Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Machine Stops

I have come across an eerily prescient short story by E.M. Forster from 1909 about a dystopia in which Vashti - the protagonist - is initially content with her life, which is spent alone in her room generating second-hand 'ideas' and communicating them to others via "the machine".

Let me think, of whom am I reminded?

Imagine, if you can, a small room, hexagonal in shape, like the cell of a bee. It is lighted neither by window nor by lamp, yet it is filled with a soft radiance. There are no apertures for ventilation, yet the air is fresh. There are no musical instruments, and yet, at the moment that my meditation opens, this room is throbbing with melodious sounds. An armchair is in the centre ........ read on......

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