Man awakes to find futuristic city dead


New Member
May 5, 2008
I'm trying to find out what this short story is. I had remembered it to be by J.G.Ballard but it's not in the complete short stories. I read it in a sci-fi short story collection in the eighties.

The story is about a man who lives in an enclosed futuristic city where everyone lives in a seperate room, but with constant social contact with all the other inhabitants via some kind of virtual reality. One day he wakes up and the power is down, the city is dead. Eventually he breaks out of his room/cell, he perhaps has never left it before. I can't remember the ending!...

Any help would be gratefully received!


It sounds very like E.M. Forster's famous story "The Machine Stops", which is one of those older stories that seems to be constantly reprinted. There are copies available online since it's so old; a quick Google search will find one.
It also may be an old John Campbell story (cant recall the name) or a Chad Oliver story (again, sorry, cant remember the name).