If we ever launch an anthology of classic literature with an Escapological flavour (which we might!), E. M. Forster’s short story, ‘The Machine Stops’ would be at the forefront.
The story describes a future society in which—natural resources having been squandered—the citizens live inside a gigantic life-giving machine. In the tradition of such tales, a man grows tired of this simulated life and seeks escape.
Thanks to Tim for the recommendation.