Carry on, this post will not give you any ideas.

This post will be separated into each piece. I would like to get my thought on paper about “The Machine Stops” before I watch Metropolis. So I apologize if the second part is a tad late.


“The Machine Stops”

Aside from giving me my new favorite catch phrase, this was an excellent read. I was amazing on how short this was but it was able to guide you into this amazing “what if”, while also telling a compelling story. The first thing that caught my eye was that it was ambitious space travel, but remaining on earth and expanding from there. Normally when I think of future I think of sky towers, full cities within buildings. Not the idea of people individually living in isolated hexagons. Yet this idea seemed comfortable. Something that would seem probably at the time. I guess the grand idea of space travel did not enter their minds at the time. Its scary to think that even at that time, we thought that humans would become to reliant on machines to even function normally. Being born immune to the sound of a loud machine. Being forced to live enclosed, but still managing to be social. The idea that “Ideas” have been demoted to something to trivial. Where something so beautiful as the Himalaya Mountains can not invigorate your mind.

Reading though the ending was here something clicked in my head. For some reason I was getting faint feelings that this was all familiar. That when i realized that a Video Game series called Portal was based on this.

That one section in the game takes place in the sequel to the first one. This is where you are woken up from a slumber to perform physical and metal wellness exercise. At one point specifically you are told you look at a picture of a mountain. Then asks if you have not been mentally invigorated listen to this classical music. I guess this is not really a big deal to most, but seeing something and realizing that “Oh this is what it is based on” makes it worthwhile.




The Machine Stops

What’s really interesting about this story is the time in which it was written like my fellow classmates mention on their post, this story was written in a time period where there wasn’t a lot of technology around yet. We’re talking about the early 1900’s and in order for Forster to write this story with so much futuristic detail is amazing.

This story is clearly taking about a time when the Earth will be unliveable and we as the human race will have to relocate somewhere else, and in this case we relocate beneath the earth and constructed this new way of living where we would fulfil everything we needed by just pushing buttons. Everything will ever needed would come to us by a click of a button. History as we know it would change everything we knew would be forgotten until one day someone would come along and questions “the machine” and try to do things that shouldn’t be done like go “outside” to the surface of the earth where its unliveable and try to explore it.

The issue that is now raises is that now you’re conflicted with a problem where you don’t know what’s true or not. The outside is supposes to be deathly but then again someone just went and explored it. Now in days we kind of lived in the same idea of getting everything we want from a click of a button. We got the “internet” and just imagine one day the internet is gone all our phone, computer shuts down etc. we would be face with a true disaster everyone would be freaking out, and that’s what people in the story were doing at the end once “the machine stops”.

My review of “The Machine Stops”

The Machine Stops, by E. M. Forster is a very moving story that makes you think of the direction that we as a society are currently moving towards. E. M. Forster’s vision of a cubicle society is not so far off from the truth from what we have today. As we see in the story line, The Machine stacked people on top of each other for the purpose of controlling them. Today’s high rise buildings imitate similar patterns. Apartments are stacked up one on top of the other, lined up in a perfect row of columns with similar ceiling heights and square footages. While at the helm of the building is a Manager that controls the temperature of the heat and air conditioning, monitors the water flow, and even the direction of each elevator with a touch of a button. He does this via a computer program that’s referred to as the Building Management System (BMS).

The Building Management System is a computer-based control system installed in buildings designed to integrate, control, and monitor the building’s mechanical and electrical equipment such as ventilation, lighting, power systems, fire systems, and security systems.

There are times for economic reasons that a building’s owner or Management Company may have to outsource the BMS portion of the operation to a contractor and the building is controlled by one person within the building or an offsite location in a tiny office or room many miles away.

E. M. Forster goes to great lengths to place his reader’s inside Vashti’s cold and impersonal room. Everything she needs is at a touch of a button or switch. Although she was use to the isolation and the thought of being around other people annoyed her she still finds the strength to leave her room and visit her son Kuno, on the other side of the world.

I compared the story to our current situation today and took into account the fact that we no longer need to leave our apartments or homes for anything other than fresh air, and even with that all you we need to do is open a window. Everything we could possibly need these days is at touch of a button (the computer keyboard that is). From essentials like groceries, and dry goods, to services like laundry and dry cleaning pickup and delivery, even home cleaning, are all at our disposal with just a touch of a button. Even our work force is working from home at a higher rate than ever before. Job and work station sharing has become the new standard in the Corporate world these days.

In order to save money and raise profits Corporations are steering more and more employees away from the average office work space. By working fewer hours in an office and working more from home, employers are lowering their overhead costs and raising their profits margins; we in turn lose our direct contact with people. The norm has become to contact people via emails and text, but we have lost the art of letter writing and direct human contact.

