The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster

. 1 min read

So the strangest thing happened: I had an hour to kill the other day and decided to read one of the books I got for Christmas: E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops.

I know, right. What are the odds of me randomly reading a short story just like that, without planning it first. Zilch.

Anyway so yeah I sat down and read it and here we are, drawing comparisons between it and Anthem and wondering how anyone could have predicted the Internet and video calls and life of self-isolation freaking 113 years ago.

The main character of The Machine Stops, Kuno, sounds exactly like your typical Randian hero: he disregards the norms of society and decides for himself what it means to be good, or courageous, or human, or wise, or alive. He even sounds like your typical Nietzschean Ubermensch - someone who creates his own moral code.

It's inspiring as hell. Simple and elegant.

The lesson? Question the rules you've always taken for granted, and think for yourself. **mic drop**

(As a sidenote, an interesting topic of discussion would be whether The Machine Stops is one of those books where the person of POV and the protagonist are two different people, like in The Great Gatsby. The protagonist is always the one with the longest character arc, so which is it: Kuno or Vashti?


P.S. Apparently another book that's often compared to Anthem is We by Yevgeny Zamyatin - and what a coincidence, I also got that one for Christmas. I guess I'll read it next.