Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Canticle For Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz
Title: A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.   

Pages: 320

How it was obtained: Library.

Time spent on the "to read" shelf: 1 week

Days spent reading it: 2 weeks

Why I read it: I heard it was a story about life after a nuclear holocaust. That's almost always right up my alley.

Brief review: The world has plunged itself into darkness once again. Nuclear war broke out between America and other nations in the world. From the rubble civilization attempts to rebuild itself. At the heart of this renewal are monastic enclaves which continue to carefully copy any books or documents they can. So as this novel opens, one monk finds a cave filled with documents that date back to just before the world literally blew up. He finds original blueprints from the hand of Leibowitz, who is about to attain sainthood in the church.

A Canticle for Leibowitz explores three different eras after the atomic war. Each one has a unique look at how the world plummeted, but also how it is recovering. These three eras are all based around the abbey that Leibowitz supposedly founded.

What I found interesting about this story compared to other end of the world stories was the clear imprint of the cold war on the author. The book was written in the 1950s, and you can feel the fear and anxiety in every page. This book brilliantly explores the consequences of Mutually Assured Destruction without dwelling too much on the past. A Canticle for Leibowitz does what every good science fiction novel does: it paints a unique world in the future and addresses current world problems within that world. I enjoyed the setting of the monastery, but sometimes the Latin was difficult to follow.

I would definitely recommend this book for sci-fi fans, and people who enjoy a good end of the world book.

Favorite quote: "Are you going to submit to the yoke, son? Or aren't you broken yet? You'll be asked to be the ass He rides into Jerusalem, but it's a heavy load, and it'll break your back, because He's carrying the sins of the world." "I don't think I'm able."

"To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they become the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law—a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security."

Stars: 4 out of 5.

Final Word: Rewarding.

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