A Canticle for Leibowitz

My reading matter lately seems to consist entirely of classic science fiction books I haven’t read in years.

I just finished re-reading "A Canticle for Leibowitz" by Walter M. Miller.

In some ways, the book seems a very dated product of the cold war. On the other hand, it tackles some very basic aspects of human nature which give it a timeless relevancy.

On the face of it, it’s yet another post-apocalyptic scenario - a real shaggy dog story in science fiction. But in this case, the post-apocalyptic setting is just a backdrop for religous and moral debate.

In fact, I would say that this book might appeal more to scholars of the Middle Ages than to science fiction fans. The main characters in the book are monks and the setting is almost entirely within the walls of a monastary.

The book is set in the future, but the issues it raises are rooted in past conflicts. The separation of church and state, the moral responsibility of science, even issues like euthanasia are all addressed.

So not exactly an action-packed blockbuster, then. But it is a stimulating read.

I just wish I could understand all the latin that’s interspersed throughout the book.

Have you published a response to this? :