The Machine Stops


E. M. Forster

Document Type

Book Chapter


Literature Studies

Publication Date


Course Date

Spring 2023

Course Number

HU 145

Course Title

Themes in the Humanities


The Machine Stops describes a world in which almost all humans have lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth. Each individual lives in isolation in a 'cell', with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent, global Machine. Most humans welcome this development, as they are skeptical and fearful of first-hand experience. People forget that humans created the Machine, and treat it as a mystical entity whose needs supersede their own. Those who do not accept the deity of the Machine are viewed as 'unmechanical' and are threatened with "Homelessness". With humans being highly dependable on the Machine, what would happen if the Machine stops?


Originally published in 1909.


This title is in the public domain in the United States of America. It may still be under copyright protection in other countries, and it is the responsibility of the user to follow the applicable copyright laws in their country.