E. M. Forster’s work is a realization of what we can and would become if we as a society choose to isolate ourselves from one another. One day “The Machine” (The Computer) will take over our lives and decide and direct the way and how we should live. As Kuno, Vashti’s son said; “You know that we have lost the sense of space. We say “space is annihilated”, but we have annihilated not space, but the sense thereof. We have lost a part of ourselves.

Today we as a society are moving in the same direction as the people in the story did; let’s not make the same mistake.

The Machine Stops & Metropolis

Reading and Watching both peices I can point out that both give a view on what the future would hold. Both aim to make perfect societies. Perfect societies in controlling all humanity. Both works i can say make a timeline Metropolis would first following  would be the Machine Stops. The metropolis does paint a perfect city but still includes a working class. The city would be perfect for the wealthy. “The Machine Stops” takes a step forward in making all equal.

The Machine Would be classified as Technology merging with religion. If one were to try to bring back regular humanity, like having emotion or the process of thinking differently they would be threatened with “Homelessness” which is a form of death. I called the machine a form of religion because of how the machine portrays a better way of living. I have come to a conclusion that to much of anything is not good no matter how good the purpose is. In society people fight for equlaity and if that wish granted there would be one to be rebellious and throw a lot of things off balance wether in a bad outcome or good. “The Machine stops ” in a way reminds me of “1984” the book and to connect “Big Brother” basically is the “Machine”

In a crazy way in restoring the way humanity should be ,there was a tragedy, a loss of many people. In an odd twist tragedy creates future happiness.


The Machine Stops and Metropolis

In “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster, there is a vision of how the future may be very frightening. In this short story, their are two characters. One who’s name is Kuno and the other, named Vashti. I’ll spare the plot of the story as I’m sure you guys have already read it and I assume we’ll be talking about it in class. As far as my response to it goes, I feel as if it is a story in which it really foreshadows where we are today. In today’s society, many may say that our world is becoming smaller and smaller day by day. Take technology for example. Where were we 20 years ago? We didn’t even know what social network was. We had cell phones but they definitely weren’t “smart”. We couldn’t FaceTime someone from New York to Florida in 2 seconds like we do today. We couldn’t just go on Youtube and type in a movie we want to see. Yes, it makes things a lot easier and more convenient, but it also makes the world smaller and people more lazy. Now relating back to the short story, it sort of predicts the future in a way.

The people in the society have created a machine in which it takes care of their needs and they have started to worship it. They live underground where they are okay with living in little rooms which are basically prison cells. They’ve become so focused, so engaged in being satisfied with this robot that the lack of communication grows largely. It foreshadows how today’s world is. Now of days, all you see on the train is phones , phones and more phones. My dad (who is 63) actually hates how everyone today is glued to their phone and their are very little face to face confrontations anymore. It’s funny how although it is technically legal for the people in the story to go out side, they choose not to because they have become to lazy and confined with themselves. I actually just saw the movie Wall – E a couple days ago and it reminds me of it. In that movie there are people who live inside of a bubble and if they leave it, they might fall prey to harsh climates like predators and such.


The movie Metropolis, truth be told was a bit painful to watch for me because of the fact that is in black and white and a silent movie. It was a bit dull to me and very boring, but besides that, it was very interesting as for as the whole plot goes. It takes place in the future where the rich people rule the entire city while the poorer people have to work hard on making sure the machines that make the city function work. It is similar to “The Machine Stops” because the people have to work underground. The conditions were very inhumane where the boilers would become so hot that it would kill some workers because of it. Watching the movie now, to a lot of people including myself may seem a bit dull, but i can only imagine how mind blowing this movie was for its time. It was made in 1927, so to see all those beautiful visuals of that city must’ve been astonishing.

(testing revision history)

The Machine Stops and Metropolis

Well, I’m going to be completely honest. I have never heard of “The Machine Stops” or Metropolis before that our first class in Science Fiction. Now that I’ve watched the restored film and read the short story by E.M. Forster, I have to admit, both were equally well thought out and were most enjoyable for something made in the ‘20s. The two show that even more than half a century ago, before the advancement we have now, humanity had incredible thoughts about the future of civilization.

Putting aside the advancement of humanity, both plots in “The Machine Stops” and Metropolis, have one aspect that is completely similar. The human race is segregated, but in different ways.


Here’s one way:

In Metropolis, those who are considered higher class, live in complete tranquility above the surface of the Earth in the mega-city of Metropolis while those who are considered lower class, live in a sub-city beneath the surface operating a giant machine that regulates the power supply of the city above ground. During the film, all I could ever think about was one word: Control. Joh Fredersen, the city’s Master, did not care for the living state of his workers, he only wanted to gain more control over them so he can keep them in line. Doing so, he risked the life of another (Maria) to do so. Since Maria is the one person that keeps the workers in check after each shift change, Fredersen finds out about this. So, he asked the city’s Inventor, Rotwang, to use his latest creation, and to copy and upload Maria’s consciousness, but rewrite it to do what he wants. Unfortunately, what he received was some crazy hybrid of the original Maria (which was something I was glad to see; Fredersen was a jerk). In the end, a revolution was forged that changed everything for the best.

