Staff Picks Book Review - A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

Friday, November 4, 2022
Author: 

A Canticle by Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.Walter M. Miller Jr. wrote A Canticle for Leibowitz fifteen years after serving as a soldier during World War II. The novel was inspired by Miller’s regret at having taken part in the destruction of Montecassino Abbey, the oldest monastery in Europe. This classic work of science fiction begins in the candlelit abbey of Saint Leibowitz, set in what appears to be the Dark Ages. That is, until the discovery of a dilapidated fallout shelter reveals that this story is not, in fact, situated in the Middle Ages, but in the aftermath of the “Simplification.” This anti-intellectual movement incited book burnings and championed radical illiteracy in response to a nuclear holocaust that brought the human race to the brink of extinction. Now, it is up to the Albertian Order of Leibowitz, a community of Catholic “bookleggers,” to safeguard the “Memorabilia”—a fragmented archive of human knowledge—until humanity is ready for it again. At once fatalistic and hopeful, A Canticle for Leibowitz cautions humankind to temper technological development with an unwavering reverence for the human spirit. Fans of Cixin Liu, Pierre Boulle, and Ray Bradbury will appreciate this thought-provoking tale that strives to liberate humanity from a cycle of destruction as old as time.

 

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Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Cat's Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut's satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apopcalyptic tale of this planet's ultimate fate, it features a dwarf as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny.

The Three-body Problem by Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem is the first chance for English-speaking readers to experience the Hugo Award-winning phenomenon from China's most beloved science fiction author, Liu Cixin. Set against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. An alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, different camps start forming, planning to either welcome the superior beings and help them take over a world seen as corrupt, or to fight against the invasion. The result is a science fiction masterpiece of enormous scope and vision.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires...The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning...along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montag enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames...never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think...and Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do!

Regeneration by Pat Barker

In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified "mentally unsound" and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon's "sanity" and sending him back to the trenches. This novel tells what happened as only a novel can. It is a war saga in which not a shot is fired. It is a story of a battle for a man's mind in which only the reader can decide who is the victor, who the vanquished, and who the victim.

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey—with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake—through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road has been hailed by critics as a masterpiece. The novel paints a bleak vision of a post-apocalyptic America; a land where no hope remains. A man and his son walk alone towards the coast, and this is the moving story of their journey. The Road is an unflinching exploration of human behavior-from ultimate destructiveness to extreme tenderness.

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