A canticle

A canticle of Lebowitz by Walter Miller, is a classic post apocalyptic novel that takes place after a WWIII type of event called the Flame Deluge.The book follows a order of monks, that follow Saint Lebowitz,over multiple generations. The book could be split up into three sections. The first is set 600 years after a nuclear holocaust that has destroyed most of the US. There has been a backlash against knowledge and a dark cloud of ignorance has set over the world.This is called the simplification, During this time anyone who is intelligent or has been trained in anything really is sent off to be protected and join casts of monks. Issac Edward Lebowitz is a survivor of the war and converts to Catholicism. He starts his own sect that is devoted to the preservation of knowledge and the safe keeping of books.These monks are called bookleggers and memorizers  . They store books in kegs and transcribe books from memory. He is later martyred and put up for saint hood by the church. This is where we find our order of Lebowitz and the monk Francis. Francis is young and adventurous. He meets a pilgrim who is hilarious and follows him around with a stick trying to hit him. Francis is looking for a keystone to fix into his building . The odd pilgrim finds a stone and uncovers a vast subterranean structure. In this cave he finds memorabilia that belonged to lebowitz himself. This was by far my favorite story of the three. The nest is set 600 years in the future and a resonance of knowledge has taken place. new inventions are coming out but some are still living in the past. “Ignorance has been our king. Since the death of empire, he sits unchallenged on the throne of Man. His dynasty is age-old. His right to rule is now considered legitimate. Past sages have affirmed it. They did nothing to unseat him. “Tomorrow, a new prince shall rule. Men of understanding, men of science shall stand behind his throne, and the universe will come to know his might. His name is Truth. His empire shall encompass the Earth. And the mastery of Man ever the Earth shall be renewed. A century from now, men will fly through the air in mechanical birds. Metal carriages will race along roads of man-made stone. There will be buildings of thirty stories, ships that go under the sea, machines to perform all works. “And how will this come to pass?” He paused and lowered his voice. “In the same way all change comes to pass, I fear. And I am sorry it is so. It will come to pass by violence and upheaval, by flame and by fury, for no change comes calmly over the world.” This quote sums up the book nicely. Ignorance is a huge part of this book. I loved the book. At times is was a bit boring towards the end of the last story but it always held my interest. for a novel wrote in 1961 A Canticle for Lebowitz still is an amazing use of speculative fiction and hopefully will not be what we will see in the future.


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