It has always been my belief that you cannot control another person. It’s impossible. Sure, you can convince another person to do something, but convincing and controlling are two different things.


Oh, and here’s another way:

In “The Machine Stops”, everyone is equal, however humans are slaves to their own creation; in this case, the Machine. As individuals, everyone is separated from one another, each in their own room, or ‘cell’ as it is described in the short story. They live below the surface of the Earth because the air above-ground is too ‘toxic’ to breathe. My interpretation is that the human race have lived below for quite a while and has somewhat evolved underground or even became more accustomed to the artificial O2 that the Machine creates for each cell. Though, it is still ‘legal’ to physically interact with others, civilization has grown lazy, and individuals prefer to stay within the confines of their own cell. If even one attempt is made to reach and touch the surface of the Earth without being permitted, you can be sentenced to death.


Hmm, about the music…:

Moving back to Metropolis, there’s one thing that I did not understand. It was the score of the film. Why was ’80s pop added into a silent film? I can understand sound effects and color being added into the mix, but I would have been more comfortable and into it if there was more of a classical music vibe. To me, some of the scenes just didn’t feel right with electric guitars and drums in the background and so I found myself with the controller in hand lowering the volume at some points because they were getting in the way of what I was trying to comprehend.

Response to The Machine Stops and Metropolis

For the first part of this assignment, i read the Machine Stops. It really was ahead of its time. I am not sure about what specific genre of science fiction it would be put under, but with the use of air ships, and mention of pistons and respirators, i can’t help but think of it as a Victorian Steampunk piece set in the future. I won’t go into great details on the plot as we’ve all read it, but its set in the future where mankind all live alone underground and a machine takes care of their needs. They’ve become so engrained to the help of the machine that they fear the sunlight, and humans are satisfied living in rooms that are basically cells. The way that people no longer interact with each other, and don’t do anything for themselves really touches on how society is becoming today. While boarding the train (pg. 7), a point is made to show that the man who drops his book is physically unable to simply reach down and pick it up. It really shows how bad they’ve become as people just trample “The Book” which is basically like a holy bible to them.

On page 8-9, when the attendant reaches out to steady Vashti, the outrage really emphasized the point that everyone is by themselves. The humans of this underground society worship the machine as if it’s their god, but will deny it at first. Her son is one of the free thinkers, so to, speak of society and wants to see whats out there. He travels to the surface and finds something pretty amazing. When i think of “The Machine”, i can’t help but think of the Matrix movies, and the drones/the white worm creature that is sent after him by the Mending Apparatus on pg. 17, remind me of the sentinels from the movie.

I think it is one of those works that really show how science fiction writing can predict the future. Many of today’s media seem to draw inspiration from it. When reading about the underground city, i immediately thought of the Morlocks from H.G. Wells’,  The Time Machine. In the story, as time goes on, people become more and more withdrawn from each other, and excuses begin to be made as to why interacting with the world and each other is unnecessary. As the machine breaks down, as all machines do, people begin to lose themselves something that can be seen today. We as a society have come to rely greatly on technology. I always laugh when I’m on the train and see the cell phones fly out of peoples pockets as soon as there is service. The people from this story remind me of the humans from the Movie Wall-E. All in their own little bubble and unable to do anything for themselves.

I own Metropolis but have not viewed this extended version. Its been almost 10 years since i last watched it and i think the added soundtrack really fits well with the overall feel of the movie. It was very trippy at times, and had a minimal techno sound to it, particularly around the revolution scenes. Really added a whole extra layer of awesome to a fantastic movie. The movie shares many traits similar to The Machine Stops (TMS), in that they both works that take place in dystopian societies. The difference is that unlike TMS, mankind isn’t weak. Instead, the different classes are far separated with high society leading lives of play, while the lower class have basically become drones.You get a sense of how bad things can get when people are ignored and basic human rights are ignored.

The hero of the story, Freder meets Maria, who shows him that the world is not all that it appears to be. He sees the struggle of the lower class, and wants to help them. His father is against it, and has him followed. A machine man is created and replaces Maria to sow discord among the lower class which is on the verge of revolt. There are many religious undertones in the movie, such as the Whore of Babylon, and the Tower of Babel. There is mention of the seven deadly sins and death, and we see Freder’s decent into madness once Maria is replaced by a machine. The Machine Man/fake Maria is basically the Whore of Babylon, and leads an uprising against Freders father. It really emphasizes how the weak and poor are just pawns in a revenge scheme of a jaded lover. The creator of the Machine Man, Rotwang, hated Freder’s father, to the point that this revolution was set in motion.

