“If dogs could talk, perhaps we would find it as hard to get along with them as we do with people.” ~Karel Čapek
Although not considered a genre at the time, Čapek is best known for his “science fiction” works such as R.U.R., The War of the Newts, and The Insect Play. He introduced the word “robot” to the languages of the world in his 1920s science fiction play R.U.R., which stands for Rossum’s Universal Robots. Suggested by his brother Josef during a brainstorming session, the word robot is derived from the Czech word "robota" or "forced labor.” The futuristic three-act play features nonhumans who revolt, leading to the extinction of the human race. The play was an immediate hit, adding fuel to the public discussion of the 1920s as being the “machine age.” Surprisingly, Čapek considered the play R.U.R the least interesting of all his works, but it brought him the greatest fame. A year after R.U.R.’s release, he collaborated with his brother again on The Insect Play (Ze života hmyzu, 1921), a satire where insects stand in for human characteristics and an allegory on post WWI life. Some of his other renowned works include The Makropulos Affair (Věc Makropulos, 1922), dealing with human mortality, The Absolute at Large (Továrna na absolutno, 1922), presenting a vision of consumer society, and the novel Krakatit (1922), anticipating the invention of a nuclear weapons). Biographers cite his literary heirs to include such prominent writers as Ray Bradbury, Salman Rushdie, Brian Aldiss, and Dan Simmons. Through his writing, he investigated philosophical and political ideas.
Photo Courtesy: Karel Čapek Memorial
Karel Čapek and R.U.R announced in the news