Penguin Central European Classics

War with the NewtsPenguin Classics are about to publish a new series of translated works by authors from Central Europe. Headlining the series is War with the Newts by Czech writer, Karel Čapek, the man who invented the term “robot”. Penguin’s blurb for the book states:

… Karel Čapek’s darkly humorous allegory of early twentieth-century Czech and Fascist politics. A colony of newts is discovered in Sumatra, they are taught to trade, use tools, but also to speak. It is clear that this new species is ripe for exploitation, but the humans have given no thought to the terrible consequences of their actions.

Check out Larry Nolen’s review here for further information.

Fortunately for other writers, Penguin’s publication is not a new translation but rather a reprint. That means it is not eligible for our awards. However, we applaud them for bringing this science fiction classic back into print.

The other books in the series are far less fantastical though, judging from this Guardian review, speculative fiction readers may well enjoy the work of Sławomir Mrozek.

Further details about the books Penguin are publishing can be found at their website.


  1. Thomas Bernhard is Kafkaesque, and an influence on writers like Thomas Ligotti and Michael Cisco. They haven’t chosen his weirdest book, though.

    They ought to do Stefan Grabinski and Bruno Schulz, among others.


  2. Both Čapek and Mroźek are well-known writers. I’d like to recommend truly excellent stories by Ota Pavel. They are not sf nor fantasy, but unforgetably beautiful and tragical recollections of Ota Pavel’s childhood. Don’t miss this book.

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