Monday, April 4, 2016

A Canticle for Leibowitz

Walter M. Miller, Jr.’s A Canticle for Leibowitz lives up to its fame as one of the greatest works of science fiction. Written in 1960, the three novels which comprise A Canticle still feel fresh and alive, despite the elimination of the premise of a nuclear World War III from our collective expectations. Miller does this by not veering away from the three essential elements of a story: plot, character, and language.

Miller's novels follow a course of thousands of years. He is able to deftly handle this by not apologizing for sharp changes. He throws the reader in, and we are expected to swim or drown. But we swim. He gently but firmly creates characters with a living sense. Despite their strange surroundings – they are always people. The characters have clearly defined and delineated emotions and thoughts. We can see ourselves as Miller’s characters.

Finally, his writing is clear and imaginative. Miller does not let the sci-fi genre carry him through difficulties of expression or depiction; he uses language deftly and carefully. The book's characters and plot rest on a firm foundation of solid, interesting prose.

A Canticle for Leibowitz deserves all of its laurels.

No comments:

Post a Comment