Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Machine Stops

Official Blurb

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.

My Review

This a short story presented here in three chapters. It's a sci fi story set in a world where man is organised, fed, watered and clothed by "the machine". It's one womans story as she discovers her son who has been outside of the machine.

It's well written and kept me listening. The story has a way of constantly revealing facts about this odd ( to us anyway ) future where all wants are met. A very interesting society has developed with odd behaviours and attitudes.

The story ends with a pathos filled creshendo that I found appealing.

It's not a high action story nor a terrible high tech one, it's about the people in this strange environment.

I listened to the whole thing in one sitting when I hadn't meant to, the reader was a joy his presentation excellent. However if this reader doesnt appeal to your preferences I've noticed that Librivox has a second version of the story by others.

Reading 2/3
Production 2/3
Story 2/3

Total Score 6/9

Download it from Librivox

Listen to the first chapter