So imagine, if you will, a scenario:
“The machine had been invented a few years ago: a machine that could tell, from just a sample of your blood, how you were going to die. It didn’t give you the date and it didn’t give you specifics. It just spat out a sliver of paper upon which were printed, in careful block letters, the words “DROWNED” or “CANCER” or “OLD AGE” or “CHOKED ON A HANDFUL OF POPCORN”. It let people know how they were going to die.”
Except the machine’s predictions didn’t always shake out the way people thought they might. “OLD AGE” sometimes meant ‘died in her sleep after a long life’; other times, it meant ‘gunned down on the street by a homicidal nonagenerian.’
In other respects, the world in which this machine exists is just like ours.
Ryan, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki were so taken by the premise that they’re using it as the basis of a short-story anthology for which they’re accepting entries through the end of March, ‘07.
Each story has to be titled after the name of a mode of death predicted by the machine. So if you think you might have something to say about TICKLED TO DEATH BY FEATHERS or SHELLFISH POISONING or maybe something cryptic like DROPPED, you’ll want to check out the official contest rules.