"A library doesn't need windows. A library is a window." – Stewart Brand

Jun 14, 2013

Read Something! A CANTICLE FOR LEIBOWITZ by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Science fiction / postapocalyptic fiction / literary fiction

In the centuries after nuclear apocalypse, human society rebuilds itself almost from scratch. Told in three sections, each set several centuries after the previous story, A Canticle for Leibowitz shows us the lives of three men in the Order of Saint Leibowitz, an order of monks dedicated to preserving what books and papers remain of the civilization that existed before global thermonuclear war destroyed much of human society and precipitated a violent backlash against the educated, technologically advanced culture that had made nuclear weapons possible. As Miller brings the reader into the hearts, minds, hopes, and dreams of relatively ordinary people, and as the world moves from a dark age through a new renaissance into another technological era, the unavoidable question looms: will humanity avoid its past mistakes?

Warning [and spoiler warning]: This is not a happy ending.

  • Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban - similar post-nuclear-apocalyptic Dark Ages setting, questions of what society would look like after a nuclear holocaust, themes of history repeating itself
  • Miller wrote a sequel, Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman.
  • 1984 - similar for sheer bleakness