Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Machine Stops
Long before there was an Alphaville or Logan's Run, there was E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops. Written in 1909 as a reaction to one of H. G. Wells' technosocialist utopias, The Machine Stops is amazingly prescient in its depiction of videoconferencing and life in a sedentary, emotionally-isolated, society completely at the mercy of its technology. In the best dystopian tradition, the machine that was built to take care of things develops into a tyrannical bully that seizes political power, then assumes the mantle of a false god which everyone worships for fear of being declared 'unmechanical' which is punished with homelessness.
It's a classic story, well told and very much ahead of its time.
A UK science fiction TV show called Out of the Unknown did a TV adaptation of E.M. Forster's classic dystopian story The Machine Stops in 1966 and you can watch it now thanks to Google Video.
A Few Links Where you can find a copy of The Machine Stops to download, read, or let the machine read to you--until it stops, that is...