The Machine Stops
Published in 1909, this science fiction short story takes place in a future where mankind, seemingly no longer able to survive on earth’s surface, exists in a vast underground civilization known as “The Machine”. Each individual lives in an isolated, fully-automated cell-like room, connected to global information and communication systems, but cut off from all direct experience. The narrative focuses on Vashti, an “advanced” mother whose total dependence upon The Machine has led her (like most others) to increasingly reverence and even worship it; and her “untechnological” son, Kuno, who has begun to deny The Machine’s omnipotence and even seeks to escape if possible. Kuno’s radical views are validated as the The Machine’s systems begin to malfunction and eventually fail completely.The story has proved to be far ahead of its time, with remarkably accurate predictions of modern technologies, and paints a chilling picture of over-dependence on them. This recording marks the 100th anniversary of the original publishing.
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Nanda Dulal Patnaik
October 31, 2013
Shocking story for 1909. It looks just like what the future of the 21st century will become -- if the newest of our generatiosns stop communicating directly with each other. I've often laughed at the thought of two people sittting across from one another at a coffee shop and texting one another on their mobile phones.