“You talk as if a god had made the Machine," cried the other. "I believe that you pray to it when you are unhappy. Men made it, do not forget that. Great men, but men. The Machine is much, but not everything.”
E.M. Forster could have been talking about Steve Jobs and iPhones!
I don't know how widely read The Machine Stops
is but I think it ought to be required reading for all sci-fi aficionados. I don't know this for a fact but I suspect it is very influential; I can see echoes of it in sci-fi classics such as Harlan Ellison’s I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream only wrote this one sci-fi story, he really had a knack for it. He is of course best known for classics like [b:A Room with a View|3087|A Room with a View|E.M. Forster|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388781285s/3087.jpg|4574872] (which I plan to read soon) and [b:A Passage to India|45195|A Passage to India|E.M. Forster|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388177369s/45195.jpg|4574850] (which I read years ago, and is very good) etc. The Machine Stops
is so good that it makes me want to read more of his books regardless of genre.
This story is in the public domain and you can find a free e-book edition at Manybooks.net
and a free audiobook at Librivox
. Now all you need is an hour or so to soak it all up!
* The word "computer" does not appear anywhere in the text of course, 1909 y'know, that makes his prescience even more remarkable.