The Machine Stops – E.M Forster (1909)


This is set in the future. It is a very descriptive story about people living in a machine under the earth in a very highly technological manner. The earth above is poisoned and humans have been banned by ‘the machine’ to go above ground.

‘The machine’ has been created by intelligent men but somehow it has taken on ‘God’ like personality. All the people live in individual cell like rooms and there lives are controlled by this ‘machine.’ It supplies them with food, medicine, clothes and even communication with the other people is done through ‘the machine’ and never face to face.

This story revolves around a mother (Vashanti) and her son (Kuno) who live in the northern and southern hemispheres. Kuno wants his mother to travel in the airship to him so he can discuss how he will be killed by ‘the machine’ because he travelled to the earths surface without permission. She travels to him and her journey is described. She warns her son not to go against ‘the machine’. He on the other hand, is disillusioned by ‘the machine.’ She travels back home where ‘the machine’ has started to self destruct killing those who live within it.

This is a story that details what life would be like if we became to dependant on technology. We would not have human contact but would let machines rule our lives. We would worship them like we do ‘God.’ In reality it sometimes feels as if technology has begun to take over our lives. We communicate through our phones and computers more than face to face. Even the person on the other end of a phone is often a computer. We spend more time than ever in front of screens for entertainment. Where ever we go we are surrounded by various technologies which have become part of our every day lives. For example, whilst travelling eg oyster cards, online banking, self service checkouts, even self service check ins at airports. Even sports are relying on technology e.g. cricket with hawk eye or football with goal line technology.


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