Review of A Canticle for Leibowitz (1960)


Walter M. Miller Jr. (writer).

Read in 2018.

Nuclear post-apocalypse.

Despite the outright miracles—immortal Lazarus and the bicephalous Rachael Christ—the tone is remarkably good. In particular, Miller manages to present “moral” problems—such as the limits of euthanasia—that are neither purely religious nor resolved as Christian wish fulfilment. I enjoyed the combination of comically fallible, ignorant people, sour Realpolitik and freewheeling wasteland mutant post-apocalypse. With more ecology and deeper cultural change this would have been brilliant.

References here: Lucifer’s Hammer (1977), Always Coming Home (1985), Children of the Mind (1996), “The Pasho” (2004).

text fiction