Walter Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a philosophically rich and intricately gorgeous book. What makes this philosophical SciFi novel so compelling is an endearing slate of characters. I wish I could read a whole other book about Brother Francis, and each of the Abbots is unique and engaging. The Canticle is full of philosophical and theological discussion, yet from beginning to end it is about the characters in the world.
A Canticle for Leibowitz isn’t a perfect book, but its imperfections can be valuable. The great deal of Latin shows how our world has grown, but even in the 50s it is meant to be somewhat alienating and gives something that roots the SF world. And, yet, that starts to break down in the third book. The world is becoming unhinged, and the third section shows that dissolution as a way of performing the plot.
This unique gem by Walter M. Miller, Jr. is very much in the “brilliant” category for me. I hope you enjoy the 10 Minute Book Talk, share the talk, and subscribe to my youtube channel. Mostly, though, I hope you read this book, which is both literary fiction and thoughtful SciFi at its finest.
I believe in open access scholarship. Because of this, since 2011 I have made A Pilgrim in Narnia free with nearly 1,000 posts on faith, fiction, and fantasy. Please consider sharing my work so others can enjoy it.
“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing.
This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box.
Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
I just listened to my first 10 minute book talk and you just sold the book to me, Brenton! I have been considering the Rule of St Benedict with a group of people during Lent. Our last three gatherings were online. I started Lent with a sense that Benedict was important at this time in our history. I had been influenced by Alasdair Macintyre and I had heard about Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option. I began by saying to the group that Benedict wrote his Rule for the generations that followed the fall of the Roman Empire. What might he be saying to us?
I can’t help but feel that A Canticle for Leibowitz might be a part of my own contemplation of this question. The Covid 19 experience might be the cause of a rapid propulsion towards the necessity of this work.
Great beard, by the way!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Alasdair Macintyre is a very interesting thinker — good choice.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Pingback: Saint Leibowitz in Narnia – Carlos Carrasco
I’ve read that book and been thinking about it a lot recently (especially after reading “The Children of Men” by PD James — see my comments on that book in my post, ‘Books I read in March’). I will be interested to hear your take on “Canticle of Leibowitz”. Did you know that there was an episode of “Babylon 5” that was an hommage to it?
Brilliant book talk! Excellent summary of & reflection on the book
Pingback: The Top New Posts of 2020 on A Pilgrim in Narnia | A Pilgrim in Narnia
Pingback: 2020: A Year of Reading: The Nerd Bit, with Charts | A Pilgrim in Narnia
Pingback: A Conversation about Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow with Michael Boyce (Geek4 Podcast) and Emily Strand (Potterversity Podcast) | A Pilgrim in Narnia
Pingback: Thoughts on Classic and Contemporary SF vs. Fantasy Hugo Best Novel Award Winners while Failing to Write a Review of a Great Book that was not Nominated | A Pilgrim in Narnia