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Publisher's Summary

The earth's surface is no longer habitable. All humanity is sequestered beneath the ground, couched in isolation and contentment. The Machine provides the needs of humanity. Mankind becomes subservient drones to the life-supporting Machine. But what happens when the Machine stops?

Public Domain (P)2018 B.J. Harrison

What listeners say about The Machine Stops [Classic Tales Edition]

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Mike comments on the book

it kept me engaged. to do a lot of books so you got somewhere to go when it gets to that time

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The Matrix - Early 20th century

A precursor to the Matrix. Well-written, captivating and easy to follow. A good read if you enjoy dystopian stories.

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The machine and the internet are too damn close in effect

Glued to your smart phone? Read this and weep. The Net looked to so cool at first, like acid dreams it went on forever. Stay in your bubble.
It will stop as well one day. Then what? Privacy? Peace? Quiet?

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  • H. Metz
  • 2019-05-13

Classic

Definitely an underrated/under-appreciated classic.

As it was written a looong time ago, it does take a bit of transfer to apply it to today’s situation - if you wanted to, you could take that as an excuse to discount the message. But astonishingly, it’s not too far from today, and goes further, just a few steps, from where the films Surrogates and maybe in clownish way, Ready Player One, took us.

The reading is very subdued, which I began to appreciated more and more, as I realized it suited the story best.

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  • Anthony Hall
  • 2018-07-27

A timeless work of art

This was just stunning. The reading was perfect, full of emotion. Everyone on earth should hear this story. It is heartbreaking. As the truth often can be. Can’t believe this was written in 1910

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  • Andy
  • 2021-09-07

Written in 1910 but so eerily relevant

Unique take on a cautionary tale about technology and the role of technology in our comfort as a species. What happens when we as a human race decide to create a machine to "take care of" every need, every desire, every whim...? What happens when humanity decides to let their great machine take care of everything? What happens when we as a species forgets what it's like to live as a human being, upon the Earth, as a part of the natural world? What happens when we're so far removed from our place in creation that the technology we've created for our comfort becomes our own downfall?

This should be required reading for every one.

Short, engaging, not too dated in terms of language compared to other literature that I've read from the same era.

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  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2021-03-04

Eerie!

This science fiction short story was written in 1909 by E. M. Forster and is very different from the works for which he is generally known. It anticipates mechanized ventilation, heating and air conditioning, what allows all humans to live in individual underground cells. Very uncannily, it also foresees videoconferencing and what we call the Internet. The result is a shattered society that strangely mirrors our Covid-19 lockdowns.

Sadly, the story inserted in this context by Forster is a bit bland and quite predictable.

Still, this brief work is fascinating and warmly recommended.