Karel Čapek

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Karel Čapek (Czech pronunciation: [ˈkarɛl ˈtʃapɛk]  ( listen)) (January 9, 1890 – December 25, 1938) was one of the most influential Czech writers of the 20th century.


Life and work

Čapek was born in Malé Svatoňovice, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary (now Czech Republic).

He wrote with intelligence and humour on a wide variety of subjects. His works are known for their interesting and precise descriptions of reality, and Čapek is renowned for his excellent work with the Czech language. He is perhaps best known as a science fiction author, who wrote before science fiction became widely recognized as a separate genre. He can be considered one of the founders of classical, non-hardcore European science fiction, a type which focuses on possible future (or alternative) social and human evolution on Earth, rather than technically advanced stories of space travel. However, it is best to classify him with Aldous Huxley and George Orwell as a speculative fiction writer, distinguishing his work from genre-specific hard science fiction.

Many of his works discuss ethical and other aspects of revolutionary inventions and processes that were already anticipated in the first half of 20th century. These include mass production, atomic weapons, and post-human intelligent beings such as robots or intelligent salamanders.

In addressing these themes, Čapek was also expressing fear of impending social disasters, dictatorship, violence, and the unlimited power of corporations, as well as trying to find some hope for human beings. Čapek's literary heirs include Ray Bradbury, Salman Rushdie, Brian Aldiss and Dan Simmons.

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