Monthly ArchiveNovember 2010

Updates 08 Nov 2010 05:15 pm

Reviews are coming in: You like it!

Besides all the Amazon hoopla, besides Glenn Beck and everything else, only one thing matters: is this book any good? We ourselves are very proud of it, but to be honest, after reading and re-reading this manuscript over the course of years, we have somewhat lost our objectivity. That’s why it’s tremendously, tremendously gratifying to see tweets such as these:

@natosaichek I bought 3 copies, and now I’ve downloaded the free PDF! Can’t get enough #MachineofDeath.

@jenniferbrozek Also, started reading “Machine of Death” edited by North, Bennardo and Malki. It is an amazing collection. Got it for free, going to buy it.

@treelobsters My 12-year-old finally relinquished control of #MachineOfDeath. I never had this problem when he was into Dr Seuss.

@LordCleverpork I want to thank @malki, @ryanqnorth, and all the contributors to #machineofdeath. It was a wonderful, and amazingly varied, read.

And Amazon reviews such as these:

I remember wishing when I read the original Dinosaur Comics comic that started it all that the book would be made. As a fan of science fiction short stories, I couldn’t have been more impressed. The many authors’ various idea[s] on such a world and society’s changes are astoundingly brilliant, witty, and imaginative. I have yet to read a more brilliant collection of stories, thanks in large part to the amazing concept they are all based on. The ideas of possible uses for such a machine are incredible… I can already tell this is going to be my favorite book for years to come. I read the first few stories aloud to my twin sister, numerous friends have asked to borrow it when I’m done, and I’ve recommended it to pretty much everyone I’ve talked to since picking it up.

I read the paperback version a few days ago, and it was great. I disliked only 1 or 2 of the stories in the entire book, which is quite the feat for an anthology like this. There’s a story in here for everyone, and all are well-written. The editors did a great job, and the artwork is a great touch.

The concept is great, and it is amazing how each author takes a unique look at how a Machine of Death would affect life. The book ranges from pure comedy gold to incredibly inspirational stories to intensely debate- and thought-provoking ideas. Machine of Death is a new favorite of mine.

This is it, guys. This is what we were after. This is what we were trying to prove to the publishers all those years. We’re so glad you like it — this whole enterprise isn’t about marketing gimmicks or bestseller-lists, really. It’s about getting all this great work by incredibly talented authors into the hands of people who will enjoy it. Thank you for helping us make that happen.

Here are some more reviews we’ve found. We’re trying to collect as many as we can, so if we’re missing any, or if you see new ones, please let us know! Leave a comment or email us. Thanks!

Ebook &Updates 02 Nov 2010 09:50 pm

Announcing the free PDF download of MACHINE OF DEATH & the free podcast.

Please find below the entirety of Machine of Death as a free, downloadable PDF.

Why are we doing this? Aren’t we worried about hurting our book sales?

In a word: no. You have proven time and again that you are willing to pay for content that you find valuable. You have shown that you are driven to share material that you fall in love with. And we are committed to ensuring that you can experience our work whether you can afford to buy a book or not; whether you live in a country that Amazon ships to or not; whether you have space in your life for a stack of paper or not.

Please, download, read, share and enjoy!


This is the double-page-spread version:
Link to Dropbox:

This is the single-page-width version:
Link to Dropbox:

Use the Dropbox links if you can, so our servers don’t explode,
but if you can’t access Dropbox, here are mirrors:

These files are DRM-free and released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. This means you are free to download them, share them, email them, copy them, print them out, seed them, torrent them, and generally send them about however you like, provided that the manuscript remains unbroken, that attribution is always given, and that all use remains noncommercial.

Many of the stories themselves are further released under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, which also permits non-commercial adaptation of the work into other media. See the back of the book for full copyright information.

EBOOKS. We are also pleased to bring you these ebook versions:

Machine of Death in the Amazon Kindle Store – $9.99 $5.99.
Available for download worldwide, right now. DRM-free.

Machine of Death in the Barnes & Noble Nook Store – $9.99 $5.99.
Available for download right now. DRM-free.

Machine of Death as a downloadable ePub – $9.99 $5.99 from us, via Gumroad.
Available for download worldwide, right now. DRM-free.

Machine of Death in Apple’s iBookstore for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch – $5.99.
Available in all the markets that Apple allows us to sell to.

PODCAST. Starting today, we will be releasing about one story a week in audio as a free, Creative-Commons-licensed podcast. We’ll also be posting each episode here on the site. The first one’s up now — you can go listen right this second!

To subscribe in iTunes:
(Please use this link rather than the direct feed if you can, it helps the iTunes servers track how popular we are!)

However, if you don’t use iTunes, the direct podcast feed works fine! It is: Plug that into your favorite podcasteater!

Podcast Episodes 02 Nov 2010 08:12 pm


“NOT WAVING BUT DROWNING,” by Erin McKean. Read by the author.

Everyone knows that the fourth day of ninth grade is when you get your results. I mean, that’s the way it happens in our town; other towns do it differently. Amy, who moved here from Atlanta, said that in the big cities they do it when you’re born, since they have to take blood from babies, anyhow, to test for HIV and that disease that means you can’t drink Diet Coke. (She says she’s going to be shot in a botched robbery, but I think she’s lying. She also said her aunt is on Days of Our Lives, and I don’t believe that either.) But here, in our town, all the parents got together and decided that they just couldn’t take knowing before we were at least in high school. Tim K. says it’s because when you’re in ninth grade, your parents find you so annoying that they can actually bear to think about you dying. Allycia thinks it’s because when you’re our age you think you’re immortal and they want to scare it out of us. That might have been true for our parents, or our grandparents, but I don’t know anyone our age who hasn’t always known that they’re really going to die.

Download the MP3 •  Subscribe on iTunes
Direct podcast feed:

Erin McKean is a lexicographer (look it up). She lexicogs as the founder of, and blogs about dresses at She has written one novel, four books about wacky words, and enough email to cover the entire moon with a layer of alphanumeric characters five ems deep. (Erin McKean’s books on Amazon.)

Update: See Carly Monardo’s great illustration for this story!

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