(Who told us that we wouldn’t get much to read in future classes T_T)
The Machine Stops is a science fiction, in early 20 century, which is based on several assumption of the shape of future society, generally like:
- The earth has been polluted, unsuitable for human beings to live
- The freedom of where to live, where to go is abandoned, people only live in their own “cells”, limited space, single-person room, no choice of the living location and under the earth
- A strong, powerful government has taken over the world, make sure that all people read what the government want them to read, live and travel as what the government required them to.
- Physical touch to other people is difficult
Based on those elements, the conflicts can be easily established. Just like other fictions, the conflicts between individual willings to society power, impressively.
For a fiction, I would give it a high score. But for a science fiction, I would give it a doubt, since it conveys a signal as:
Machine, or technology, will strip people’s right of freedom
In our view, the life in this fiction is quite tragic, and most of people will intuitively guilt the technology, or the development of machine. But should the technology be blamed, just like the title implied that MACHINE SHOULD STOP? I totally disagree with that. The guilty part should be the politics, should be the people who built such a society structure, but not the technology itself.
But this is not so strange that the author will post things like that, since in 1909, the rapid-development of electricity made the society changed a lot, lots of people lost their territory because of the industry revolution, transportation like airplane and train broke into the leisure life, and air pollution even killed thousands of people in London. Such a society changed people’s attitudes towards technology, and I do believe that’s the inner reason why the author will create a future world like that.
However, since technology is created by human-beings, and still under the control of the human beings (Though I don’t know if the machine will be independent several years after), the life currently is not so bad as the fiction described. However, mobile phone, SNS just created a invisible “cells” into our generation, and I’m not sure if we would have a day that people refused to touch and feel people physically.