American Southwest

Hello friends! It’s been a long summer filled with amazing experiences and some excellent reads. I’ve been working with preschoolers at a church summer camp, growing in my teaching abilities, and making connections with Christians in a different part of the country.

Right now, I’m stranded in Florida (it’s a long story), so I decided to write another post. I seem to have fallen into a pattern where I drop off the face of the earth for months before I write again. To be fair, I didn’t have internet in my condo this summer. I hope you can give me a break.

Yesterday, I finished a book that begins in the twenty-sixth century. I don’t usually read science fiction. Apologies if you’re a fan, but what I’ve stumbled across bursts with tropes and dialogue a fourteen year old boy could right. Some of it doesn’t make me gag, such as Doctor Who. Does it count if it’s a television show?

My prejudice clouded my reading of A Canticle for Leibowitz from the beginning. After reading 100 pages, I thought I could never enjoy it and contemplated giving up despite how disappointed my boyfriend would be (he’s reading it too). Then, my eyes were opened. In my groaning over how it didn’t make sense, I had missed a major plot point of the novel. Whether or not an important part of the plot should be that subtle is a separate matter. After that, I thought maybe science fiction isn’t so bad.

The new Harpercollins cover via npr.org
The new Harpercollins cover via npr.org

A Canticle for Leibowitz was written Walter M. Miller Jr. and published in 1959 after growing from a series of short stories. The world has entered a second Dark Age after a global nuclear war referred to as the Flame Deluge. The people of Earth are illiterate and feel nothing but disdain for the knowledge that was lost when scientists, philosophers, and books were destroyed. Monks of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz, however, have devoted their lives to preserving what remains of the knowledge of the past, what they refer to as the “Memorabilia.” How this knowledge is used will determine whether history repeats itself.

What I found interesting about this novel was the amount of religious ties it contained. Especially the suggestion that every time humanity tries to make the world perfect they see that they can never come close to Eden. People drive themselves mad searching for easier ways to do things and better ways to use technology. Pursuing perfection will drive people to terrifying lengths.

While A Canticle for Leibowitz didn’t inspire a love of science fiction in me, it did make me curious to read more. It may not be my favorite genre, but there are some gems out there waiting to be found. As far as a recommendation goes? Well, I would suggest you start with something else, perhaps something a bit shorter and more recent, especially if you aren’t well read in science fiction. For the sci-fi lover, this is a good read. A little slow from time to time, but thought-provoking and worth your time.

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