7 April 2009
Forgotten Stories: THE MACHINE STOPS, E.M. Forster
This is by way of being a contribution to a special edition of Pattinase's Friday's Forgotten Books devoted to forgotten stories.
I've chosen E. M. Forster's THE MACHINE STOPS, published 1909, which was included in a short story anthology I studied at school back in 1960. That I even remember it is a tribute to the quality of the story.
It is science fiction, not crime fiction, so it comes from the time before my tastes narrowed to what they are today.
A bit of a plot summary courtesy Wikipedia:
The story describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth, and most of the human population lives below ground. Each individual lives in isolation in a standard 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Travel is permitted but unpopular and rarely necessary.
Read more about the plot.
You can read a full text version on the E.M.Forster site. Interesting to note that this year is the 100th year anniversary of its publication. Do you think it has stood the test of time?
You can download an audio version at Librivox.