A Canticle for Leibowitz

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Walter M. Miller Jr.: A Canticle for Leibowitz (Hardcover, 1990, Little, Brown)

Hardcover, 288 pages

Published Nov. 8, 1990 by Little, Brown.

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4 stars (3 reviews)

Highly unusual After the Holocaust novel. In the far future, 20th century texts are preserved in a monastery, as "sacred books". The monks preserve for centuries what little science there is, and have saved the science texts and blueprints from destruction many times, also making beautifully illuminated copies. As the story opens to a world run on a basically fuedal lines, science is again becoming fashionable, as a hobby of rich men, at perhaps 18th or early 19th century level of comprehesion. A local lord, interested in science, comes to the monastery. What happens after that is an exquisitely told tale, stunning and extremely moving, totally different from any other After the Holocaust story

30 editions

Three interesting post-apocalyptic stories

5 stars

I originally read this just before Anathem was released as Neal Stephenson's book was going to have a similar idea. Which is sort of true, and sort of not. It's set in three eras after a nuclear war in the 1960s, the first in a barely-subsistence age, secondly in a medieval time, and thirdly with a tech level greater than our own..but still with nuclear weapons and tension.

The focus point of all three is the abbey, and none of the stories are cheerful. Re-reading it, the third one was a particularly hard read. The monks are Catholic and the third story deals a lot with the ethics of euthanasia. Speaking of Catholicism, there's more Latin in the book than you might originally expect.

The moral of the book is as unsurprising as it is heavy.

Canticle for Leibowitz

4 stars

Content warning spoilers for the third act

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rated it

4 stars


  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction