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A Canticle for Leibowitz | [Walter M. Miller]

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature—a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 1961 Hugo Award for Best Novel and widely considered one of the most accomplished, powerful, and enduring classics of modern speculative fiction, Walter M. Miller’s A Canticle for Leibowitz is a true landmark of 20th-century literature - a chilling and still-provocative look at a postapocalyptic future.

In a nightmarish, ruined world, slowly awakening to the light after sleeping in darkness, the infantile rediscoveries of science are secretly nourished by cloistered monks dedicated to the study and preservation of the relics and writings of the blessed Saint Isaac Leibowitz. From there, the story spans centuries of ignorance, violence, and barbarism, viewing through a sharp, satirical eye the relentless progression of a human race damned by its inherent humanness to recelebrate its grand foibles and repeat its grievous mistakes.

Seriously funny, stunning, tragic, eternally fresh, imaginative, and altogether remarkable, A Canticle for Leibowitz retains its ability to enthrall and amaze. It is now, as it always has been, a masterpiece.

©1959 Walter M. Miller, Jr. (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Chillingly effective.” (Time)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (1237 )
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4.1 (1091 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 05-22-14
    Nothing really matters Ottawa, Ontario, Canada 05-22-14 Member Since 2014

    Rob Thomas

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very original story. No Mad Max, though."

    I've never read another story quite like this one before. That truly earns it five stars.

    Because it's a post-apocalyptic story, though, I imagined it might involve more adventure and drama than it did. The fact it did not disappointed me somewhat, but the unique nature of the story helped me finish it and still be satisfied.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dorathea 12-21-12
    Dorathea 12-21-12
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    5
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    "A great listen for a great read"
    What made the experience of listening to A Canticle for Leibowitz the most enjoyable?

    I had read this book a long time ago and was always impressed by the author's grasp of the essential destructiveness of humans. Listening to this was a refresher on the bleak possibilities in a post-nuclear holocaust future. A morality tale, well told.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This was not a book of characters, so no one stands out. It was a book of circumstance and plot.


    Have you listened to any of Tom Weiner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Will we never learn?


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kara Davis Orem, UT United States 12-12-12
    Kara Davis Orem, UT United States 12-12-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Weird. Enjoyable listen, but cerebral"
    What does Tom Weiner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice performance is great... the different characters, the Western accents speaking latin, etc. Unexpected and as strange as the story. Reading it would be a completely different experience.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Not really; it's pretty disjointed and isn't really a narrative story. I found myself thinking more about how Miller came up with it rather than aspects of the story.


    Any additional comments?

    Strange, but worth a listen.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 07-18-12
    Ted Lancaster, PA, United States 07-18-12 Member Since 2010

    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.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A GREAT STORY! Classic, Reverberates, Sizzles"

    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!

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 08-10-12 Member Since 2015

    I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.

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    "Good premise, but that's all"

    I got more joy out of reading the wikipedia synopsis of the book than I did from the book itself.

    Miller seemed far more interested in showing off his eclectic vocabulary than in telling the story. It felt like some sort of bizarre creative writing experiment at first. Later he either toned it down, or I got used to it. Either way, it nearly put me off the novel.

    The opening scene of the novel is the only one worth listening to, but then it goes down from there- and stays down.

    I guess the audience is supposed to appreciate the brilliantly subtle way that Miller unravels the events of the past for us, but really I was so bored by the central story lines that it was hard to even care about world Miller was imagining them in.

    I REALLY wanted to like this book. I mean, I stuck it out until the end, despite pretty much hating it by the end of the second chapter. Post-apocalyptic sci-fi is one of my all time favorite genres. Unfortunately this book contained none of the danger and drama that I had imagined were inevitable in this family of stories.

    Ultimately, the problem with the book is that there isn't a single character in here that listeners can come close to carrying about; they're all boring, ignorant, quite folks who like to keep to themselves and study. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Minsc and Boo 12-03-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Maybe it's just me"
    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The narrator was good with the different character voices, but the overall tone was too dry and succinct - as if the narrator was reading the evening radio news instead of a story.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Between the overly verbose conversations and droll tedium there were parts where the story progressed. The continuity between the ages and church vs. state dilemmas are interesting, but you really have to dig through the fluff for it.


    Any additional comments?

    I purchased this book on the many five star recommendations that I read, only to be disappointed.

    Unlike some of the other 1950-60's books I have read that stood up (i.e. Heinlein's and Aasimov's books), this one did not stand up to the ages well - and I'm not just talking about the use of Latin.

    This story could be half as long and accomplish just as much, but it was written in a time when literature was ornately over-worded (i.e. Lord of the Rings, Atlas Shrugged, etc.) so I feel this story fit the generation from whence it came. By today's standards though, it's a bit of a tired slog :(

    5 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Penn Valley, PA, United States 05-28-15
    Jeffrey Penn Valley, PA, United States 05-28-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Meh--there's much better out there"

    I don't mind that this story -- written in 1959 -- gets the whole "end of the world" thing wrong. We now know that the world won't end in an atomic war, but with climate change and zombies, of course.

    What I do mind, however, is that the whole story kind of sucks. There's a group of selfless, dedicated, intelligent monks who do everything in their power to safeguard some undisclosed "memorabilia" through centuries of ignorance and unrest. And what is this precious "memorabilia," you ask? No one ever says, but it sounds like just a bunch of worthless engineering diagrams or circuit drawings. Big deal--and certainly not enough to restart civilization after it was ruined in a nuclear apocalypse. That's really not much of a story either, unless you think that a propaganda piece about the Catholic Church makes for a great sci-fi story. For me, I need a bit more, thanks.

    And what in the heck is up with the narration? One character in the book--supposedly a brilliant scientist and scholar of the future--is given the accent of Foghorn Leghorn! And the other characters are not treated much better. The narration was very distracting in my view.

    Anyway, I did finish the book just to see if it gets better at the end (spoiler alert--it doesn't). I say, don't waste your time and get a better book to listen to. Life is short, and zombies will be here soon!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer San Diego, CA, United States 05-28-15
    Amazon Customer San Diego, CA, United States 05-28-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Masterpiece!"

    Science fiction, philosophy, religion all woven into an intriguing story. Masterpiece of literature. Hilariously funny in places, as serious as life in others.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 03-26-15
    David 03-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Fun"

    In some ways it's very dark. I tried to write a book report on it back in high school, but it defies definition. The story is fun. Latin is good, but probably better understood in written form.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 03-12-15
    David 03-12-15
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    "Tedious"
    What would have made A Canticle for Leibowitz better?

    The story must have a purpose but I couldt waste 10 hours of listening while it got to it.


    What was most disappointing about Walter M. Miller’s story?

    Not really science fiction more like a fairy tale


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Heavy eyelids


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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