Beans's Reviews > A Canticle for Liebowitz

A Canticle for Liebowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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's review
Jun 12, 2012

really liked it

When I read this description of this book, I immediately thought of Neal Stephenson's Anathem, which is probably my favorite piece of fiction (or at least among my top two or three favorites) I've read in the past year or so. While the long game of this book was unlike anything I'd ever read, and was really interesting, I wanted more details about the individual time periods and characters (even though that wasn't the point - but I wanted questions like, who was Emily and what was behind hatch 2? answered - or for that matter, the old guy with the burlap, and what else was in the Memorabilia) - which I think spoke to the world-building. I'm also a total sucker for post-apocalyptic/nuclear scenarios, and it was especially interesting to read something written at the time when the end of the Cold War was nowhere in sight (in that respect it reminded me a fair amount of Alas, Babylon, which was kind of weirdly one of my favorite books for a long time when I was 12 or 13). Also super cool and hilarious - Miller's image of a post-apocalyptic reconstructed-human-knowledge computer.

The total lack of female characters (except for Emily and Mrs Grales/Rachel) was, of course, infuriating, but I went into this with the expectation that a sci-fi novel about monks written in 1959 was very, very unlikely to pass the Bechdel test.

Also, I feel like I probably missed a lot, since I wasn't really looking for subtle meanings or anything - and because my Latin is a little rusty (aka non-existant). But I still really enjoyed reading this without the intent to analyze it as capital L Literature and was bummed to have it come to an end. And now I want to reread Anathem.

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