23

I haven't read this book. I apologize for the limited info. My friend once told me about this book and shared the limited info that she knew about it.

All the info I have:

  • The book has a company that can predict when you die
  • The company can also pair you with a person that is going to die on the same day as you so you two can spend the day together
  • The main character is going to die
  • The main character decided to pair up with someone
  • Either the main character or the other character dies because of a toaster[?] or electrical appliance
  • My friend mentioned that even if you tried to prevent your death in the book you would still die
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  • 14
    Just to get it out of the way, this is clearly not Heinlein's “Life-Line”. Feb 15, 2023 at 4:32

2 Answers 2

34

It seems likely that the book you're talking about is They Both Die at the End.

  • The book has a company that can predict when you die
    The company is called Death-Cast
  • The company can also pair you with a person that is going to die on the same day as you so you two can spend the day together
    Main characters: Rufus and Mateo
  • The main character is going to die
    That'd be Mateo
  • The main character decided to pair up with someone
    That'd be Rufus
  • Either the main character or the other character dies because of a toaster[?] or electrical appliance
    Mateo dies from an exploding burner on his stove (there's the appliance), whereas Rufus dies from being hit by a car
  • My friend mentioned that even if you tried to prevent your death in the book you would still die
    (I'm not sure about this one, but it makes sense with the rest of the points)
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    Yes, this seems more likely than Machine of Death. Feb 15, 2023 at 10:01
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    The main difference between this book and the question is that Death-Cast does not predict how someone will die (nor the precise time), only the day. But I agree this is the correct answer.
    – David K
    Feb 15, 2023 at 13:00
18

It's always difficult when you're working from someone else's memories as it introduces a lot of uncertainty, but a book that immediately sprang to my mind is Machine of Death.

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.

This is an anthology rather than a novel, but the short stories are all closely linked so it's more like a novel than a traditional anthology, and it does include the points you mention. Specifically the two people who pair up are Timothy and Isma, in the story While Trying to Save Another, who are both fated to die on the same day while trying to save someone from a fire. Neither dies from a toaster, but death by sticking a fork into a toaster is in one of the earlier stories.

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    "...the short stories are all closely linked so it's more like a novel than a traditional anthology." I think this is too strong. The only thing that links the stories is that they all have the titular Machine in them. Some of the stories could plausibly take place in the same universe, but nothing requires you to interpret them that way.
    – MJ713
    Feb 15, 2023 at 23:33
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    And as a side note, most of the stories in the anthology do not predict when someone will die, only how. "While Trying to Save Another" is an exception to the general rule.
    – MJ713
    Feb 15, 2023 at 23:35
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    Final comment, I promise: the book is available for free online under a Creative Commons license. See archive.org/details/MachineofDeath or machineofdeath.net/ebook.
    – MJ713
    Feb 15, 2023 at 23:57

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