- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Catbird Press; New edition edition (Feb. 1 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0945774109
- ISBN-13: 978-0945774105
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 295 g
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #300,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
War with the Newts Paperback – Feb 1 1990
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The visionary Czech writer Karel Capek (1890-1938), one of the century's great authors, first gained fame during the 1920s and 1930s when his short stories, novels, satires, journalism, children's books, and plays made him the most important writer in his native country. War With the Newts, one of the great dystopian satires of the century, is about the discovery by a Dutch sea-captain of a race of giant, intelligent, talking, and walking newts. When humans begin to exploit the newts as slaves, the creatures organize to fight the oppression, taking up arms and challenging the humans for control of newt destiny and freedom.
From Library Journal
Issued to celebrate the centennial of Capek's birth, these three volumes testify to the versatility and timeless appeal of one of the first Czech writers to achieve world acclaim. Toward the Radical Center contains, in new or revised translations, a selection of Capek's charming short stories, essays, and travel sketches, as well as four of his major plays, including R.U.R. , a brilliant drama about the destruction of humankind by artificial people, Rossum's Universal Robots. The dangers of runaway technology, militarism, and greed are further explored in Capek's hilarious satire, War with the Newts. When Captain van Toch discovers giant, intelligent newts on a remote island off Sumatra, he teaches them to use knives to find food, fight off sharks, and collect pearls for him. When he dies, his partners turn his friendly venture into a huge international business with the newts (rapidly growing in numbers) and with the tools and supplies for them. The newts are taught to read, to build massive underwater projects, and to protect the shores of the countries that bought them. They become an essential and powerful part of the industrial machine, and thus warnings about their potential danger to humankind go unheeded. In the end the newts start to blow up continents to create new shores for themselves, while governments argue impotently. Issued in a new, vibrant translation, this immensely entertaining novel has lost none of its relevance and spark. Considered Capek's masterpiece, the trilogy Three Novels explores the plurality of a man and his life, the impossibility of understanding all facets of truth. In Hordubal, events leading to the murder of a brooding, solitary farmer in a small Carpathian village are presented from the perspective of the victim, the villagers, and the police. Although Hordubal's wife and her lover are convicted, their motives and actions, as well as Hordubal's, remain partly mysterious. Meteor concerns an unknown, unconscious man brought into a hospital after a plane crash and attempts by a nurse, poet, and clairvoyant to penetrate the mystery of his life. The stories they derive are convincing and at points they converge, yet the real truth cannot be known. In An Ordinary Life , a retired railway official's attempt to examine his life reveals powerful and complex aspects of his personality that have shaped his seemingly ordinary life. If you must choose, select War with the Newts , but all three volumes are recommended.
- Marie Bednar, Pennsylvania State Univ. Libs., University Park
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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What happens when MANKIND is the Newts' new enemy?
Is this a warning about exploiting the workers? Or a warning against mankind losing what makes us human? Or maybe a warning against relaying on machines too much? Or is it a warning about how man fights man? No matter what the warning IS it IS also a GOOD SCIENCE FICTION book. If you like Wells you will like Capek. Also lots of humor.
After reading those books, you will have an insight in czech prose, and you will thank me for mentioning it :)
Okay, now serious... This book is about war with the newts (that is what the title says, is it), but it wouldn't be much of a book if it were only that... If you like to think trough major philosophical, and ethical problems, considering Politics, Policy, Antrophology, education, sexualness this is the book you should read.
Problems beforementioned are integrated in the hillarious story with such marvel that often you'll stop and wonder, asking yourself: "Where was I thinking, what was I doing"... It's funny, It's intellignet, it's very serious once you give your thought to it... what else do you need... Great introduction to czech prose
Capek was certainly important to science fiction, an accomplished writer, and possessing of generous wit. I found myself laughing out loud from time to time despite the overly serious undertones contained throughout. The middle section dragged a bit with its profuse and long footnotes, which grew irritating after a time. I know Capek was being as "authentic" as possible with a work of fiction, but I myself am glad that it has not been much emulated since. There are a few obvious religious parallels and of course political messages. But at the heart, it is an enjoyable science fiction story. I consider three stars to be a good rating for a good book, and I encourage skeptical readers to push their way through it.
The newts, discovered far away in the Dutch East Indies by an eccentric captain, are spread around the world with funds from a wealthy industrialist syndicate. They learn how to use tools, even how to speak, and soon they are used not only for commercial but also for military purposes. Afraid to fall behind in the underwater arms race, leaders ignore the possibility that the newts one day might rise up against their masters...
Although Capek is addressing difficult and serious questions, his writing is amusing to the point of hilarity. The style of writing is mock-serious and satirical. Here is a writer who knows people, and has the ability to bring out the comedy within the great human tragedy. I recommend this book to anyone with a sense of humor and a concern for the future of civilization.
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