The Machine Stops (version 3)

Read by Elizabeth Klett

(4.5 stars; 271 reviews)

"The Machine Stops" is a science fiction short story by E. M. Forster. After initial publication in The Oxford and Cambridge Review (November 1909), the story was republished in Forster's The Eternal Moment and Other Stories in 1928. After being voted one of the best novellas up to 1965, it was included that same year in the populist anthology Modern Short Stories. 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 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. ( Summary by Wikipedia ) (1 hr 20 min)


1 - The Air-Ship 30:53 Read by Elizabeth Klett
2 - The Mending Apparatus 26:01 Read by Elizabeth Klett
3 - The Homeless 23:44 Read by Elizabeth Klett


Thought provoking

(4 stars)

Excellent story. Technology has developed considerably from when this was written, but the story still makes one think about the present and the future. Will technology close us off more and more from direct experience and personal contact? Technology is a powerful tool, but of course, it is for us to determine whether it is applied to good purpose. Elizabeth Klett did an excellent job of reading this solo project for Librivox.


(4 stars)

I really loved this piece all the way through it tho usually speculative fiction gets boring to me and doesn’t age well. But to hear his description of the Earth as all brown and sterile, the air as unbreathable to humans and all the little touches that had contributed comfort to our race, making them willing to give it up for an artificial life gave The Machine Stops authority and I learned something on every page. Even funny little moments like “after giving an unsuccessful lecture Vashti had wanted to call on Euthanasia for herself.” Elizabeth Klett was perfect for this as she is for most things and I’m very grateful she undertook it for us.

A three stroked masterpiece

(5 stars)

The Machine Stops serves as an everbright reminder to humanity, the calamity that can be birthed by us, collectively. It demonstrates flawlessly (despite its slightly absurd situations) the perils of purposefully repressing our natural tendencies as human beings for greater bodily longing uncategorized as solely carnal. I reminds us of the dangers of authority which is not questioned or atleast authority wherein there is no safeguard for failure of such to meet as much of our desires as human beings that does not only comprise of the superficial. I would certainly recommend this novella and I hope you enjoy it.

Beautifully written.

(4.5 stars)

I was worried that the author wouldn’t be able to do justice to a story of this sweeping nature in such a short account, but it really does work the way he has written it. Very thought-provoking, and beautifully written. Elizabeth, as usual, does a fantastic job. She is so versatile in her voice characterizations. I would have loved for this to be a longer storyJust so I could have seen this expanded out, but even as it is, it’s a superb work of science fiction.

(4.5 stars)

“The Machine Stops: A Haunting Reflection on the Perils of Technological Dependence" "The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster is a chilling and prescient novella that delves into the dark consequences of a society overly reliant on technology, where individuality, freedom of thought, and genuine human connection are sacrificed at the altar of convenience. This thought-provoking work serves as a stark reminder of the importance of human uniqueness and the dangers of losing touch with our essential humanity. Forster's vividly imagined future presents a world in which people live isolated lives within a vast underground system, where the omnipresent Machine caters to their every need. However, this seemingly utopian existence quickly unravels as the lack of physical human connection and the stifling uniformity of thought take center stage. The characters, confined to their individual cells, are reduced to mere cogs in the machinery, devoid of personal agency and creativity. The novella's true power lies in its exploration of the crushing weight of conformity and the yearning for genuine human connection. The inhabitants of this dystopian world have become like machines themselves, stripped of their uniqueness and confined to a monotonous existence. Forster's vivid descriptions evoke a sense of suffocating claustrophobia, highlighting the plight of a society devoid of individuality and personal expression. The parallels between "The Machine Stops" and the recent experiences of isolation and limited human connection in 2020 are striking. As the characters in the story communicate solely through screens and virtual interactions, the profound absence of physical contact becomes a poignant reminder of the importance of tangible connections in our lives. Forster's haunting portrayal serves as a cautionary tale, urging us to reconsider the potential consequences of excessive reliance on technology and the erasure of our unique human qualities. "The Machine Stops" is a gripping and thought-provoking work that resonates deeply with contemporary readers. Forster's prose is masterful, capturing the essence of the characters' desolation and the profound implications of a society devoid of individuality and genuine human interaction. This novella serves as a powerful reminder to cherish our human uniqueness and the significance of genuine connections in a world increasingly dominated by technology.

Thought provoking

(5 stars)

This well read story gives great cause for thought even after 100 years from its first publication. Is this the future of the human race, or is it now the present? Are we in danger of worshipping our present-day machines and neglecting to look up to the hills "from where our hope comes"? Listen and decide for yourself.

Ahead of it's Time!

(5 stars)

Man busy occuppying himself thru meaningless & superficial "contact" with others? preoccupied with self-congratulatory self-enrichment via lectures on someone's view of someone else's view of yet another's opinion on a topic of which he has no first-hand knowledge or credible source? was this written in the twenty-first century? Nope. barely into the twentieth!!

Just gets going, then ends!

(3 stars)

Well read and starts off promisingly, but just when it gets to the beat of the story, it ends! It leaves you with half a story and A feeling of wasted time!