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FREE PDF ⚸ A Canticle for Leibowitz ⚤ In Celebration Of The Publication Of The Sequel Saint Leibowitz And The Wild Horse Woman Comes This Special Edition Of The Classic A Canticle For Leibowitz , A Novel That Transcends Genre To Stand As One Of The Most Significant Literary Works Of Our TimeIn The Utah Desert, Brother Francis Of The Albertian Order Of Leibowitz Has Made A Miraculous Discovery The Relics Of The Martyr Isaac Leibowitz Himself, Including The Blessed Blueprint And The Sacred Shopping List They May Provide A Bright Ray Of Hope In A Terrifying Age Of Darkness, A Time Of Ignorance And Genetic Monsters That Are The Unholy Aftermath Of The Flame Deluge But As The Spellbinding Mystery At The Core Of This Extraordinary Novel Unfolds, It Is The Search Itself For Meaning, For Truth, For Love That Offers Hope To A Humanity Teetering On The Edge Of An AbyssA Timeless And Still Timely Masterpiece, A Canticle For Leibowitz Is A Classic That Ranks With Brave New World And This is a story about humanity It was born of the author s experiences taking part in the destruction of the monastery of Monte Cassino during WWII and the reasonable fear of nuclear annihilation that haunted many people for many years If in The Day of the Triffids there is a certain gladness on the part of the author that a society they didn t much like has been destroyed by a bright comet and wandering killer plants and now they can get on with rebuilding a new order much to their own taste, then in this book there is a search through faith for forgiveness and meaning Monte Cassino can be rebuilt in the author s imagination A new order of monks can, will, must, repeat the Benedictine mission There is absolution for the author Man is sinful, God is love God s love is so incomprehensibly generous that Grace is freely offered through the Catholic Church to the sinful creatures that can, will, must apparently, repeatedly destroy Monte Cassino.Every age has its own fears Miller s version of a nuclear war sufficiently destructive enough to end civilisation and create a few mutants but not so devastating as to end all life on the planet seems to me to be something that was only a prospect for a few brief years after the end of WWII In that sense the story aged as rapidly as the proliferation of nuclear weapons Perhaps the world turn upside down fantasies of J G Ballard or Brian Aldiss are better suited to our current situation when environmental change and the end of an oil economy offers the unenticing promise of an alien future.This is a book born out of guilt and the threat of nuclear annihilation in the 50s The book consists of three moments imagined by Miller from the future history of a world that has survived the above mentioned moderately destructive nuclear war Each moment is a separate story, each taking place largely in the same monastery Just as the Catholic Church survived the fall of the Roman Empire and played a role in the development of new polities and civilisations so we see over the course of three stories, each separated in time, the renewal or redevelopment of an increasingly sophisticated society Essentially this is St.Augustine updated The earthy Rome, the earthly city has fallen and will fall repeatedly because of man s inherent sinfulness, the city of God, however lives on offering the hope of Salvation A hope which in the final story is to be offered out beyond our planet to other worlds.Each story is centred on the monastery, and it s monks, who are devoted to the memory of Leibowitz, a figure so obscure that we never get to learn how he came to be regarded as holy In the first story scraps from the pre nuclear period are regarded as relics and a monk spends years creating an illuminated copy of a blueprint By the time of the second story set hundreds of years later new nation states have emerged in what was the USA Then in the final story complex technological states dominate the world which stands again on the brink of a catastrophic war While humanity in Miller s vision is stuck in a self destructive cycle the Church continues to offer hope of redemption and freedom from the inherent sin that perpetuates the vicious circle The centrality of the Church as only provider of salvation on Earth is underlined by the names of the Abbots, the first begins with an A the last with a Z The church is the Alpha and Omega, Christ s earthly body Possibly this is where the Wandering Jew comes in He appears in each of the three stories The story goes that the poor fellow was doomed to wander until the second coming of Christ This event might be taking place at the end of the final story with the pregnant woman who seems to be something both of a Mary and an Eve this is a very Christian and specifically pre Vatican II Catholic post apocalyptic story I find this book less impressive each time I go back to it Ideally I should have read it once and never seen it again The chapter titles Fiat Homo, Fiat Lux, Fiat Voluntas Tua like the names of the abbots seem at first clever but like the B Sharps in The Simpsons episode the cleverness wears thin at a steady rate And, yes, Fiat Lux Let there be light is the chapter in which the light bulb is rediscovered There is also my unwarranted dislike of the fact that the monk in the first story faints so often I m not familiar with pre Vatican II or US Catholic culture so I m sure a lot is passing me by like the significance of the Wandering Jew actually a reference that I find disturbing , or the use of Latin But ultimately this is an extremely constrained and bleak vision Although Monte Cassino is rebuilt by the earnest child, the mirthful toddler will knock the blocks down again, and again and again The final story in a way makes this worse Now not only is life on Earth a scratched record jumping back to the beginning, repeatedly but this same pattern is now going to be stamped on other worlds throughout the universe. I m not a Christian, but I live in a Christian society, and it s all around me Reviewing on Goodreads brings home how many authors can be classified as some kind of Christian apologist I have very different reactions to them At one end, I can t stand most of C.S Lewis I feel he s there with his foot in the door trying to sell me something, and I m just hoping that I can get him to take his foot away without being openly rude At the opposite end, I think Dante is a genius, and that The Divine Comedy is one of the greatest books ever written A Canticle for Leibowitz is towards the positive end of this spectrum It s a post World War III novel, where most of the US is