We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
The Machine Stops | [E. M. Forster]

The Machine Stops

This story 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.
Regular Price:$5.57
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Audible Editor 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.

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (38 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (16)
3 star
 (5)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (1)
Overall
4.3 (25 )
5 star
 (13)
4 star
 (8)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (1)
1 star
 (0)
Story
3.8 (24 )
5 star
 (6)
4 star
 (9)
3 star
 (6)
2 star
 (3)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Edward USA 07-21-09
    Edward USA 07-21-09
    HELPFUL VOTES
    167
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    16
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    "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.

    19 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Lebanon, CT, United States 03-19-12
    Mary Lebanon, CT, United States 03-19-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    23
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer 05-30-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    120
    27
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ahead of its time, though not sublime"
    What did you like best about The Machine Stops? What did you like least?

    Predictions that come true; somewhat wooden vision and execution of story.


    Would you be willing to try another book from E. M. Forster? Why or why not?

    Read some years ago.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    yes


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    Predictions that come true; somewhat wooden vision and execution of story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 11-04-12
    Darryl Cedar Rapids, IA, United States 11-04-12 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    473
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    943
    240
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    23
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "ok story of the "don't become a machine" type"

    this is a classic story of the genre warning of the slowly transforming human race into mindless automaton type. good from that aspect, don't lose your individuality and vigor etc., but narrator not quite the best, in fact I think if there is another version it might play better and be a little more interesting. it is not a real tension type story, but worth the time to see early depictions of this theme, though it is done perhaps more effectively later, at the moment i'm thinking of 2001 in which the people become more and more complacent and unable to physically do much until forced to by dramatic events.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 07-01-12
    John Oak Park, IL, United States 07-01-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    82
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    50
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I didn't expect a clever Sci-Fi novel from Forster"

    This short Sci-Fi novel is clever and interesting and well worth reading.

    The author tackles some extremely forward-thinking issues considering the novel was first published in 1909 and still reads effectively today.

    The concept is that in the future, people's lives are completely controlled by The Machine and people only interact with each other through The Machine.

    Then, when The Machine stops working, people are left helpless because they no longer know how to take care of themselves.

    The sound quality is not as clear as typical for my Audible downloads. And, I detected a New York accent in the narrator that I did not find appropriate.

    The novel is a finalist to be entered into the Prometheus Award Hall of Fame when the award is announced at WorldCon in 2012.

    John Christmas, author of "Democracy Society"

    0 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-5 of 5 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.