I recent read Walter M. Miller Jr's. deeply loved and admired A Canticle for Leibowitz. Sci-fi reviews so often reference this published in 1959 story of post-apolcalyptic mankind's struggles, that when an old tattered copy was handed to me I had no choice but to dig in. I quickly became a fan.
Miller does an amazing job of telling three tales that give you a fairly clear picture of the origins and 1200+ year history of the Albertian Order of St. Leibowitz. The first occurs as the world still struggles, several hundred years after a nuclear holocaust has left the planet a wreck and humanity stupid. A small order of monks, founded by a guy named Leibowitz, works to preserve what few books and memorabilia they can preserve from the wrecked culture and hope to see long dead Leibowitz canonized for his efforts to save the books. The second shows us a medieval-ish time, several generations later, as science and culture of the prior world start to be interesting again... Welcome back politics! The third shows humanity having surpassed our current level of technology, but still unable to stop war and conflict. Through these three stories Miller shows us both the beauty and futility of humanity.
Books one and two were an engrossing read. Book 3 brings the story to solid finish but feels a bit like Miller was just not good at writing highly technologized cultures. While I was deeply engaged with he first two stories, I struggled not to breeze through some longwinded, apparently going no place streams in the third.
I really enjoyed it and can certainly see how this book helped shaped much of the science fiction I love!
A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
The Book of Miracles (also known as the Augsburg Book of Miraculous Signs) is a compendium of beautiful 16th-century illustrations of cosmic anxiety and apocalyptic surrealism. The new edition from Taschen, edited by Till-Holger Borchert and Joshua P Waterman, is a perfect introduction to the Renaissance obsession with signs, portents and the damned weird.
My publicist just found an extra box of the cool promotional Walkaway multitools, and she’s generously offered to give them to the next 100 people to reserve tickets to the May 7th Walkaway event at Chicago’s Royal George Theater, where I’m presenting with CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY creator Max Temkin (current ticket-holders, don’t worry, you get […]
My latest novel, Walkaway, was published today, and the Crooked Timber block has honored me with a seminar on the book, where luminaries from Henry Farrell to Julia Powles to John Holbo to Astra Taylor to Bruce Schneier weigh in with a series of critical essays that will run in the weeks to come, closing […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]