Booker’s take on , The Machine stops by E.M Forster

E.M Forster

E.M Forster


“You talk as if a god had made the Machine,” – Kuno

“Imagine, if you can, 

a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet

 the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre, by its side a reading-desk-that is all the furniture. And in the armchair there sits a swaddled lump of flesh-a woman, about five feet high, with a face as white as a fungus. It is to her that the little room belongs.” – pg 1 the machine stops“. –  E.M Forster

N.Q – The machine stops is not about a politcal dystopia but just in terms of technology dystopia

pg 149. Machine controls every aspects of human lifem which therefor become mechanical and de humanized.

Each person lives in an isolated cell that is  a sort of a paradise of electronic gadgetry and conveniences but that is also a virtual prison outside of which he or she seldom ventures

pg 149 – Forster’s dystopia is strictly regulated by the instructions contained in the “Book of the machine,” much as life in Zamyatin’s One State is ordered by the Table of Hours.

pg 150. Zamyatin and Forster share a common central source  – the influence of H.G. Wells on Zamyatin is well known, and , as Hillegas points out in his useful discussion of the story, “The machine stops” is also largely a direct response to the technological utopianism of wells (85 – 95)

pg 150 – “humanist fears about the machine – the fear that the machine will lead to the mechanization of human life and finally to the control of human life” (Hillegas 89 )

Also see: Beuchamp (“Technology”); Elkins;Hillegas ; Widdicombe


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