A Canticle for Leibowitz, venerated science fiction masterpiece


The last story gets a bit preachy, but overall it is a good series. I’ve always thought this would be great for a low budget miniseries type adaptation on the Sci-Fi channel, before they were seduced by the lure of professional wrestling and ghost whispering.


Why, oh why is it such hit or miss on wether I can buy something as an ebook? I’ve been wanting this, as well as Zelazny’s Lord of Light and they just aren’t there.

I don’t know how legit this is, but it looks alright on the surface:




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I did get around to reading this recently, and was left a bit on the fence about it. It was well-written for the most part and left me suitably depressed after I finished reading it, but it’s hard to recommend.

Certainly, the back-cover blurb from the Bantam paperback is probably one of the most unrepresentative summaries I’ve ever seen – I don’t think the shopping list is mentioned more than once, and the Fallout Shelter is not regarded as any kind of a shrine. I guess I came in with the wrong expectations.

Apparently Mr. Miller eventually committed suicide later in life, and a sequel – Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman – was published posthumously. Has anyone here read it?

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Miller wrote a sequel, partially completed at his death, finished from his outline by another author, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman (1997). Maybe not a really necessary book, but not a bad read.

But, if all you’ve read by him is A Canticle for Leibowitz, I recommend a 1951 novella he wrote, “Dark Benediction.”

It’s set in a sort-of zombie apocalypse. Not really, but, an alien plague that transforms people, causing civilization to fall and the uninfected to scavenge in a post-apocalyptic world. But it leads to an unexpected conclusion for this genre.


That’s skiffy for you.

A SF reality show would be awesome, though probably not low budget.

This was a standard book that was commonly taught in high school back in the 1980s, when fears of nuclear war were high. It’s interesting that someone could get to adulthood without reading it – I’m wondering if after the Cold War ended if it was removed from the curriculum for no longer being relevant (not that the book isn’t worth reading for other reasons).


I dropped out of HS in 1989. I am fairly certain, however, it was not on the curriculum in Santa Monica.

As I began reading it, I thought it was told with a fun sense of absurdity. But as I progressed through it, the story seemed to take itself far more seriously than necessary. Ended with a great big “meh.”

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If the ads I’ve seen weren’t some sort of prank, they already have a SF “reality show”. It apparently involved one set of people who get to wear all white and live in art deco houses and another set of people who wear furs and sleep on rocks.

I think they were pretending to have brought in contestants from 7000BC and 3000AD and make them compete for a new Volvo or something.

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That last part where it’s the end of the world and the priest is bickering with the woman about her baby is a real drag.

While some readers might enjoy this one, it reminds me of my all-time favorite, Riddley Walker, by Russell Hoban.

A great read, though it requires a little work on the user end due to language deciphering requirements. Sort of, but not quite, like reading the beginning chapter of Flowers for Algernon.

Twelve people-- six men and six women-- are competing to establish a colony on Ganymede. It is week two, and already, one contestant did not survive the radiation challenge. This week-- we’re having a gardening challenge–can our crew rid the hydroponics bay of a mysterious blight?

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I actually have a bit of nostalgia for this book. I discovered it while in high school in the 80’s (it was not on the curriculum where I went) and a huge Vonnegut fan. It was a book that I found, used in Powell’s, on my own with no recommendations and enjoyed, which was a real pleasure.


There’s a public radio play available on archive.org.


I was introduced to the book by the excellent radio play that was broadcast on PBS in I think the early 80s? Had a hard time finding this for a long time, glad to see this piece of my youth up on Archive.org.

I first heard about it in Michener’s Space years and years ago during one of my periodic ‘NASA’ phases. The obnoxious-cowboy-with-a-heart-of-gold character refers to it in detail at some point, really talking it up. But it was only in the last year or so that I finally got around to getting a copy. It was good, but not as great as I was expecting.

“can kraut, pound pastrami, bring home for Emma.”

I think I’m quoting correctly?

[UPDATE: nope, I googled it. I’m close, but wrong. I like my version better. It’s what’s in my head!]

First read this in junior-high, 1982 or 1983. Bunch of times since, but not in the last 10 years? Pity.

I was remembering the monk thinking about how vision was affected by the empty/non-empty eye-socket just the other day.

I also think of a particular scene in the second section whenever I’m having a particularly difficult sh*t. The sacred and the profane, all in one nice little scifi volume.

I had no idea there was a follow up book. I’ll have to find that one. Thank you for mentioning it. I loved this - I loved the lengthy history covered as man goes through a cycle of destruction, survival, rebirth of humanity, maturity of humanity and back again. It is not optimistic sure, yet as a cautionary tale, of sorts, well done. I left off wanting to find out more about The Maiden we meet at the end.