Cover of this title
The Machine Stops
E. M. Forster

This science fiction short story explores the power of and the utter dependence on technology as well as the importance of nature. At some point in the future humans have lost the ability to live on the earth’s surface, life is taking place underground using a global machine. Every individual has their separate section and social interactions happen remotely via instant messaging and video conferences. Travelling and personal contact are usually neither necessary nor wanted. When one day the machine starts showing more and more defects, the people are confronted with the loss of their ‘provider’ and thus completely new issues… Especially in times of lockdowns and rapid technological progress, this is a valuable text for discussing the different sides of the use of technology and the power and control it has.

The text, which is in the public domain, is suitable for interdiciplinary teaching with Social Science, Politics and Ethics.

· · 1909

Critical edition

Forster, E. M. The Machine Stops. Penguin Classics, 2011.
96 pp., ISBN 9780141195988

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In favour of this entry

  • Addresses current affairs
  • Classic
  • Democratic and political education
  • Interdisciplinary or cross-curricular teaching

Adapted as

  • Audio drama
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