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Audio Book Group: The Machine Stops

(105 Posts)
ElderlyPerson Wed 15-Sep-21 11:14:46

The Machine Stops


E. M. Forster


There is this version, with a male voice reading:

Subtitles available.


There is this version with a female voice reading.

Subtitles available.


A dramatised version: Though possibly abridged.

Subtitles available

Silverbridge Wed 15-Sep-21 13:30:35

Thanks again for these links. I have listened to the BBC Radio adaptation but would like to read the book before I comment further. I'm not keen on the voices in either of those recordings so shall pass on those.

Amazon are winging the book (£2.70) to me as we speak so I'll read it over the weekend and be back with some thoughts next week.

joannapiano Wed 15-Sep-21 14:34:25

I read this book as a teenager and never forgotten it. So relevant for this age of the Internet.

ElderlyPerson Wed 15-Sep-21 16:43:50


I read this book as a teenager and never forgotten it. So relevant for this age of the Internet.

How did it seem when you read it as a teenager please?

Since then your experience of life has increased and depending how long ago you were a teenager (and I am not asking!) the technology around us has changed enormously or even more!

Did it seem relevant back then to how things were back then?

lemongrove Wed 15-Sep-21 18:46:40

I may get the book, I like E.M Forster. Thanks EP

Am enjoying the reading of the R.C. Sherriff book on radio 4 this week .....wish his books were still available.

Silverbridge Wed 15-Sep-21 19:02:32

They are lemongrove My county library has a good selection including A Fortnight in September. You can buy it via Amazon too.

lemongrove Thu 16-Sep-21 14:47:44

Thanks Silverbridge ?

Silverbridge Thu 16-Sep-21 15:08:05

My copy of The Machine Stops has arrived. It's a mini Penguin paperback and contains not just the title story but a second one called The Celestial Omnibus so two for the price of £2.70.

The Machine Stops is only 56 pages long so a short read. Back next week with some thoughts and really just bumping this thread so others might see it and join in.

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Sep-21 15:16:17

Thank you Silverbridge, I am going to read it too, as I haven’t done so before.

ixion Thu 16-Sep-21 16:05:19

So it's not purely an audio Book Group, as the title suggests?
Perhaps this might put people off exploring further?

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Sep-21 16:17:39

Well, I do have the audio book already (the Audible one).
I was introduced to the story via a radio 4 play in 2001, which Silverbridge kindly linked to on the first thread about this.
Personally, I don’t think that it matters.

J52 Thu 16-Sep-21 16:49:20

I read it when I was about 15. It really engaged me with possibilities that I hadn’t really thought about before.
Quite a few ScFi dramas seem to have taken the concept and elaborated on it.
A good read, as it’s stuck with me all these years.

Silverbridge Thu 16-Sep-21 18:14:48


So it's not purely an audio Book Group, as the title suggests?
Perhaps this might put people off exploring further?


This is really just a try out. The book title came up in another thread which was initially about something else and - as threads do - the conversation digressed.

Someone, FannyCornforth, I think, mentioned having heard a drama adaptation some twenty years ago and I found it was currently available to listen to on Radio4Extra.

EP found some audio readings. That's how it came about as an audio book group.

But listening to the play or short story isn't the only way especially for those with impaired hearing or those who simply prefer words on a page.

In the spirit of inclusivity, it doesn't matter whether one listens or reads so long as it produces an interesting discussion.

I hope you decide to join in.

ElderlyPerson Thu 16-Sep-21 18:51:50


So it's not purely an audio Book Group, as the title suggests?
Perhaps this might put people off exploring further?

Well that was the intention as distinct from another book group for a different book that was to be started by someone else.

So I suppose that it is better perhaps to think of it as a book group where a necessary feature is that a free to listen recording is available on YouTube or otherwise, but that that does not in any way impede anyone obtaining and reading a hardcopy version, yet that the discussion is such that people using only the audiobook version are not out of the loop in some way.

Nandalot Thu 16-Sep-21 19:01:26

Did anyone else do this in their GCE as part of a book of short stories that also contained ‘The Destructors’ ,’The Secret Sharer’, ‘Odour of Chrysanthemums’ and ‘The Rocking Horse Winner’?

FannyCornforth Thu 16-Sep-21 19:16:54

I think that you would agree that it would be great if we discuss the book in all it’s forms.
This thread seems to be gaining traction; it would be a shame to stop the momentum.
I know that you like the more ‘organic’ threads smile

2020convert Thu 16-Sep-21 19:36:37

Brilliant thread. I love audio books as I don’t sleep well and they are good company in the hours of darkness (as long as they are good). I’m lucky to have my library service supplying them foc, but as they’re becoming more popular they are less available. Some have a waiting list well into 2022.
I do listen to Sounds (BBC) but sometimes struggle to find things there. Therefore will look forward to recommendations!

humptydumpty Thu 16-Sep-21 20:29:16

I remember we had a book of short stories for O-level, of which one was The Machine Stops - made a lasting impression on me.

ElderlyPerson Thu 16-Sep-21 21:33:07

FannyCornforth wrote

> I know that you like the more ‘organic’ threads smile

What does that mean? I have no idea what you mean by that!

ElderlyPerson Thu 16-Sep-21 23:03:09

Are you meaning what I would call "free-flowing and not bothered if it goes off-topic"?

FannyCornforth Fri 17-Sep-21 02:54:02

Yes! smileThat’s exactly what I meant.
I meant ‘organic’ as in growing. Sorry, EP, I should have been more clear.

Marilla Fri 17-Sep-21 09:41:04

Book Group is a great idea. But are some Grans going to be discussing the book and characters before others have competed the story?

Marilla Fri 17-Sep-21 09:41:28

Completed the story!

FannyCornforth Fri 17-Sep-21 09:50:37

Hi Marilla, I hope that you enjoyed it!
Shall we wait a few days until we discuss it?
Silverbridge suggested next week, so shall we say discussion starts Monday 20th September?

(also, neither ElderlyPerson or I are Grans! smile)

Just in case anyone might think that Silverbridge or I are high jacking ElderlyPerson’s thread; we did discuss it amongst ourselves on the thread mentioned previously, and it was decided that we’d ‘share’ the thread.

FannyCornforth Fri 17-Sep-21 09:52:35

PS Marilla, did you listen to it or read it?