I have been in love with this story since I was told about it at University, so probably 2002/3? Every time I read it I enjoy it, and I read it a lot. A startling and prescient view of the future written by the wonderful wordsmith E.M. Forster in 1909. In the short story, separated in to 3 chapters, Forster explores the impact an “online only” existence will have on people, and nails more than a few predictions that have since come true – Skype being one of them (Cinematophote). It also explores the reliance on technology, which in the story ultimately replaces the need for any kind of interaction face to face, and the drastic consequence that such a social development might have. I love the image of the majestic Airships quietly passing each other at the roof of the world, an achingly beautiful sunset over the Alps drifting by underneath whilst inside the passengers sit with the blinds shut.
How we have advanced, thanks to the Machine.
The last paragraph is one of my all time favourite endings to a story; beautiful, wrenching, haunting.
It is one of the most engrossing and wonderful literary experiences I think I’ve had, and it’s free to read for everyone around the world.
Check it out here or go buy that book!