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Een loflied voor Leibowitz (1959)

door Walter M. Miller, Jr.

Andere auteurs: Zie de sectie andere auteurs.

Reeksen: Leibowitz (1)

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10,259282533 (3.95)1 / 475
Many years after a nuclear war, scholars seeking the old learning come to a monastery where much knowledge has been preserved.
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(toon alle 31 aanbevelingen)

1960s (5)
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This book imagines a post-nuclear-apocalypse world. In the first centuries after the apocalypse, Christian monks preserve the writings of pre-apocalypse scientists, even though they don't know what most of it means. The book spans several centuries, starting with the monks who preserve the knowledge, then jumping forward to conflicts between the monks who preserve it and the scientists who are starting to understand it and want to use it, then jumping forward again to a largely secular world that is again torn apart by war.

This book, like a lot of science fiction, is very much about its own time, and in a lot of ways it doesn't stand up very well all these decades later. It is mostly concerned with the specter of nuclear apocalypse, and how humans will destroy themselves through war, which feels very naïve now that we live in a world of pandemics and climate change.

The first part of the book is delightful: it focuses on one rather simpleminded novice who discovers a cache of documents belonging to St. Leibowitz, a man who they revere but who it is clear to the reader was a nuclear scientist. In this first part, the world is vividly depicted in detail, and is closely related to the world of ascetic monks in the early centuries of Christianity. The characters have depth, and you genuinely care about them.

Then the book rather abruptly jumps forward several centuries, and it loses its sparkle. There are a lot of characters, and none of them are well-developed, and it's hard to keep them straight. We don't learn a lot of the details about the political background, so it can get confusing.

What makes this book stand the test of time is its unique examination of the role of religion in defining human nature. In every century, the monks at the center of the book are striving to follow their faith and use it to serve the greater good, and the book raises a lot of timeless questions about how to treat our fellow human beings in times of difficulty. ( )
  Gwendydd | Nov 26, 2021 |
A 'Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller, is an excellent read.

Written in the late 1950s, reading Canticle brings back the every day, never-ending, twenty-four hour threat of world-ending nuclear conflict we lived with during the Cold War. And it reminds us, who were around during those times, upon reading this story, centered around a Catholic monastery and seeing text littered with Latin phrases, the days when Latin (mother to all the Romance languages) was studied, even in public schools.

I couldn't deter the smile that crept across my face, as I learned a character had lost a bet when he had come in second at the game of mumbly peg, a knife throwing contest popular during the middle of the last century prior to the discovery of 'dangerous' lead in paint, hazardous monkeybars, lifesaving seatbelts or XBox 360s. Yes, those were simpler times, when this boy of five could crawl up onto the sturdy and felt-covered shelf behind the rear seats in our four steel-doored 1951 Kaiser sedan and fall asleep bathed in the rays of the mild Arizona winter sun.

'Canticle' which means religious chant, is unabashedly Catholic, as is demonstrated when a brother fights for a natural death of a radioactive and terminally ill mother and daughter pair, rather than give in to the quick, convenient, and no charge 'Soylent Green-style' euthanasia. Canticle also meets another one of my preferred old-school moral criteria for Science Fiction, and that being that there are no sexual copulations within its covers.

Canticle is not a Harry Potter 'type' happy ending book, and as Joe Bob Briggs says about good horror movies, "Anyone can die, at anytime and anyplace." For a book written almost fifty years ago, author Miller does an excellent job of predicting future technology. And he did not make the mistake I've seen often in mediocre SciFi books, that of centering the majority of the action on the 'predicted' technology, which, if the author has guessed wrong, and when read in later decades simply renders the book just silly.

Covering a span of six hundred years on Earth, the book exposes the unrelenting greed, lust for power and pride of a few men that will forever threaten those wishing to live in peace and, if their weapons are sophisticated enough, threaten continued civilization on this planet.

Canticle offers to the reader a compelling, effortless writing style that, after a few moments, other than the turning of pages, one doesn't feel like one is reading. It allowed this reader to develop affections for believable characters and presented entirely believable future technologies, while at the same time the strong moral code adhered to by the clergy of the Catholic faith, in this day of anything goes, even for this lapsed Lutheran, was quite refreshing.

