Hope everyone here in the states had an enjoyable holiday weekend.
I also hope you enjoyed reading the book. I first read this book around 20 years ago and have since passed it along to friends and family who showed any interest in science fiction. I think one of the testaments to the quality of the work is how the book is accessible for readers who would normally steer clear of sci-fi. I had a difficult time selecting my book for this month, but once I thought of Canticle, it just made sense - a book I really like that hopefully most have not read but will like as well.
I have a few specific points to bring up about the book, but I thought I'd open up the discussion with a few questions:
What did you think of the book as a whole? Did you have a favorite section out of the three?
What do you see as obvious influences on the book?
Do you think the book had a central statement to make? If so, what?
When I set the date for our Canticle for Leibowitz discussion, I didnít realize May 26th was Memorial Day here in the United States. Hunter and many of our members may be off vacationing (separately, that is). So if the discussion doesnít get started until Tuesday, we all know why.
Before the discussion gets going, I just wanted to pop in and post that I hope many members have managed to read A Canticle for Leibowitz. Although I don?t read much science fiction, I did enjoy it, but more for its post-apocalyptic vision than its connection to technology and outer space. I especially appreciated Miller?s use of irony as well as his take on the post- and once again pre-destruction Catholic hierarchy.
It?s very timely to be reading a novel about religion and end times since that LaHaye and Jenkins piece of crap Armageddon is in its fifth week atop the NY Times Best-Sellers List. Although I haven?t read it, I did read Left Behind just to see what all the fuss was about. I found it dull and predictable with some of the most ridiculous dialogue I?ve ever encountered in print. The plot itself is fine, but the characters are flat, unimaginative, and not-very-quick-on-the-uptake and I have to admit I wouldn?t want any of them leading the battle against the anti-Christ if the theory of the Rapture turns out to be true (which it isn?t, but, then again, I am a non-believer). Even their names are trite: "Buck" Williams, Rayford Steele, and Nicolae Jetty Carpathia. Puh-lease.
I?m looking forward to following up A Canticle for Leibowitz with Blindness, which is similar yet not similar. Although it isn?t about end times, it does deal with how humanity reacts to an event leading to the complete breakdown of society. Blindness is very difficult to read since Saramago writes using an unconventional format in which dialogue by multiple characters is embedded in the same paragraph without quotation marks. After a while, though, reading 300+ pages of dialogue-less text becomes easier to bear since it sort of forces the reader into experiencing the characters? dismay at who said what. I hope everyone also participates in this discussion because I found it to be a rewarding look at human nature.