The War with the Newts (Paperback)
Orwell meets Vonnegut in the simultaneously hilarious and chilling masterpiece from the man who invented the word “robot”
This legendary but previously hard-to-get novel is a hilarious dystopian satire about the choice between ecological catastrophe and making your quarterly financial goals. As both a commentary on capitalism and the rise of fascism, as well as an early work of science fiction, it is one of the most important books of the twentieth century.
When the curmudgeonly sailor Captain von Toch discovers a breed of large, intelligent newts in far-off Polynesia, he realizes that, with a little training, they could be used as a virtual army of complacent pearl-divers in shark-infested waters. Then von Toch’s financial backers realize that the newts can be trained for all kinds of underwater civil engineering projects, or to build new islands, even to defend shorelines—wielding weapons, no less!
There’s only one problem: released from their previous environment, the newts replicate like, well, aqua-bunnies. And soon they aren’t so complacent anymore.
Acclaimed by many as the first dystopian novel, and others as the best book of science fiction ever written, Karel Capek’s masterpiece remains all that and more: smart, funny, and relevant.
About the Author
Czech writer Carol Capek (1890-1938) began his career as a newspaper columnist. A fervent opponent of Nazism and Communism, he wrote speculative plays and novels, such as "The War With the Newts," and "R.U.R.: Rossum's Universal Robots," in which he coined the word "robot," meaning "slave." Brilliant commentaries on the rise of fascism, they have also led to his being considered one of the founders of the sci-' and dystopian genres.
"A great writer of the past who speaks to the present in a voice brilliant, clear, honorable, blackly funny, and prophetic."
“I warmly recommend Mr. Capek’s fantasy of a world conquered by newts... He writes like H.G. Wells, but with more wit and less horror.”
“Capek’s satirical view of the abysmal craziness in Europe has something absolutely magnificent about it.”
“The War With the Newts will never fall into oblivion... Capek is perhaps the first European writer whose novels anticipated the gruesome vision of a totalitarian world.”
“It is time to read Capek again for his insouciant laughter, and the anguish of human blindness that lies beneath it.”
“Proliific and terrific.”
—George Bernard Shaw