant story about how it comes true" volume two's stories are more like "here's a prediction and here is how the person deals with it/doesn't deal with it/ tries to run from it/ comes to terms with it" somehow it has managed to mess with my head even more than the original. It's made me wonder that if I were presented with the Machine - would I want to know how I died? Would I try to run away from my prediction? 

Also the art in the volume is just plain gorgeous. So there's that.

All in all: 4.5 stars. It didn't quite get the full 5 because some of the stories left me feeling fatigued. They were all good- but some were a lot to take in and process. And that means I couldn't read the book as fast as I wanted to!


  1. This definitely sounds like an interesting concept to the books and I am almost certainly curious about the first book, although I'm not sure how I feel about the thought of it possibly changing my perspective of the world, aha.
    Glad you enjoyed this one nearly as much as the first book! And wow, they look awesome graphics.



    Seriously, it's one of the most unique concepts I've ever heard of, and it's amazing. I think they're making a third anthology, which I will BE WAITING FOR! I'm so glad you reviewed this, I was starting to think that no one besides me knew about it!


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