In the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, the rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by ...Show synopsisIn the depths of the Utah desert, long after the Flame Deluge has scoured the earth clean, the rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of knowledge. By studying the Holy Relics of the past, the Order of St Leibowitz hopes to raise humanity from its fallen state to one of grace. But is such knowledge the key to salvation? Or the certain sign that we are doomed to repeat our most grievous mistakes...?Hide synopsis
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This is a great book. The first couple pages grab your attention. I'm not always a huge fan of apocalyptic fiction, but this book was amazing and I loved it. It felt realistic, and was not stereotypical or predictable. This is an awesome fresh new look on the old theme of what happens after nuclear holocaust. The story starts many many generations after disaster. There are three divisions in the book each 600 years later. It is amazingly well written, and something everyone should read.
In the tradition of science fiction from the 1950's, "A Canticle for Leibowitz" is philosophical in bent. The plot, such as there is, is loose. Three novellas set roughly 600 years apart from each other in chronological order tell the story of a monastic order whose founder, a technician named Leibowitz, was instrumental in smuggling and preserving what books were not destroyed in the anti-intellectual fervor that took hold of the world after nuclear holocaust wiped out most of society. We see the kernels of society begin to pull themselves together in the immediate aftermath of the Fallout, then a hopeful middle point wherein a small scientific awakening occurs, and finally, a second end to civilization.
Walter M. Miller Jr. here looks at the ancient role religion played in advancing scientific knowledge long before the current adversarial climate took over. The monks in the order take it upon themselves to safeguard what little written material remains from prior to what they call the "Flame Deluge," even if they do not understand most of it. They instinctively feel that humanity is preserved in these pages of human thought and innovation, and know that what little hope they have for the reconstruction of society relies on these works. Miller examines here whether humanity will ever be capable of waking up from its cycle of self-destruction, and the result is an elegiac, mournful cycle of stories. I left this book feeling saddened yet strangely moved.
'A Canticle for Leibowitz' comes with impressive credentials: great critical acclaim and popular success and recommendations from some of my favorite authors (Douglas Adams, for one). But I have to say that I was disappointed. The novel has certainly dated: the description of a post apocalyptic world does not seem so original any more, the allegory is obscure at times and painfully obvious at others, and both the plot and the prose occasionally get meandering and tedious. Also, one can never really get a true feeling for the people and places being described ? overly broad strokes replace what needed a far more detailed approach. And, rather anti-climactically, the ?spellbinding mystery at the core? of the novel turns out to be quite a damp squib; in fact even less than one.
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