Saturday, April 24, 2010

Best satire ever written featuring an amphibian race? or: bargain buys for the Kindle

Surfing the Kindle store this afternoon I came across Karel Capek's War with the Newts (1936) - a sci-fi satire about a global war between humanity and an intelligent race of newts - for $1.05. (You can read the book online for free, here.)

Although I consider myself a book geek, I must confess that I had never heard of this book, despite being vaguely aware that Capek is credited with popularizing the term "robot" in his earlier work R.U.R. (1920) which can also be found for 1.05 on the Kindle (and Dover offers a $2.50 pb edition). I should have heard of it, however, given that Robert Zubrin, author of The Holy Land, one of the books on my list of books I've wanted to read but haven't yet, cites War with the Newts as an inspiration.

Unrelated to sci-fi, but another interesting book (play, actually) I came across for the Kindle is Socrates by Voltaire for $0.99 (It can be read on-line, here, if you scroll down.) I don't know much about it other than that a play about Socrates by one of the great satirists and leaders of the Enlightenment (I would expect Voltaire to use the trial of Socrates as an allegory) is something I'm excited to read.


Mark Vuletic said...

I read R.U.R. last year. Interesting play. One of the most interesting things about it, from my point of view, was that ńĆapek's robots were biological—synthetic, but not a hint of metal parts.

Hume's Ghost said...

Right, when I heard about that it reminded more of the workers in Fritz Lang's Metropolis. Also: of this Dewey quote from Democracy and Education: "Plato defined a slave as one who accepts from another the purposes which control his conduct. This condition obtains even where there is no slavery in the legal sense. It is found wherever men are engaged in activity which is socially serviceable, but whose service they do not understand and have no personal interest in. Much is said about scientific management of work. It is a narrow view which restricts the science which secures efficiency of operation to movements of the muscles. The chief opportunity for science is the discovery of the relations of a man to his work — including his relations to others who take part — which will enlist his intelligent interest in what he is doing."