Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint about rewiring things and punching people, I'm on a weekly gaming podcast called The Crate & Crowbar, I wrote these two short stories in the Machine of Death collections, and I used to write articles like these for PC Gamer. I'm now prototyping two new games, Heat Signature and one about grappling hooks.
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You’re a doctor, and six unconscious patients come in with a mysterious condition. Their Machine of Death predictions all read: TESTS. What do you do?
A great story, and a great premise. All the stories hinge on the machine in some way, but it’s the sign of a great one when it feels like it’d be worth making up the machine just to tell it.
It’s also cool to have a story that’s serious and urgent, rather than chin-strokey. From 800 submissions that must have been tediously similar at times, you can see why a medical drama would stand out to Malki and co.
If I had to criticise, I’d say the thing with the security guard, which I won’t spoil, felt jammed in for character development. Not enough room in a short story to make it feel natural. And like any story that ends on a question, it’d be better if it didn’t.
Neither bothered me much, and I’m expecting this to remain one of my favourites.
Machine of Death: a book that appears to be good so far. It’s now $18 whether you buy it from Amazon or Topatoco, and I think Topatoco have faster international shipping. The whole book is free in PDF form, and is trickling out steadily as an audiobook in podcast form. My story for it is online here.
Jaz: Loving these. Useful and entertaining reviews, Tom.
AlphaTM: I've like all the stories I've read thus far (I'm at FIRING SQUAD), but ALMOND has thus far been my favorite.
K M Lawrence: If it explains anything, in the two versions of the story that preceded the final one, the security guard was the main character.
Anyway, I'm glad you liked it!
Tom Francis: It's K M Lawrence! Interesting, that does make sense. Didn't hurt my enjoyment, anyway - good job!
Kit Y: Loved this story. Wonderfully done.
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