The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops

By

4.3846153846154
(26 Reviews)
The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster

Published:

1909

Pages:

36

Downloads:

46,545

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The Machine Stops

By

4.3846153846154
(26 Reviews)
The Machine Stops is a short science fiction story. It describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as 'unmechanical' and are threatened with "Homelessness". Eventually, the Machine apocalyptically collapses, and the civilization of the Machine comes to an end. --Wikipedia

Book Excerpt

Inside, her anxiety increased. The arrangements were old-fashioned and rough. There was even a female attendant, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin. Some cabins were better than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her. The glass valves had closed, she could not go back. She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she had ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath those corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas. And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Vashti was afraid.

"O Machine!" she murmured, and caressed her Book, and was comforted.

Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the l

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An interesting read very prophetic seeing it was written in 1909.A good compliment to the book is the concept album The Machine Stops by Hawkwind.
I'm not as thrilled with the story as other readers. It's not bad - just too cerebral for me, and I dislike dreary endings.

This dystopian tale reveals a time when Man is totally dependent on Machine - and Machine fails. Predictable at a high level, but interesting tid-bits along the way.
Read this book in the 1960\'s. No high tech then. It is not about machinery. The machine is just the vestal the writer uses to get across his excellent point.

This story is about believing what you are told and not looking for the truth. It is often attached to for your own good. People could live above ground. It fits today\'s America and giving up so much to the control of a few for our own good. We also see this theme in the book the Color Purple. The one sister accepted her fate when she could have lived all along in the house owned by her father. She never questioned what she was told. She accepted for her own good.
This tale has haunted me from the day I taught it to a student being home tutored in the 1980's. A chilling illustration of McLuhan's claim that "artists are the antennae of the future." In 1909 Forster was an oracle for the age of social media.
Very thought-provoking for such a short story and highly-prophetic too, given the era in which it was written. I found the first chapter particularly clever and atmospheric.

The Kindle version I read was downloaded from ManyBooks, somehow 'Americanized' and contained at least 25 typos where the OCR had messed up. Ironically, I couldn't help thinking it was 'like a book but not quite a book' but instead just "good enough." 4/5
Forster's hundred year old predictions have largely come true. People are isolated from each other and communicate through screens, the world is despoiled, power supplies are centralized, watching reality is preferable to experiencing it, and everything filters through technology.

A well-written and convincing story, though the ending will probably never come to pass.
Read this in college and loved it. I was going to the computer lab at 2am to run my stack of computer cards* so I would only wait in a line of a hundred students vs a thousand. Did I put 2 and 2 together? No. That\\\'s why I have yet to win a Nobel prize.
* computer cards: letter-sized post cards with holes punched in them - the holes allowed a pattern to be read by the computer, which sat in the basement, the entire basement).
Read this in college and loved it. I was going to the computer lab at 2am to run my stack of computer cards* so I would only wait in a line of a hundred students vs a thousand. Did I put 2 and 2 together? No. That's why I have yet to win a Nobel prize.
* computer cards: letter-sized post cards with holes punched in them - the holes allowed a pattern to be read by the computer, which sat in the basement, the entire basement).
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kolster65
3
As this short story begins it seems more pertinant to us now than it could ever have been before. It fortells the computer age astonishingly accurately.

The story beyond that is interesting and certainly atmospheric. A decent read while you have your lunch.

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Kjerst
5
As the previous reviewers have said, it's a spooky story which is very relevant and very true today. It's hard to comprehend that it was written so long ago, before the internet and social media of today. I really enjoyed it. While there were similarieties to Anthem (Ayn Rand), I found it more realistic even in its strangeness. What would we do if the internet went down, how would we survive now we have become so dependant upon it? Highly recommended!!