The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops

Published by on June 20th, 2019

The Machine Stops by E.M.Forster. With audio and annotations by GuruEAP.

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About 'The Machine Stops'

(from Wikipedia..) "The Machine Stops" is a science fiction short story (12,300 words) by E. M. Forster. After initial publication (November 1909!), the story was republished in 1928. After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology Modern Short Stories. In 1973 it was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two.

The story, set in a world where humanity lives underground and relies on a giant machine to provide its needs, predicted technologies such as instant messaging and the Internet.

In the preface to his Collected Short Stories (1947), Forster wrote that "'The Machine Stops' is a reaction to one of the earlier heavens of H. G. Wells." In The Time Machine, Wells had pictured the childlike Eloi living the life of leisure of Greek gods whilst the working Morlocks lived underground and kept their whole idyllic existence going. In contrast to Wells' political commentary, Forster points to the technology itself as the ultimate controlling force.