Category ArchiveReader Mail

Reader Mail 24 Jun 2011 10:15 am by Robynne

Presenting: An Adorable Penguin

This is my very favorite of the death prediction requests that I’ve seen so far.

This watercolor painting is incredible. Look at that penguin! And look at that Death Machine! Either one alone would make for a great painting. Together they just can’t be beat. And I have to wonder: What is going on here? Is the penguin getting tested? Is this part of an ad campaign, and the penguin is a mascot? Has the machine been abandoned in an Antarctic wasteland, to save people from the evil of knowing how they’re going to die? I would like to see some stories about this painting. I feel like there’s a lot of material here.

But there’s more! The kick-ass painting came with a letter!

The letter reads:

Dear Machine of Death,

I’m Emese, a 22 years old girl from Hungary, and I’ve been a fan of your book since it was released. I read the e-book when it came out, but I could buy the actual book only as a christmas present /for myself./ But still it was awesome and worth every cent!

Today is my birthday. I heard that you are giving away death predictions, and thought that one would be awesome as a present /for myself again/. None of my friends have one yet, so being the first with it would be great! : D

Anyway, it might happen that no one will ever read this letter, since I’m not sure wether I wrote the adress right; or the predictions might be already ran out by the time you get this. But even then I just want you to know, that your work is awesome, but I’m probably not the first to tell you that.

I wish you all the best!


This is a lovely piece of fan mail, ringing of sincerity, and just self-deprecating enough to be endearing without going overboard.

And that’s not all! There’s also something on the back of the painting:

This is the price of a letter from Hungary to the US. I don’t think you can use it for anything but I didn’t know what else to send in return.

It’s difficult to purchase US postage from foreign countries, so people in other countries cannot stamp their self-addressed envelopes before sending them to us. For international requests, we will provide postage, but we ask that the request include something worth about a dollar, which is roughly the cost of mailing a death prediction card internationally.

The postage required to send a letter to the US from Hungary is a fitting exchange for the postage required to send a letter to Hungary from the US. I’m fascinated to learn that they have Braille stamps in Hungary. I’d had no idea that Braille stamps existed anywhere, but maybe every country in the world has them and I’m just completely out of touch.

Anyway, every piece of this request was great. I enjoyed seeing the painting, and I enjoyed reading the letter, and I enjoyed seeing some Hungarian postage. Overall, opening this request was a great experience.

I don’t know what could be better than this watercolor penguin, but I look forward to seeing what you can come up with!

Reader Mail 21 Jun 2011 12:23 pm by Robynne

The proper way to do things

What time is it? It’s time for another awesome death prediction request! Yay!

The distinguishing feature of this one is that it fits in perfectly with Machine of Death mythology. It could conceivably have fallen right out of a Machine of Death story and into the real world, where luckily we got a hold of it before it could disrupt the fabric of reality by falling into the wrong hands.

The card pretty much speaks for itself. I love the attention to detail. You might not be able to tell from the picture, but this was not printed straight out of a computer with everything in place. The stamp, the parts written in blue ballpoint pen, and the “blood” were all added individually. I’m guessing the sender already owned or had access to a stamp saying “Paid” and adjustable for different dates, but it’s still an impressive bit of realism.

By the way, these are all photographed immediately after being opened, which is why the bottom fields are not yet filled out. The photographing stage happens before the staff begins processing.

If you’d like to send us a sample of your blood for processing, (please don’t send us your actual blood) we’d be happy to let you, too, know how you will die. At Machine of Death, that’s our job.

Reader Mail 14 Jun 2011 03:10 am by Robynne

A Group Effort

This is a letter that came in that’s actually three separate requests for death prediction cards. It’s got three separate letters’ worth of awesomeness packed into one!

The envelope itself is cool, with stuff printed inside where most envelope manufacturers assume no one is going to bother looking.

Then there’s the card that I presume, the envelope came with.

To Whom It May Concern –

My two coworkers and myself would each like readings from the Machine of Death. If this is too much to ask, then please at least send David his reading, as he is the biggest fan of the three of us. Thank you for your time.


Bradford Neal

One note here: A lot of people who write in for death predictions seem concerned that we might run out of cards, or be otherwise overwhelmed and unable to respond to everyone. Rest assured that this isn’t the case! We have plenty of cards for everyone, and it doesn’t look like we’ll run out any time soon. Maybe people are just being polite. I understand that you don’t want to seem greedy or project an air of entitlement. But if you are genuinely concerned that we won’t have enough cards for you, don’t worry about it! If you’ve been wanting to request a card, but have held back because you don’t want us to run out, go ahead and ask for one!

For each of the three self-addressed, stamped envelopes included here, there was a small trinket.

With the envelope addressed to David, who was mentioned in the letter as the one person we should be sure to send a reading to, there came a dollar bill that had been intricately folded into the shape you see here.

The second envelope, addressed to Teena, came with a sticker for a restaurant that will sell you a cheeseburger if you ask them to.

The envelope for Bradford, who wrote the card, included some temporary tattoos. They are so action-packed that the figures depicted are actually leaping out of their backgrounds!

Thanks to all involved in sending us these contributions!

Reader Mail 07 Jun 2011 09:17 am by Robynne


So far we’ve received lots of death prediction requests. Any time a large volume of mail comes in, there’s a decent chance that something is going to arrive damaged.

In this case, the damage was cause by some sort of shenanigans going on at the post office. I don’t know what they get up to there, but apparently on very rare occasions it destroys pieces of mail. The post office assured us that, despite all appearances to the contrary, they care about our mail and do all they can to ensure it will arrive safely. They’d put this envelope in a little plastic bag that said so!

This basically says “We handle a lot of mail, so even though we take tons of precautions, sometimes we damage things… Hope you’re not super upset with us, even though you totally have a right to be.”

Okay. So sometimes these things happen. At least the contents of the envelope were pretty much intact.

But… but what’s this?!

Apparently that little red bow is some sort of a traveller’s charm. All the letters that arrived completely unmolested were just ordinary letters, but the one letter that includes some sort of precaution against harm arrived with a hole torn out of the corner. I guess we debunked your superstition! Sorry about that. Didn’t do it on purpose.

And here’s the back of that note, for those of you who are interested:

This case provides a fascinating contradiction. I guess now we know that little red bows cannot be trusted. At least the dinosaurs were not harmed on their journey, so maybe the bow actually worked and if it hadn’t been there they would’ve been shattered. The nifty little creatures arrived just fine, despite whatever terrifying adventure they experienced on the way.

Want to send us something and get your death prediction in return? Statistically, it’s unlikely anything bad will happen to your letter, since we’ve already had a damaged one and that fulfills our quota! (Fun fact: Statistics do not work this way.)

Reader Mail 02 Jun 2011 01:40 pm by Robynne

Some More Death Prediction Requests

Hello! Robynne again, with some more examples of death prediction requests we’ve received here at MoD HQ. These are some simpler ones, that don’t require as much in the way of commentary.

This person sent in three rubber bands, a fortune-cookie fortune (“A dark haired woman will soon be giving you a gift.” Hey, I’m dark-haired!), and a flyer for what I can only assume is the greatest roller derby league in the whole of St. Louis.

This is a Mickey Mouse sticker.

Hello! I would like a death card, please. In return, I offer this cartoon from the New Yorker.

– Monica

This is T-Rex, carefully drawn onto a piece of fabric. It appears to be a lint-free cloth for cleaning glasses or computer screens. It feels so soft! Could it be…luxurious silk? (Probably not.)

I’ve got to say, this is a pretty sweet collection. Request your own card — let’s see just how awesome and eclectic we can get!

(More cool stuff we’ve received!)

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