A Canticle for Leibowitz, by Walter Miller

I don’t really know what to make of this book. It’s a series of three stories fo unequal brilliance. The first story felt quite a marvel, because the idea of a new Dark Ages after nuclear destruction is an awfully compelling one, and one on which a strong foundation can be built. The second story lost me a fair bit: it was tied up in the drearily detailed politics of a post-apocalyptic America, which was not nearly as interesting as the human aspects. Likewise the third story kind of lost its purpose, although it had some merit: a story about saber-rattling among nuclear nations and the need to escape from eath for preservation of a culture could just as easily be set in the present day. I suppose that was part of the point, that history runs in cycles, but it was an awful lot of story for such a worn moral. The parts I did like about the third story was that it took a human and personal viewpoint of the global crisis. The close focus was what made the first stroy work, and the wide focuss made the second story not work, IMO, so it was nice to be back to individuals again for the third.


About Jake
I'm a mathematics professor at the University of Louisville, and a geek.

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