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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
In the introduction to this visually stunning reissue of Walter M. Miller, Jr.'s 1959 postapocalyptic classic, Mary Doria Russell classifies the Hugo Award–winning A Canticle for Leibowitz as Literature with a capital L: a novel that will change all those who read it. She couldn't be more correct -- this bitingly cynical and disturbingly prophetic look at the future of humankind will chill readers to the bone.
Centuries after a nuclear war devastated the Earth, Brother Francis Gerard of Leibowitz Abbey is on a Lenten fast in the Utah desert when he uncovers an ancient fallout survival shelter containing puzzling clues into pre-Flame Deluge culture. Some of the findings may even have belonged to martyred "booklegger" Isaac Edward Leibowitz himself, a priest who dedicated his life to saving knowledge for future generations. But will Brother Gerard's discovery help humankind avoid another self-inflicted catastrophe?
Almost a half century after it was first published, A Canticle for Leibowitz hasn't lost any of its megaton punch: If anything, Miller's words relating to humankind's propensity for self-destruction have taken on a kind of eerie aura of prophecy: "Is the species congenitally insane, Brother?… Are we doomed to do it again and again and again? Have we no choice but to play the Phoenix in an unending sequence of rise and fall?… Are we doomed to it, Lord, chained to the pendulum of our own mad clockwork, helpless to halt its swing?" A fascinating and paradoxical novel by an equally paradoxical man, A Canticle for Leibowitz is undeniably one of the best science fiction novels of all time. Russell sums it up perfectly: "You'll be different when you finish it." Paul Goat Allen