Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
I was a little dubious about this one, solely because one character refers to the other as ‘kid’ – something I’m not yet sure people do in real life. But it’s one of the most interesting settings for a Machine of Death story – one of the few that has the courage to put the machine itself well into the background of the world, and tell a story that is affected by it, but not about it.
It’s about two soliders, stranded on an island, who both know how they will die. One is STARVATION, the other is HOMICIDE. So the entire scenario is overcast by both men endlessly reconjecturing about how their personal prophecy could come true.
That makes it very tense at times, particularly since my twist-happy brain likes to spend its downtime trying to pre-empt every eventuality. But I can honestly say the ending surprised me, and in a way that made me the story seem smarter than me.
Machine of Death: a book that appears to be good so far. It’s now $18 from Amazon or Topatoco in the US, or in the UK for £11.50 with free shipping from The Book Depository. The whole thing is free in PDF form, and is trickling out steadily as an audiobook in podcast form. My story for it is online here.
Bret: Agreed on the ending.
Not a common trick, that. And I wish I could discuss further without spoiling.
Pepelusky: Once i knew someone who used kid in real life.
sQUEAKYfOAMpEANUT: My girlfriend me got me this book for Christmas. Your story was my favourite, Tom.
Tom Francis: Wow, thanks! Excellent girlfriend.
Mike McQuaid: In with a completely tangental point that one of the managers in my company calls the younger employees "kid".