Humans discover a mysterious, docile, intelligent species, capable of speech, which has been minding its own business on a small island in the Pacific. So they promptly exploit it, abuse it, enslave it, turn it into a commodity, then into a means of radically altering the environment, then into a military tool (this is from 1936), then are surprised when things don’t all work out for the best. Capek knew his humans pretty well.
The style reminds me quite a bit of Bulgakov, i.e., about as good as it gets. God bless the 50-cent book sale rack at my parents' library....Continua
Although stories of visitors from another planet became a cliché in mass media today, the notion of visitors’ invasions and its intention of inhabiting were once very fresh ideas in genres of Sci-Fi. Most people credit H.G. Wells for having written the first stranger invasion story, “The War of the Worlds”, but many of them also applaud War With The Newts as one of the masterpieces of Sci-Fi by Karel Capek.
Karel Capek is regarded as one of the great figures of modern Czech literature along with Franz Kafka (author of The Metamorphosis), Milan Kundera (author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being), and Jaroslav Hasek (author of The Good Soldier Svejk). Capek is also acknowledged as the founding father of Czech Sci-Fi.
War With The Newts portrays that human discovers a remote island of outsized amphibians, Newts, in Indonesia. The newts are captured, bred, and enslaved, but deservedly and eventually rebel.
Capek shows no interest in technology, rather, he raises the concerns and warnings along with the issues of misuse of Science, grounds of humanity, and future of human civilization.
Some parts of the story contain very long footnotes which can grow irritating sometimes. The way too resourceful footnotes address overwhelming ideological perceptions of Capek in architectures of Science, Politics, and Social Norms. However, all these footnotes also provide some very interesting facts that make the story even more appealing in most of the time. Capek’s writing is highly amusing, quick moving, and bitterly mocking that makes me roll on the floor laughing despite a dash of undertones sprinkled.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this story, here’s a good place to start with before you decide to grab one from bookstore: