On Karel Čapek’s Prophetic Science Fiction Novel ‘War With the Newts’

John Rieder in The MIT Press Reader:

Karel Čapek’s “War with the Newts,” published in 1936, one of the greatest pieces of science fiction of the 20th century, is a prophetic work. When I say prophetic, I mean it has the gift of seeing the present for what it is — and not only seeing it but also telling the rest of us what we have been looking at. “War with the Newts” said to its contemporaries that their civilization was living on borrowed time; it explained how ultimately suicidal the shortsightedness and injustice of their way of living was. Eighty-five years later, after the Trump administration erased “climate change” from its official websites and the world digs furiously deeper into the pit of fossil fuel dependency, Čapek’s apocalyptic vision has if anything become even more eerily, powerfully unsettling than it was in the context of Europe teetering on the brink of the Second World War.

More here.