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.
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
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.
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.
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"
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