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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.

Public Domain (P)2009 Jimcin Recordings

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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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.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • Lebanon, CT, United States
  • 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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Terrible and Fantastic

Despondent and prophetic this was a great listen. If only the human condition was for the masses to hold ingenuity instead of only the precious few.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Great story....

but I wasn't expecting this to be read by a Christopher Walken impersonator. It was pretty hard to follow his rhythm.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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 3 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Oak Park, IL, United States
  • 07-01-12

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 5 people found this review helpful