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A Canticle for Leibowitz Mass Market Paperback – June 1, 1984
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“Angry, eloquent ... a terrific story.”— The New York Times
“An extraordinary novel ... Prodigiously imaginative, richly comic, terrifyingly grim, profound both intellectually and morally, and, above all ... simply such a memorable story as to stay with the reader for years.”— Chicago Tribune
“An exciting and imaginative story ... Unconditionally recommended.”— Library Journal
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The only character who appears in all three sections is the Wandering Jew--borrowed from the anti-Semitic legend of a man who mocked Jesus on the way to the crucifixion and who was condemned to a vagrant life on earth until Judgment Day. Miller resurrects this European slander and sanitizes him as a curmudgeonly hermit, a voice of reason in a desert wilderness, an observer to humankind's repeated stupidities, a friend to the monks and abbots, the biblical Lazarus, the ghost of Leibowitz (perhaps)--and even the voice of Miller himself.
Throughout "Canticle," Miller's search for religious faith clashes with his respect for scientific rationalism. For Miller, Lucifer is not a fallen angel but technological discovery unencumbered by a moral compass; "Lucifer is fallen" becomes the code phrase the future Church uses to indicate the imminent threat of a second nuclear holocaust.Read more ›
PART ONE: FIAT HOMO (5 stars) Tipped off by a mysterious old man (could it be Saint Leibowitz himself?), a nervous novice monk discovers an underground chamber that contains some highly significant relics, for which he suffers abuse from a fearful and sadistic abbot. Eventually, he is sent on a dangerous journey to New Rome, under constant threat from primitive nomads. The ending of this section is rather chilling and ironic, much like a Flannery O'Connor short story.
PART TWO: FIAT LUX (3 stars) This is the only section among the three that really is not able to stand alone as a self-contained story with a definitive ending. I suppose this could be considered the "Empire Strikes Back" of the "trilogy". The basis of this part is the mistrust that exists between religion and science, when a scholar visits the monastary to study the ancient Leibowitz documents and finds, to his astonishment, one of the monks has invented (or re-invented) the electric light. The old man reappears (remember, this is hundreds of years after the first story) as a rather significant player in this section, but, ultimately, this story is merely transitional.
PART THREE: FIAT VOLUNTUAS TUA (5 stars) I wanted to give this part 6 or 7 stars, but that would be cheating. This last section is absolutely brilliant.Read more ›
In addition to its unique take on historical processes, this book is essentially about the pros and cons of organized religion. In Part 1, humanity is stuck in the middle of several centuries of dark ages after a nuclear war, and once again the Catholic Church (or what's left of it) holds sway over a fearful and unenlightened society. Among the few records of the pre-war world that have survived are some inconsequential notes and blueprints by a minor scientist called Leibowitz. The church has made Leibowitz a saint, and here Miller appears to be commenting on the reverence of organized religion toward matters of doubtful authenticity and importance. Is religious belief built upon weak foundations? In Part 2 humanity is entering a new renaissance of knowledge, with religion being unable to adjust to the new enlightenment. In Part 3, humanity has reached a new technical age, but society is again oppressed by nuclear paranoia and mutually assured destruction.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book, a wonderful abd complex story, one of the most famous novels of the theological/religious science fiction genre.Published 4 days ago by Tony DaMommio
Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz lives up to its fame as one of the greatest works of science fiction. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Eric Maroney
It took a minute to understand the story, but I am glad I continued reading it. A must read.Published 1 month ago by Debilicious
I read the library binding version and the only reason I point that out is because I had two and the binding was not good on either. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James C Girasa
Not as good as I was led to believe, but a fine book nonetheless. It takes place over a thousand years of post nuclear war history so it necessarily lacks a central protagonist for... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike Archcraft
A Canticle for Liebowitz is as deep and thought provoking a book as you'll find in the sci-fi genre; it's one-of-a kind. Read morePublished 1 month ago by James G. Bruen Jr.
In this post-nuclear-war future (centuries from now), education is something despised. Along with wiping out the government officials (all of whom were blamed for the war), the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Joseph M. Reninger