[Book Review] A Canticle for Leibowitz

A Canticle for Leibowitz / Walter M. Miller, Jr.

The back of my copy in hand lists an excerpt from The New York Times review, "Angry, eloquent... a terrific story."  I can't disagree with that.  A Canticle for Leibowitz is bleak assessment of humanity in a continual cycle of self-destruction and struggle for survival, with strong themes on information literacy, morality, and anti-intellectualism.

I think I would have been far happier reading it... maybe last year.  However, it is definitely worth reading and I'm glad I got to it.

Discussion Fodder:
  • This book in many ways is about cycles and patterns.  What cycles and patterns did you notice (themes, civilization, narrative, etc)?
  • Does the Church as an archivist change the preservation and passing on of knowledge, and how does that manifest?  What are the differences between Science as a secular or as a religious practice?w
  • What do you think of the permutations of society and cultures present?  What about taboos and superstitions?  Concepts of ability and disability?
  • How do you think the understanding and conceptualizing of a past modern civilization stand?  What misconceptions and misinterpretations stand out?  What makes sense?
  • Let's talk about anti-intellectualism.  How does it resonate throughout the book, how does it resonate with real life?
  • Is the old man the same person in each part of the story?  Does he signify anything?
  • What determines right vs wrong?

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