The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops

by E. M. Forster

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2017 Reprint of 1909 Edition. The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard room, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted, but is unpopular and rarely necessary. Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine with which people conduct their only activity: the sharing of ideas and what passes for knowledge. It is intended as a chilling reminder of the possible consequences on over reliance on machines and the changes to human capacity and character that could result from this over dependence. Consider a classic of the science fiction genre and a prescient warning about our reliance on machine technology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781681460277
Publisher: Start Classics
Publication date: 02/25/2015
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 34
Sales rank: 244,701
File size: 130 KB

About the Author

The Machine Stops is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster's 'The Eternal Moment and Other Stories' 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 book is particularly notable for predicting new technologies such as instant messaging and the internet.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1879

Date of Death:

June 7, 1970

Place of Birth:


Place of Death:

Coventry, England


B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

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The Machine Stops 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Reader24112 More than 1 year ago
Interesting view of the future, well-written, though very short read. E-book is annoying with several spelling errors.
spaddeck More than 1 year ago
Good story, but this edition (Nook Book) has many misspellings. I wish I had known; I would not have purchased it. Shame.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ages ago, I read this short story from one of my husbands' college textbooks. I never got it out of my mind. It becomes more apropos every year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good QUICK read:)
qgil on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ahead of time by a century. What a great imagination!
billsearth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good idea developed into a long story. Ending sort of grim though. Ahead of its time by a century.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting future vision of a time when people connect only via screens and wires, but otherwise live in complete isolation from one another. They become so dependent on the machine that they have built that they transform it into a deity, forget how to keep it running, and so are doomed when the machine finally breaks down. This is really more of an idea sketch than a story, as the characters are broad and the plot is thin. But considering the time at which this was written, Forster shows a remarkable prescience in imagining what could essentially be an extreme version of the Internet, and the dangers such technology poses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
On par with Ayn Rand' Anthem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wake up people...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Now I know why it is a classic.
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