Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
This is an important novel. This is a fun novel. This is a serious novel. This is a scholarly novel. This is everybody's novel. Pity that A Canticle for Leibowitz has somehow become stuck in a SciFi category as opposed to a Great Fiction category. Written in the 1950s, Miller's tale of the future is as gripping today and ripens wonderfully with age. Tom Weiner's the perfect performing artist to tell us "A Canticle For Leibowitz". A GREAT STORY!
Normally this would not have been a problem for me, however, the constant details of Catholicism interfered with the story line. The continual references to Catholic life, ritual, and belief actually drowned out the story. The writing became too cluttered to enjoy.
One of the worse books I have ever had the misfortune of trying to listen to. This book is poorly organized, too long for the topic, way too much interspersion of Latin for the majority of us who do not know Latin, thus taking us out of the story. The “jumping around” in both story time lines and character “flashbacks,” made the underlying point of the story almost impossible to figure out.
Basically a good story premise, all that is has come before and “man” is not necessarily who we have been told we are. However, the convoluted and abbreviated, multiple interjections of fact and metaphysical conspiracy theories related to allegedly Roman Catholic knowledge withholding rendered obtuse, uninteresting, and unimaginative.
Not worth listening to even if free.
My first time hearing one of Tom Weiner's performances. I think Tom did a great job with an atrocious story.
I would like to see the plot of this story done in a creative and intelligible way, this could be an explosive, powerful, and thought provoking story line.
I only review my more favorites here.
Why and where is all the sci fi. A classic? Ok it has great vocabulary. Latin to impress us?
Ad-tedium (if that was a word)
Tom Weiner does an excellent reading. I'll look for other books narrated by him.
Everything else is horrible. I wanted to like this. I understand what the author was trying to do, but the story was so boring. I couldn't tell the characters apart after the opening section was over, which ended in the random killing of the only character who stood out and I could identify with. After that they were all the same to me and forgettable. 90 percent of this book is dry, never ending historical exposition. How did this win the Hugo? How do so many people like this?
I tried to force myself to finish it, but decided I didn't deserve this kind of pain. The only book I've stopped listening to.
I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.
Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s A Canticle for Leibowitz (1959) is a classic post-apocalypse science fiction novel. Like Edgar Pangborn's Davy (1964), it depicts human life long after nuclear war has destroyed civilization, decimated humanity, and ravaged the earth. Unlike the other two books, which are first-person narratives depicting the maturing of their narrators, Miller's is comprised of three parts occurring 600 years apart and featuring different protagonists belonging to the Catholic Abbey of the Order of Leibowitz, which is dedicated to the preservation of the Memorabilia, the remnants of scientific knowledge in the few books and documents surviving from the advanced civilization of the ancients (us).
The first part, Fiat Homo (let there be man), takes place in a dark ages North America six centuries after the fall of civilization in "the Flame Deluge," a nuclear war of Biblical proportions, and concerns the difficulties of the young novice Brother Francis to become a fully-fledged member of his Order, a process complicated by his accidental (?) discovery on a Lenten desert fast of relics belonging to the Beatus Leibowitz, the founder of the Order.
In the second part, Fiat Lux (let there be light), 600 years later on the cusp of a renaissance old Abbot Dom Paulo must deal with the incursion into the Abbey's traditions and Memorabilia of the Poet-sirrah, an irreverent gadfly with a removable conscience, and Thon Taddeo, a brilliant and irresponsible secular scholar, and the inevitable entanglement between scientific knowledge and political power.
In the last part, Fiat Voluntas Tua (thy will be done), set yet another six hundred years later as an international nuclear conflict escalates and another holocaust approaches, Abbot Zerchi must deal with an influx of irradiated refugees while deciding whether to order the departure of a spaceship full of Order members and children carrying the Memorabilia bound for Centaurus Colony.
The three parts--really novellas--make a composite novel tied together by the Abbey, a Wandering Jew, the Memorabilia, themes on knowledge, science, art, religion, responsibility, conscience, Caesar and Church, and the cyclic nature of human history (caused by our ever unsuccessful drive to recreate Paradise on earth). Miller's book casts most of the action and ideas through a Catholic lens, but it is no dogmatic screed. Each of the three protagonists, Brother Francis, Abbot Dom Paulo, and Abbot Zerchi, embodies Miller's ideal religion, which combines learning, questioning, pacifism, compassion, forgiveness, conscience, responsibility, courage, faith, and humor.
