Brandon Harwood's Reviews > A Canticle for Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
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's review
Oct 22, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, science-fiction

** spoiler alert ** A very enjoyable read. The ideas and concept of a circular history (returning to dark ages from high technology, and then through renaissance and back to high technology) was engaging. Still, I found the writing in the three sections markedly different and thus jarring. It was clear that this was three different stories set in the say era with some minor reoccurrence (e.g. the Wandering Jew, Brother Francis, the poet's glass-eye).

The first story, "Fiat Homo: [Let there be Man]," was jerky and sprawling. Also, it had a slight inconsistency when Brother Francis was asked to wander into the dangerous desert with an important church artifact. He was armed with nothing! I'm sure New Rome or the Abbey could have afforded some protection . . . a topic which Miller assumes in the second story without explanation.

The middle story, "Fiat Lux: [Let there be Light]," was my favorite and, I believe, the best written. In "Lux," Miller does an excellent job of creating a diverse cast of character and unfolding their resistance to what each represents. The Wandering Jew, The Poet, The Thon (scientist), the Church father, and the Church's engineer prodigy all represented interesting takes on the idea of knowledge and what it is to be used for. The coming war and political domination was a back-drop to these characters, but I think that it was done very effectively.

The last story, "Fiat Volunta Tua: [Let your will be done]," was interesting and engaging. Also, I thought that it was the most polished of the three. But, Miller became increasingly preachy in this third story. The point about war, euthanasia, and the danger of technology was trounced in front of the reader with little argument given for the other side. I agreed with some of Zerechi's point, but I am unsympathetic to an author that cannot let the issue be well represented on both sides. Kudos for bringing up these interesting points, however.

All-in-all, Canticle is a worthwhile read, just maybe not the top tier of good literature.
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Reading Progress

October 22, 2008 – Shelved
October 22, 2008 – Shelved as: fiction
Started Reading
November 5, 2008 –
page 309
November 5, 2008 – Shelved as: science-fiction
November 5, 2008 – Finished Reading

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