The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops

By

4.3448275862069
(29 Reviews)
The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster

Published:

1909

Pages:

36

Downloads:

56,060

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The Machine Stops

By

4.3448275862069
(29 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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Average from 29 Reviews
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4
A fantastic story. Its hard to believe back in 1909 that the author predicted an internet of sorts. Pity this was never made into a film like Metropolis was.
I can't fault the story, it's a favourite!
The typos in this downloaded version however are an unpleasant distraction!
This is a great story! It feels eerily close to how a lot of people live their lives right now, as other people have commented. It's impossible to read it without thinking of the current generation busily clicking thumbs up or down on each others opinions on youtube while quoting bits of wikipedia to each other. Frightening stuff!
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Gilmartin
5
I downloaded this out of curiosity - having read a lot of Foster in the past - and was not disappointed, surprising though the piece is.

Completely avoiding the themes of class-difference and English societal hypocrisy which feature in his later works, this is a startlingly prescient short story written in Foster's characteristically tidy manner. The basic themes of the novel are exactly as would be expected - humanity, faith, morality - but the the narrative unlike anything else he wrote.

Set in some undated future, man has created a "machine for living" which gradually allows humans to withdraw from all but the most moderated society. Then the machine goes wrong...

An excellent read, whether you like Foster or Science-Fiction, neither or both!
Frightening! Here I sit, in front of my computer, in an air conditioned environment, communicating with friends I have never & will never see, via Skype. I order my groceries online & they are delivered to my home. I shop online for the sake of convenience. A few days ago my Internet connection went down & I was distraught! God help us all!
Sounds at first to be dated at best or clumsy and naively egocentric at worst--but is neither. What it lacks in the prosaic beauty and felicity so apparent in Forster's novels it more than makes up for with an insight that rivals that found in the best of H.G. Well's short fiction.
When I first read this story back in 1966 it was unpleasant, but just too damned weird to take seriously. Fast-forward 41 years and surprise--it's coming true! I have friends that I have never seen and I even give short lectures on youtube!

People talk by interphone and webcam.

It will make your hair stand on end, no question about it.
Randall Sharpe - Spirituality, Parapsychology, the Paranormal and Pseudoscience
FEATURED AUTHOR - Randall Sharpe began to write in the Astral Alignment universe at the age of eighteen, drawing inspiration from ufology and New Age spirituality to inform his science fiction, horror and fantasy. He is an avid tabletop and online roleplayer, holds a black belt in Uechi-ryu karate, and has begun to publish regularly after obtaining his degree. Randall can occasionally be found posting on various imageboards, sinking hours into Terraria or Starbound, and taking online certification courses to… Read more