a radioactive wasteland, and civilization has or less collapsed The only people who still keep any of the lost heritage of the past are a few scattered monasteries The book tracks the history of one of these monasteries over the course of several hundred years It s low key, moving, and often surprisingly funny Everything is informed by the simple, unquestioning faith shown by the monks They don t know why they re doing what they are doing, other than that it must be God s will The author shows you the ridiculous aspects of the story I particularly liked the illuminated parchments of circuit diagrams decorated with vines and cherubim And yet he is totally on the monks side, and after a while the reader is as well They re doing something important, even though they don t know what it is, and it makes their lives deep and meaningful Even when they die horrible deaths several of them do , they do it with dignity, knowing that it s the price that needs to be paid If Christianity were always like this, I guess I d be a Christian too It s a lovely book, that will leave you feeling better about people. Odd as it sounds, this is hot toddy, warm blanket comfort food for me Admittedly, that s not the typical description of this cynical, bleak themed, post apocalyptic SF classic However, the easy, breezy style with which Miller explores his melancholy material manages to pluck smiles from me whenever I pick it up This go around, I listened to the audio version which was recently released it was as mood brightening an experience as my previous read through.Despite dealing with dark, somber subject matter and ultimately ending on a tragic crescendo of humanity is stupid, savage and screwed, the journey of the novel is so filled with engaging characters and genuine humor that the surrounding depression and moroseness of the narrative theme just can t seem to grab hold of you At least, it never laid an accusing finger on me.Canticle is broken up into 3 Sections, each taking place approximately 6 centuries apart Beginning in the 26th century, 600 years after the Flame Deluge when nuclear buffoonery laid waste to civilization, the central focus of the story is a Roman Catholic monastery founded by a Jewish weapons engineer for the purpose of safeguarding and preserving human knowledge Shortly after the geniuses of the 20th Century decided to light up the globe like Hell s own 4th of July, the surviving residents of Planet radiation burn decided that brains and books were overrated and followed up the Flame Deluge with the Simplification, whereby they roasted all of the books along with any person smart enough to read or write one Isaac Leibowitz, after being part of the military machinery that microwaved the planet, made it his mission in life to try and preserve knowledge for the future Thus the Albertian Order of Leibowitz was founded The first third of the book introduces us to the post apocalyptic world and gives a back story on the Flame Deluge and the mission of the Order of Leibowitz Located in what was the Southwestern United States, the Order tracks down and smuggles 20th century memorabilia into the abbey a process known as booklegging while trying to avoid being killed and possibly eaten by the self described Simpletons roaming the wastelands The next section of the book takes place in the 32nd Century and shows humanity finally emerging out of the dark ages of the Simplification and beginning to once again embrace the knowledge This section focuses primarily on the growing feud between the resurgent secular scientists and the Church over the control and distribution of technology Similar to our own renaissance period, the story describes science and natural law going toe to toe with the info hoarding monks as powerful city states run by warlords play both sides for advantage Finally, in the 38th Century, the last section of the book shows humanity once again in the full flower of its technological brilliance and historical stupidity ready to give the Earth another nuclear facialNote I was going to use atomic facial, but the Urban Dictionary makes that term very inappropriate hereWar is coming and the forces of history are once again driving humanity like cattle towards the abattoir Thus we see the overarching theme of Miller s masterpiece the cyclical nature of history Miller s moral as a species we are too stupid not to truly learn from our past blunders and are doomed to continue to screw the pooch and the planet with our giant, atomic phalluses I know, not exactly a cheery, pump it up pep talk However, the tone and the narrative style are anything but dreary Miller does a wonderful job creating a world that is large and mysterious and yet instantly recognizable and relatable His characters are flawed, genuine and mostly decent and live through their times with a sense of purpose and optimism that belies the smothering embrace of history as it squeezes events into an all too familiar pattern Miller s ability to write brightly of such bleakness is truly extraordinary The story is dark, fatalistic and filled with pessimism yet the prose is light, hopeful and filled with optimism The word bitter never comes to mind In addition to the overriding theme of history s wheel like pattern, Miller touches on other serious issues such as euthanasia and the right to life, the place of art in society and the nature of war itself This is a towering science fiction work, but Miller s messages are deftly delivered behind a humorous, engaging future history In sum, this book is a light touch of morale outrage It s a cozy warning of man s stupidity It s a warm, comforting blankie for our inner cynic to snuggle with while we wait for the shoe anvil to drop Enjoy 5.0 stars HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION Winner Hugo Award Best Science Fiction Novel 1961 Brilliant A centuries old story following the evolving world after an apocalypse and centered on the monks of St Leibowitz, somewhere in the American southwest The monks keep ancient artifacts of science and technology Funny, sad, brutal, irreverent at times, but doggedly hopeful in its underlying themes, this is a science fiction gem but really transcends the genre to make a greater statement Scholars and critics have explored the many themes encompassed in the novel, frequently focusing on its motifs of religion, recurrence, and church versus state Miller also uses some recurring elements to help bind the stories together, demonstrating exceptional imagination and virtuosity.Miller has crafted a very good book, enjoyable for any science fiction fan and a well written work of fiction besides.