Thursday, February 19, 2009

"War with the Newts" by Karel Capek

To me, the writer Karel Capek was always famous for being the originator of the term robot (although Wikipedia says he actually credited his brother with coming up with the term. Great, now I've been lying to people.). 

I never read the play, R.U.R, where he used that term. I have read something else by him, though, and I recommend it. It's a hard to find work called War with the Newts...but you can download the whole text now, so the lack of hardcopies shouldn't be an issue. I think there are several places where you can find it online, but here's one of them.

In this story, humans find and exploit a species of newt that is big enough and smart enough to be a useful servant. Then the newts get a little uppity and things go downhill. It's a great read that I heartily recommend, and it has aged pretty well, probably because it's a satire.

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