The best science fiction novel of all time.
“A Canticle for Leibowitz” is a masterpiece of masterpieces. It rightly considered one of the great works of the 20th century. Walter M. Miller did something transcendent with the novel.
It’s amazing how much critical acclaim the novel received considering how – let’s face it – downright hostile it is to the modern world. The second novella of the book, “Fiat Lux”, is just full of attacks on modern scholars (including an excellent line where a monk tentatively suggest evolution as a possible theory of human development, which is arrogantly shot down by the secular scholar).
The third and final novella is the most unabashedly anti-euthanasia work I have ever read. Contrast the bravery on display by Father Zerchi in “Fiat Voluntas Tua” with the cowardice of the protagonists of “On the Beach”.
Look at the world around us. Who do you think is braver? The man who says that when things go bad, we should kill ourselves? Or the man who says that even when we suffer, even when infants suffer (Miller doesn’t sugarcoat), even if we can’t see it, our suffering is for a higher purpose, our life worth more than the pain characterizing it at any given moment, too worthy of respect to be murdered at the whims of pain or doctors’ notes?
“A Canticle for Leibowitz” is a tour de force. Reviewing it is like reviewing “The Lord of the Rings”: To try and encompass all of it in a review is nearly impossible. Later I will try and focus on some of its most brilliant aspects.
If you haven’t read this book, put down whatever sci-fi book you’re in the middle of and read this first. It’s a masterpiece.