The novel possesses an appealing humor, a sympathetic irony that may be making fun of the characters or us, just like the smile on the face of a wooden statue of Leibowitz depicting the saint about to be burned after being hanged, a work of religious art whose truth informs all three parts of the novel. "It was such a small grin--sad, understanding, and, something else. Laughing at the hangman? No, laughing for the hangman. . . . In the last chalice, there could be a chuckle of triumph." Made of "a faintly dubious frown" and "laugh-wrinkles at the corners of the eyes," that Leibowitzian smile belongs as well to the Wandering Jew and to Miller himself.
Miller writes many remarkable scenes: Brother Francis dealing with bandits from the Valley of the Misborn, Abbot Dom Paulo visiting millennia-old Benjamin, Thon Taddeo being surprised by light, the Poet-sirrah learning the consequences of getting involved, Abbot Zerchi having to practice what he preaches, and Rachel giving Abbot Zerchi communion. There are also many intense dialogues, like one between Abbot Dom Paulo and the secular scholar Thon Taddeo about the need (or lack thereof) for responsibility for scientific discoveries, one between Abbot Zerchi and the Doctor Cors about the need (or lack thereof) for euthanasia, and one between a Lady Reporter and the Defense Minister about the cause and nature of some recent suspicious radiation-spiking events in the world (Miller perfectly captures the use of language by governmental spokespersons to patriotically deflect, deny, fabricate, and accuse). And the buzzards and shark aptly close the three parts.
There MAY be a few flaws in the book: a little matter is repeated from one part to the next (three novellas being assembled into a "fix-up" novel); the ironic and sympathetic humor of the first part decreases somewhat in the second and third parts (the two Abbots being wiser than naive Brother Francis); sometimes things get a little talky (this being a novel of ideas); and there is much untranslated Latin. And although American English in the future has changed into things like Alleghenian and Southwest, the narrator uses modern English, unlike, say, Russell Hoban's richly transformed future English dialect in Riddley Walker (1980).
But Miller is an outstanding writer of rich and witty prose, as in this early scene between desert-fasting Brother Francis and his confessor:
"The thought made him unhappy enough to permit him to be overcome by temptation, so that, on Palm Sunday, with only six days of starvation remaining until the end of Lent, Prior Cheroki heard from Francis (or from the shriveled and sun-scorched residuum of Francis, wherein the soul remained somehow encysted) a few brief croaks which constituted what was probably the most succinct confession that Francis ever made or Cheroki ever heard:
'Bless me, Father; I ate a lizard.'
Apart from his Thon Taddeo being off, Tom Weiner reads the audiobook fine. He does excellent voices for youthful and earnest Brother Francis, old and stressed out Abbot Dom Paulo, the cynical but hopeful Wandering Jew, bandits and barbarians, and the warmly sardonic base narrator.
Readers who like the post-apocalypse genre, classic 20th-century sf, and well-written, lyrical and satirical work about human nature and civilization, should like this novel.
was having very hard time flowing the story - i had few issues with this book
1) the religion - was very annoying
2) why do after war only dumb survive? if there was an atomic war ppl would not destroy everything and send society into stone age just to prevent next dessert or whatever the reason
3) for what this book tried to accomplish it was very short. Not enough character development, and all idiots at that...
I got this on discount, I want my money and time back
This is a dystopian combo of Scifi & Religion from an older time, having said that it is quite charming. As a man who once lived a lifestyle not so dissimilar from the monks, I can understand their faith and and their acceptance of science quite readily and find it quite realistic. While being a product of its time, it still stands well in ours and is a classic for a reason. I highly suggest it.
I go for the post-apocalyptic stuff - favorites - Earth Abides and On the Beach. This one didn't do so much for me because it spanned too much time and was disjointed. I found it difficult to follow the story and lost interest.
Not "better," but just a different experience. The narrator, Tom Weiner, does a simply beautiful job. I read A Canticle for Leibowitz originally when I was a teenager, and was delighted to see it pop up in my Audible queue.
The effortless way Miller compresses 1,500 years of future history into three linked volumes - not a bad trick in a book you can listen to in 10 hours.
Everything. Weiner performs the book perfectly, down to the different southwestern and midwestern accents.
Funny, but when I read the book originally 30 years ago, I believe it did just read it cover-to-cover.