The Machine Stops is a science fiction short story (of 12, words) by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge. E.M. Forster publishes “The Machine Stops,” a chilling tale of a futuristic information-oriented society that grinds to a bloody halt, literally. The futuristic world portrayed in The Machine Stops is an eerily familiar one - people mostly communicate with each other via screens, the rarity.


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Plot summary[ edit ] The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard room, the machine stops all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine.

The Machine Stops

Travel is permitted, but is unpopular and rarely necessary. The two main characters, Vashti and her son Kuno, live on opposite the machine stops of the world. Vashti is content with her life, which, like most inhabitants of the world, she spends producing and endlessly discussing secondhand 'ideas'.

Kuno, however, is a sensualist and a rebel. He persuades a reluctant Vashti to endure the the machine stops and the resultant unwelcome personal interaction to his room.

There, he tells her of his disenchantment with the sanitised, mechanical world. He confides to her that he has visited the surface of the Earth without permission, and that he saw other humans living outside the world of the Machine. However, the Machine recaptured him, and he has been threatened with 'Homelessness', that is, expulsion from the underground environment the machine stops presumed death.

Then she had to walk to it from the lift, had to submit to glances form the other passengers. The man in front dropped his Book - no great matter, but it disquieted them all.

In the rooms, if the Book was dropped, the floor raised it mechanically, but the gangway to the air-ship was not so prepared, and the sacred volume lay motionless. They stopped - the thing was unforeseen - and the man, instead of picking up his property, felt the muscles of his arm to see how they had failed him.

Then some one actually said with the machine stops utterance: Inside, her anxiety increased.

The Machine Stops - IMDb

The arrangements were old- fashioned and rough. There was even a female the machine stops, to whom she would have to announce her wants during the voyage. Of course a revolving platform ran the length of the boat, but she was expected to walk from it to her cabin.


Some cabins were the machine stops than others, and she did not get the best. She thought the attendant had been unfair, and spasms of rage shook her.

The glass valves had closed, she could not go back.

She saw, at the end of the vestibule, the lift in which she the machine stops ascended going quietly up and down, empty. Beneath the machine stops corridors of shining tiles were rooms, tier below tier, reaching far into the earth, and in each room there sat a human being, eating, or sleeping, or producing ideas.

And buried deep in the hive was her own room. Then the sides of the vestibule seemed to melt together, as do the passages that we see in dreams, the lift vanishedthe Book that had been dropped slid to the left and vanished, polished tiles rushed by like a stream of water, there was a slight jar, and the air-ship, issuing from its tunnel, soared above the waters of a tropical ocean.

For a moment she saw the coast of Sumatra edged by the phosphorescence of waves, and crowned by lighthouses, still sending forth their disregarded beams.