In 1966 the BBC aired an adaptation of Howard’s End and A Passage To India author’s E. M. Forster’s 1909 science fiction story The Machine Stops as part of their Out of the Unknown series. Riffing on H. G. Wells’ “A Modern Utopia” and depicting a post-apocalyptic underground society more than two decades before Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Forster foresaw the internet and video messaging and the coming subservience of man to the machines that he had created but no longer understood, and had lost the skills to maintain. The ‘social relevance’ of such tepid contemporary fare as the Twilight Zone and Star Trek withers and dies under the weight of this BBC Radiophonic Workshop scored direness.
Above You. Beneath You. Around you, is the machine.