Continuing on my reading of fantasy fiction with religious themes I decided to finally read A Canticle for Leibowitz. It is a classic of science fiction and I had heard intriguing bits and pices of it on the radio one night, so I thought it might make for an interesting read in these troubled times.
I will be frank with you, I didn get it. I mean it was an interesting read and the author obvioulsy has a creative imagination and the talent to describe what the future might be in a post-apocalyptic world, but what exactly he was trying to say was beyond me. Unless of course it is simply the sixties No Nukes movement in fiction form. In that case it was a bit of a bore.
Perhpas, my lack of knowledge of Catholicism or latin prevented a deeper understanding. Maybe, the fact that huclear holocaust was avoided in my lifetime lessened the power of the story. Or perhaps I simply wasn’t able to concentrate enough on the symbolism and meaning beneath the story as I read chuncks of it in the evening before bed. Whatever the reason, I found the book interesting in parts but largely obscure and surreal. The plot, such as it was, left me scratching my head. A couple of the characters were interesting but they were not developed long enough to really hold my interest. I felt like I need some sort of guidebook or translation that would illuminate the parts I was missing.
So here is my request: If you have read it please tell me what you thought it meant or what you thought the author was trying to say. What is the significance of all the latin and Catholic references? Is it pro-Catholic, anti-Catholic, or ambivalent? Is this book really considered a classic of science fiction? If so why? Or perhaps it is really just an example of the literary genere that grew out of the fear of nuclear war. Any input or references to more information would be appreciated. I promise to report back on anything I find.