Thursday, September 21, 2006


Six hundred years in the future a monk discovers the remains of a fallout shelter in Utah. Inside the shelter are relics of the as yet un-canonized St. Leibowitz, a physicist who helped build the bombs which eventually destroyed the world. Much as the monks of medieval Christendom preserved the mathematics and science of the ancients in their libraries, the monks of the future preserve and attempt to understand the science of our day long after we've blown ourselves up. Should the Church allow this knowledge to re-emerge? Is Man destined to the same eternal cycle of self-destruction? Short answer, yes.

A clever little relic of the Cold War. On the Beach meets St. Augustine. Not the best future history featuring religion as its centerpiece (that would be Dune), but sophisticated and savvy.


Steven Hart said...

Come come now, the best SF novel using religion for its theme is "Pavane" by Keith Roberts. The Armada conquers England, the Inquisition sets up shop in Old Blighty and Protestantism is smothered in its cradle(s) and the Catholic Church puts the brakes on the Industrial Revolution.

But "Canticle for Leibowitz" is pretty damned good -- in fact, I recommend it to people as an example of qhat quality SF is all about. That scene toward the end where the bombs start to fall and the two-headed woman's silent twin starts to talk -- spooky stuff.

geoff said...

Never read "Pavane"--I'll seek it out!

I think Dune is better as sci-fi with religious themes than Canticle, and also the Mary Doria Russell series about priests in space.