by Walter M. Miller
“A Canticle for Leibowitz” is a very highly regarded work of post-apocalyptic fiction. It addresses science, spirituality, human frailty and redemption without ever sounding as pompous as this review is sounding. It has an unusual ending and addresses mutations, preconceptions about mutations. Walter M. Miller is the author of this amazing science fiction novel. His novel consists of three movements dealing with three different periods of time: the 26th century, the year 3174 A.D., and the year 3781 A.D.
Since the first one Fiat Homo unfolds approximately 600 years after the Fallout, a nuclear war that had taken place in the 1960’s, the Canticle covers thus a time span of about eighteen centuries. The war was followed by the Great Simplification, a backlash led by the “simpletons” initially against scientists, but which soon degenerated into a crusade against teachers, technicians or any “man of learning”. The Catholic Church was the only organization to battle this movement, protecting the persecuted. One of them was Isaac Leibowitz, a Jewish electronic technician. After converting to Catholicism and joining the Church, he became one of the monks whose job was to try to save as much knowledge as possible from the book-burning mobs. In short, it is the novel that has the ability to catch your mind until you finish it.