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One of the landmark jewels of science fiction, Walter Miller's Canticle will be, for some readers of a certain age, a treat for the ear, the heart, and the soul. However, so much has changed since the author crafted this work, e.g., the thaw of the Cold War, the disappearance of Latin since the Second Vatican Council in 1965, and the steep decine of the Catholic Church with its rigors and obedience, that many of the central premises and conceits of the book simply no longer commonly exist today. For me, the book was as fresh as when I read it in 1967 as a high school student. I hope that a younger audience enjoys it as much as I have.
Warning: There is a LOT of Latin in this work. This could make it difficult to parse as an audio experience unless you have a pretty good grounding in this tongue. You might want to get the kindle text to read with it. I think you will find it to be worth your while.
116 of 122 people found this review helpful
A Canticle for Leibowitz tells 3 tales (spaced 600 years apart) of a monastic order in the American Southwestern desert, founded by an engineer named Leibowitz who tried to preserve the knowledge of the human race following a nuclear holocaust. The first story is set 6 centuries into the new Dark Age, when a simple monk receives an unusual visitation...the second is set in the early renaissance, when an early scientist comes to study the old knowledge...the third is set in a newly modern age, as the world is on the verge of another nuclear war.
It was a brilliant set of stories...today it seems a little dated [e,g, the heavy use of Latin which, today, has largely vanished from the Church], but the stories are very powerful and the symbolism is thought-provoking.
Walter Miller wrote a bunch of great short stories and novellas, but this is the only novel he published during his lifetime. In fact, he never published another work after this one, except for another novel set in the same millieu which was published posthumously.
Tom Weiner's reading is good without being great...at several times, I wondered if he was the best choice for a reader, just because his style seemed a little incongruous. But he's a great reader and he does a good job with this.
60 of 68 people found this review helpful
What would have made A Canticle for Leibowitz better?
A good reader was needed. Mr Weiner read it with as much feeling as reading as if it was a Seed Catalogue.
What didn’t you like about Tom Weiner’s performance?
Almost everything was wrong. He had no expression in his voice nor was he able to differentiate between characters in the book for the listener. He spoilt a very good novel.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
This is a book I enjoyed immensely some years ago. I was looking forward to hearing it as an audio cd. It is a great Sci Fi Novel.
Any additional comments?
I am so disappointed that a very good novel, one I had enjoyed reading in the past, was spoilt by very bad reading. Lesson to be learnt - always hear a sample before you buy.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Great story, set over millennia. It was very thought provoking too. Good characters and a nice pace.
Based on a commonly known "yarn" this story outlines a possible scenario for ongoing religious belief based on the events of an apocalyptic world event and post apocalyptic interpretations of events..
worth the read..
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
What did you like most about A Canticle for Leibowitz?
it is almost 60 years old but its message is never so timely, crucial and urgent.
What was one of the most memorable moments of A Canticle for Leibowitz?
The final chapter and pages were spellbinding and almost peotic
What about Tom Weiner’s performance did you like?
A very versatile voice
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Brother Francis's journey
Any additional comments?
A great and grand & deeply disturbing sci fi saga of apocalyptic past, present and future...a bleak, nihilistic dystopian story, often mixed with philosophy, spirituality, flashes of joy and happiness, dark humour and sardonic wisdom....first published in 1959-1960, the technology is dated but the message and theme are as crucial and urgent as ever. The somewhat long winded Latinisms and Catholicisms, were a little tiring, even for an ex Catholic Latin scholar like me, and parts of the plot superfluous or overly symbolic. Overall, however, a magnificent story...and a damningly powerful polemic against the absolute and almost endless myopic stupidity and cruelty of mankind.....