“Huddling Place,” Clifford D. Simak, 1944 – In the far future, an agoraphobic scientist is asked to travel off-world to save a friend’s life. The friend is a brilliant, alien philosopher, and his death would be a tragedy for both cultures. He wonders if he can leave his home, where distance-spanning technology enables him to function despite his condition. He prepares himself to leave, but his robot butler sends the spaceship away. It is implied that the scientist will not be able to muster the will to leave a second time, so his friend will die.
Comments: As noted in Wikipedia, alludes to the trend toward “suburbanization, first manifest in the mid-20th century, has continued, such that many (most?) humans on Earth live in isolated enclaves.”
Author: Wikipedia: “Clifford Donald Simak (August 3, 1904 – April 25, 1988) was an American science fiction writer. He was honored by fans with three Hugo awards and by colleagues with one Nebula award and was named the third Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1977.”