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Summary

The earth's surface is no longer habitable. All humanity is sequestered beneath the ground, couched in isolation and contentment. The Machine provides the needs of humanity. Mankind becomes subservient drones to the life-supporting Machine. But what happens when the Machine stops?

Public Domain (P)2018 B.J. Harrison

What listeners say about The Machine Stops [Classic Tales Edition]

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Timeless and thought provoking

I heard about this book for the first time on a radio programme about AI, recently. It is intriguing and an enjoyable listen, short enough to finish in one sitting on a sunny day in the garden.
unbelievable that it was written a century ago, but still relevant.

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The Machine Stops

Not only the machine has stopped but so has the excitement and the trills.
Firstly the book is far to short.
The fact that it's classified a classic can only be due to it's slightly revolutionary theme.
But it lacks excitement. What struggle and conquest is brief in description, thereby limiting much of the drama. I'm not one for padding out a sequence of events just to add milage to a story but to reduce it to its minimum is to delete the possibility of suspense there as I said limiting the drama.
Sorry to say it but this story was a great idea but needs seriously expanding. more action more drama more excitement and some sex or romance. In fact a lot more of everything.
Not what I would cal a classic in any way shape or form.
My advice is to leave this one on the shelf and find something more fulfilling. Maybe this author wrote something longer more exciting with more drama?

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a tale for today

how prophetic, amazing how the author saw into our future so accurately. highly recomended to anyone who thinks technology should advance without strict regulation.

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Riveting!

Loved this story as scarily perceptive considering it was written more than a hundred years ago. Thoroughly recommend.

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Splendid

Spiffing delivery. Delivery makes for a gripping listening experience of a perfectly succinct novella/short story.
Ever-increasing in relevance, poignant.

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So relevant even more today

Fantastic allegory of life today! Amazingly prescient . Read at school for GCE so that tells you how long ago it was!

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Makes you think

Strange how almost acurate this tale is. Well worth a listen,. Thought provoking allegory for modern times

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  • H. Metz
  • 13-05-19

Classic

Definitely an underrated/under-appreciated classic.

As it was written a looong time ago, it does take a bit of transfer to apply it to today’s situation - if you wanted to, you could take that as an excuse to discount the message. But astonishingly, it’s not too far from today, and goes further, just a few steps, from where the films Surrogates and maybe in clownish way, Ready Player One, took us.

The reading is very subdued, which I began to appreciated more and more, as I realized it suited the story best.

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  • Anthony Hall
  • 27-07-18

A timeless work of art

This was just stunning. The reading was perfect, full of emotion. Everyone on earth should hear this story. It is heartbreaking. As the truth often can be. Can’t believe this was written in 1910

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  • Andy
  • 07-09-21

Written in 1910 but so eerily relevant

Unique take on a cautionary tale about technology and the role of technology in our comfort as a species. What happens when we as a human race decide to create a machine to "take care of" every need, every desire, every whim...? What happens when humanity decides to let their great machine take care of everything? What happens when we as a species forgets what it's like to live as a human being, upon the Earth, as a part of the natural world? What happens when we're so far removed from our place in creation that the technology we've created for our comfort becomes our own downfall?

This should be required reading for every one.

Short, engaging, not too dated in terms of language compared to other literature that I've read from the same era.