Tuesday, March 17, 2009

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

A Canticle For Leibowitz, winner of the Hugo Award in 1961, is a post-apocalyptic tale in three parts. The novel begins soon after the flame deluge when the world has lost most of its technology. The second part tells of a new awakening, a second renaissance when much of our technology is being rediscovered. The final part, however, tells of how that technology is once again put to use to re-destroy the world. The one constant throughout the novel is the church. In particular, the novel concerns itself with the monastic Order of Leibowitz.

One would expect much from a Hugo Award winning science fiction novel. However, I found A Canticle For Leibowitz incredibly disappointing. Perhaps the post-cold-war reduction in the threat of nuclear annihilation makes the novel less frightening. Perhaps it was how each section skipped forward a millennium. Or perhaps it is just a matter of personal taste. Whatever it is, I found this novel quite difficult to finish, and would not recommend it to anyone.


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