The Machine Stops

The Machine Stops’ is a science fiction short story (12,300 words) by E.M. Forster – first published in 1909.          

Caramany is a commune in the Pyrenees-Orientales department in southern France.   13h century – watercolour/gouache 20200607_134303‘The story describes a world in which most of the human population has lost the ability to live on the surface of the Earth.     Each individual now lives in isolation below ground in a standard room, with all bodily and spiritual needs met by the omnipotent global Machine.      Travel is permitted, but is unpopular and rarely necessary.    Communication is made via a kind of instant messaging/video conferencing machine with which people conduct their only activity the sharing of ideas and what passes for knowledge”. 

Saorge is a commune in the Alps-Maritimes department in southeastern France – 14th century. 20200609_122845I highly recommend that people read this novella.     To say that it is prophetic is an understatement….and remember it was first published in 1909. 

Carrieres-sur-Sein  a commune in the Ile-de-France region in north-central France. – watercolour/gouache 13708331_10154243834580396_2480180553671285849_oI have chosen to show sketches from some of the ancient villages I have had the good fortune to spend time in.

They remind me of where we have come from…..and illustrate it wasn’t so long ago that we humans lived without electricity let alone smart phones and computers!    

Caramany – Southern France – watercolour/gouache 20200604_122355These places remind me of the importance of Community.      

The very existence of such towns and villages is based on communities sharing customs and working together – passing down knowledge from one generation to another, from learned experience. 

Caramany Southern France.  – watercolour20200520_182835The history of these villages and towns teach us everything we need to know about sustainable living and much more. 

We have seen more changes during the past fifty years than in the past five hundred years, and the pace of change continues to speed forward, fuelled by greed.     

Lock Down has taught us (I hope) that we don’t need to charge through life…..that we can and should stop to smell the roses.      That using our hands and creative abilities is key to mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.  

 Stay well, stay safe and keep all creative juices flowing.

Janet 🙂

35 thoughts on “The Machine Stops

  1. Hope found in M.E.

    I love your paintings and such a thought provoking post. I love the two books by EM Forster that I have read, but I’m not familiar with ‘The Machine Stops’. Most definitely prophetic. I imagine living in the turn of the century with far more industrialisation, it must have raised awareness of things to come. Great post.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you very much and I agree with you re the turn of the century raising awareness…just as the pandemic will do. I have read this little book several times and always find something new and fascinating in it. janet

  2. snowbird

    Wow, what stunning paintings! That book sure was ahead of it’s time! Yes, this last year has given us many opportunities to slow down and enjoy life and to adapt to new ways of doing things. A wonderful

  3. Content Catnip

    The Machine Stops sounds absolutely fascinating, I’m looking for it online now, thank you so much my friend for letting me know about it. This fits in very well with my other environmental project I am doing xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you dear David. I am writing on one of the most perfect spring days ever….and have enjoyed a few hours in the beautiful garden at the new community centre just minutes from my studio. It feels so good to be out in the fresh air enjoying the company of others….albeit socially distanced. . We are expecting snow showers by the weekend, but that’s OK…I will take it as it comes and enjoy:). I hope all is well with you and the family and that your creative juices continue to flow.X

  4. davidjrogersftw

    What a perfect day you had, and how lucky you are to have such a community center so close. That’s wonderful.A little snow isn’t bad. It is not yet four and I’ve been up doing meritorious things for hours:: writing and doing laundry. I like doing both except I don’t like folding turthlenecks, The weight one has to bear in life.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Thank you for starting my day with a good laugh:). My bugaboo when it comes to laundry are duvet covers….oh how I had them:). As you say what a weight to bear…excuse the pun:). After doing laundry this morning, I will spend several hours at the community centre…making hay whilst the sun shines:)


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