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The Machine Stops

A Science Fiction Classic

E.M. Forster (Author)

E. M. Forster (1879–1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist,and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster’s humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel, Howards End: “Only connect…” His 1908 novel, A Room with a View, is his most optimistic work, while A Passage to India (1924) brought him his greatest success.


First published in 1909, Forster’s short science fiction work, “The Machine Stops,” posits a technology-dependent humanity now living underground, its every need serviced by machines. But what happens if–or when–the machines stop? “The Machine Stops” was named one of the greatest science fiction novellas published before 1965 by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

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