Because everyone loves a good dystopic novella. And this one is particularly relevant!
The Machine Stops was written in 1909 and Forster’s vision is really quite amazing considering most people didn’t even own a phone at the time. Forster wrote of a world in which humans rarely leave their personal apartments because all of their needs are provided by “The Machine.” Communication is conducted via an Edwardian conception of the web cam, music and literature are provided instantaneously. It’s eerie because with the technology available to us today it IS possible to live in almost complete isolation. Except instead of “The Machine” providing our every want and need, we have the internet, AIM, delivery services, etcetera, etcetera. Well written and a fairly quick read. Classic. Included in the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.
No need to purchase: http://brighton.ncsa.uiuc.edu/prajlich/forster.html