I give 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' my highest recommendation.
( )
1 stem AZBob1951 | Oct 27, 2021 |
Still an absolutely wonderful book. I could quote so many pieces of it (and probably will). It's what a dystopian, post-apocalyptic novel should be. ( )
  jamestomasino | Sep 11, 2021 |
This is an excellent book. I very much appreciated the struggle between having faith in protecting knowledge for later restoration vs using knowledge in the complete awareness that the knowledge may lead to an extinction level event. What are we? Are we only flesh and blood? Are more than that? Does our existence continue after death? If other life forms do not also continue after death than what is heaven? These are some of the question that come to mind for me. It was an interesting experience to read this book at the same time that I was reading [Physical Science in the Middle Ages] by [Edward Grant] and [Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives] by [John Hedley Brooke]. [Walter M. Miller Jr] certainly produced a future history that well portrayed what a 2nd medieval age might look like in a post-apocalyptic world. I highly recommend this book.

I like this rating system by ashleytylerjohn of LibraryThing ( that I have also adopted:
(Note: 5 stars = rare and amazing, 4 = quite good book, 3 = a decent read, 2 = disappointing, 1 = awful, just awful.) ( )
  Neil_Luvs_Books | Sep 5, 2021 |
I still am not sure what to think of this book. I can't decide if I should be in despair for the repetitive stupidity of mankind, or if I should have hope that maybe humankind will stop being such idiots. The author mixes religion with secularism. There is humor and irony in the Sainthood of Leibowitz. There are no adequate way to describe this story, other than it follows the Monks of the Order of St. Leibowitz from near it's founding at an Abbey in Utah through to the interesting ending of this story. It was a hard book to read in that oftimes I was totally disgusted with humanity and those in power. I still don't know what to think. Even though it was written in 1959, the behavior of our governments and those wielding power have not changed. They are still power hungry morons not caring a bit about those who try to do right. ( )
  Raspberrymocha | Jun 11, 2021 |
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» Andere auteurs toevoegen (22 mogelijk)

AuteursnaamRolType auteurWerk?Status
Miller, Walter M., Jr.primaire auteuralle editiesbevestigd
Feck, LouArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Jones, PeterArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Marosz, JonathanVertellerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Picacio, JohnArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Rambelli, RobertaVertalerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Russell, Mary DoriaIntroductieSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Serrano, ErvinOmslagontwerperSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Viskupic, GaryArtiest omslagafbeeldingSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
Weiner, TomVertellerSecundaire auteursommige editiesbevestigd
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a dedication is only
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Brother Francis Gerard of Utah might never have discovered the blessed documents, had it not been for the pilgrim with girded loins who appeared during that young novice's Lenten fast in the desert.
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There were spaceships again in that century, and the ships were manned by fuzzy impossibilities that walked on two legs and sprouted tufts of hair in unlikely anatomical regions. They were a garrulous kind. They belonged to a race quite capable of admiring its own image in a mirror, and equally capable of cutting its own throat before the alter of some tribal god, such as the deity of Daily Shaving. It was a species which often considered itself to be, basically, a race of divinely inspired tool makers; any intelligent entity from Arcturus would instantly have perceived them to be, basically, a race of impassioned after-dinner speechmakers.
“The closer men came to perfecting for themselves a paradise, the more impatient they seemed to become with it, and with themselves as well. They made a garden of pleasure, and became progressively more miserable with it as it grew into richness and power and beauty; for then, perhaps, it was easier for them to see that something was missing in the garden, some tree or shrub that would not grow. When the world was in darkness and wretchedness, it could believe in perfection and yearn for it. But when the world became bright with reason and riches, it began to sense the narrowness of the needle’s eye, and that rankled for a world no longer willing to believe or yearn. Well, they were going to destroy it again, were they-this garden Earth, civilized and knowing, to be torn apart again that Man might hope again in wretched darkness.” (page 285)
Brother Francis was copying only the body of the text onto new parchment, leaving spaces for the splendid capitals and margins as wide as the text lines. Other craftsmen would fill in riots of colour around his simply inked copy and would construct the pictorial capitals.
Brother Francis found the finest available lambskin and spent several weeks of his spare time at curing it and stretching it and stoning it to a perfect surface, which he eventually bleached to a snowy whiteness.
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Miller published a short story in 1955 with this title. Please do not combine the novel with the short story.
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Many years after a nuclear war, scholars seeking the old learning come to a monastery where much knowledge has been preserved.

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