The Machine Stops has been credited (with some justification) as being the first story to predict the internet, and social networking. More importantly it is uncannily and disturbingly accurate in predicting the social consequences of such developments.
It is also an uncannily accurate prediction of so many of the characteristics of early 21st century life that are of concern to those who value tradition and view progress with scepticism.
It was written as a counter to the socialist utopianism of the science fiction of H. G. Wells, of which Forster very strongly disapproved.
It’s one of the first great dystopian science fiction tales and an intriguing anticipation of the soft totalitarianism of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World.
Here’s the link to my review.