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Editorial Reviews

Widely regarded as one of the great voices in English realism, E. M. Forster makes a rare foray into science fiction with "The Machine Stops". Forster pulls it off like a master of the genre, serving up his characteristically provocative discussions of morality alongside astonishing predictions regarding humanity’s increasing reliance on technology. Performer Jim Roberts is fluid and efficient as he portrays a race of underground humans, every aspect of their existence orchestrated by the omnipotent machine. The subterraneans prefer not to travel, instead communicating from the comfort of their respective cells via the "speaking apparatus", with its striking resemblance to modern technologies such as the Internet and text messaging. As the machine starts to break down, the hitherto complacent population must reckon with apocalyptic consequences.
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Publisher's Summary

E. M. Forster is known primarily as a great English novelest of such books as A Passage to India, A Room with a View, and Where Angels Fear to Tread. In 1909, he wrote his only science-fiction story, and it proved to be a shocker. It describes a world of the future in which humans all remain in their cubicles while all their needs are met by a supercomputer called "The Machine". They communicate with each other and attend "online" classes and meetings through the Machine, and people seldom meet face to face. A problem arises when one man, Kuno, decides he is not satisfied with staying in his room and decides to explore outside. The story has proved to be far ahead of its time, with remarkably accurate predictions of modern technologies such as TV, online chat, and the Internet. This is a truly remarkable story and one that has many lessons of caution for today. After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology Modern Short Stories and in 1973 was also included in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
(P)2009 Jimcin Recordings
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Edward on 07-21-09

Great Story

Great Story. Well Read. Who would have thought that E.M. Forster could right something like this?
Unfortunately, this seems to be his only Sci-Fi story.

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20 of 23 people found this review helpful


By Mary on 03-19-12

Stunning Sci Fi

I am a fan of E.M. Forster but this book was a real surprise. I heard about it on NPR and decided to give it a try. It was written close to a century ago and it is as fresh as today's headlines. The story is slight but filled with amazing detail about life in the future; that's today. The narrator was terrific and I will look for him again. I recommend this book for serious readers. It was so thought provoking.

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5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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