In Isaac Asimov’s short story, “The Machine that Won the War”—which is indeed a very short story, only about two thousand words long—we see foreshadowing that starts off subtle, becomes quite overt, and finally bursts free from foreshadowing into straight-up revelations and confessions.
Let’s touch on a few examples.
First, consider the story’s title. Titles are often rich with multiple meanings, and here Asimov invites us to consider what the story will be about. Immediately, we understand the title’s literal meaning: we perceive that the story will focus on a machine that waged, and subsequently won, a war. But let’s go beyond the literal. Although a machine can be a physical object, what else can it be? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a “machine” can be any figurative system or organization that exerts control over a complex situation. So, I suggest that the three men in the story are the real “machine” that won the war, and that the title of the...
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