One thing that i took away from both stories is that in times of trouble, most of humanity reverts back to a more chaotic nature, where their survival is all that matters. In both pieces, humanity loses it once the technology is damaged. In the end though, at our core, we need the warmth and help of others to survive. In TMS, you could she that Vashti really wanted to be near her son, but she like the rest of the society had become so ingrained with being alone. In Metropolis, when it starts flooding, people realize what really matters and try to save their kids, and in the End, Freder becomes the Heart, the thing that is needed to bring his father and the workers together, as told by Maria.

Its very interesting to see how many famous films, games, books, and other media seem to take inspiration from these works.


The Machine Stops and Metropolis

Metropolis and The Machine Stops both have there own sense of science fiction, but they also have some common themes as well. The Machine Stops talks about a future where people live on air ships where everything is controlled by the machine and even though the earth is still there people don’t go there. However if people choose to go there they would need permission to do so. While i was reading the beginning of this story, it also reminded me of the intro of a video game named Fallout three. The game begins with people living underground and maintaining a society. In the game they also don’t wanna go out in to the world because of the dangers that are out there as told by there leaders like in The Machine Stops and if you go out in to the world in the game you are basically a traitor and you get the same treatment as in The Machine Stops. The machine from the story also reminded me of HAL from 2001 a Space Odyssey. They both seem to be able to control everything on the ships and they claim to know everything and whats best for the people. A common theme in Metropolis and The Machine Stops is possibility’s of the future. One describes a futuristic city that is powered by workers who are mistreated and the rich enjoy there lives and the other is life on a spaceship where people fear to step foot on earth. This raises another similarity between the two, which is that both let machines power them and run there lives. They both put trust in to machines because they believe that technology can help them, but it isn’t until both machines fall that people begin to open there eyes for what is truly going on in the world. It wasn’t machines they needed, but they needed each other to work together. In Metropolis during the scene where the machine man is becoming maria, i got a real sense of Frankenstein here just with a science fiction and futuristic twist with it. Also during the end scene where all of the technology had all ready fallen and they burn the machine version of maria and chant burn the witch, i feel the symbolism there was them being sent back to the dark ages. Both stories ended with their machines being destroyed and changing how people lived all together. One was sent back to the dark ages in a matter of speaking and the other killed all of it’s people because the machine stopped.  Both had there own science fiction twist and beliefs, but were so similar by the time it came to the end.

HW for this week (Th 2/5)

Hi everyone!

So good to meet you all today, and to get to know a bit about you and your ideas about science fiction. I’m going to take photos of your group (large!) post-it creations and post them to this site for next week 🙂

I know we went through a lot of material quickly at the end of class, so just a few reminders about what needs to happen before our next class on Thursday (2/5). You should check your homework (as always), on our dynamic course schedule.

1. Get an OpenLab account and join our course site. Follow these instructions here. You should do this ASAP (like today, so in case you run into any problems with your e-mail, you can go to the Help Desk–but definitely no later than tomorrow, F 1/30).

2. Review the Syllabus & OpenLab Composing rubric & guidelines/expectations, (both of which were also handed out in class), and browse through the rest of our OpenLab Course site.

3. Make your Introduction post (due by Su 2/1). You can find more info. about what I’m looking for here, and see the post I already made for myself. Here’s info. about posting/categorizing/commenting, and here is info. about adding links, images, and video to your posts.

4. Read about defining Science Fiction (links provided on the Schedule).

5. Read “The Machine Stops” (a short story by E.M. Forster) & watch Metropolis (the restored version), linked from our Schedule, & blog in response (follow the OpenLab Composing Guidelines for this first post). Make sure to categorize it appropriately (“The Machine Stops” & ‘Metropolis’)

*All response posts are due no later than the Tuesday night before (Thursday’s) class, so this first response post is due no later than coming Tu 2/3. Make sure to go back and read through the posts before class, and to comment on them (and reply to other classmates’ comment) to get some discussion going. You can use these comments to ask questions, debate ideas, reference other texts, build on someone else’s point, etc.

**Use the “Framework for Analyzing Science Fiction Texts” (handed out in class, and listed in Science Fiction Resources), the “Annotating a Text” (in Writing Resources), and “Elements of Fiction” reading (linked from the Schedule) to help you move beyond summary to thinking critically about these texts.

Whew! That’s it for now. I know it seems like a lot to do/learn, but once you get on OpenLab and get the hang of posting, it’s actually simple and fun. Please don’t hesitate to come see me in my office, Namm 520, today (I’ll be around for my office hours, Th 5-pm), e-mail me (, or “comment” (click “reply” to this post) if you have any questions. And, most importantly, happy first day of the semester, and enjoy the weekend ahead 🙂