A Canticle for Leibowitz: the forgetfulness of humanity

I just finished this post apocalyptic sci fi classic, which takes the form of a few stories over the course of nearly two thousand years.

Centuries after nuclear war, society rebuilds itself, regrowing from barbarism, and finding scraps of its ancient past. The story starts with a monk of the order of Leibowitz finding a fallout shelter, and all that transpires based on what they find within.

The story illustrates how religious ideas can spring up from seemingly innocuous things, and how people can interpret meaning and how stories can morph over time.

As we follow the story forward in time, the only continuing thread seems to be forgetfulness, and the buzzards.

Humanity constantly forgets the cost of war, or doesn’t care to consider it. And no matter all the books and technology that was saved and carried forward through time by the Leibowitz monks, humans make the same old mistakes again and again, helping the buzzards to keep full bellies.

It seems topical, with the recent news. Humanity needs to check its hubris, its arrogance, and start taking our situation seriously before we destroy ourselves (again?).

A good read, but I found the endless religious references tiring. I would have expected the religion would have changed more over the centuries, instead of being the same old bible and Jesus stuff. Other than that, very thought provoking and interesting.


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