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No spoiler section, unless y'all want one. In which case speak up. I haven't read it myself before though, so I wouldn't have anything to say in one. Although I can at least post the start of one if everyone wants.


The author's tone seems... odd to me. Like some weird blend between formal/scholarly and humorous. I'm finding it a bit hard to peg down the voice.

I'm also feeling a bit lost at sea with the setting. I'd like a little bit more to go on *somewhere*... we don't know anything about the situation, the society or culture, anything except that it's in the Utah desert, and maybe, possibly, in the future? Or an alternate present? Leaving the reader to slowly discover some things is all well and good, but at least give us some sort of anchor. :/ Then again, I'm probably just being impatient.

And here we see one reason I would never make a good monk. Well, other than the obvious problem of gender. The minute someone tried to tell me to go out in the middle of the desert and live there without eating or drinking, or even speaking in the unlikely event that someone came by, would be the minute I'd tell them in enough graphic detail just what they could go do to themselves that I'd get chucked out, anyhow.

Not sure yet just what the unknown metallic strips in the ground are supposed to be. Or if they're supposed to be anything in particular. Wiring, maybe? I'm leaning more, as I read, toward a post-apocalyptic setting of some sort, but it seems weird that the society wouldn't remember electricity or wiring or anything of the sort, or even desert heat-mirages, and yet would remember things like "Utah" or organized religion... Iunno.

And a nice friendly buzzard looking at Francis with "motherly concern"? Yeah, I'm getting the impression more and more that Francis just ain't too bright.

And yeah, with the discussion of the dreaded beast the "Fallout," and how this Leibowitz dude was "possessed by one" (radiation poisoning I assume), and the Flame Deluge, definitely looking post-apocalyptic.

And as we get into the second chapter... I'm ending up with my mind in a very weird mental slot between The Name of the Rose, and the Fallout series of video games. o_O

The Age of Simplification concept seems interesting, and I suppose makes sense, if the world had (barely) survived a nuclear exchange. That might be more then enough to make most people willing to give up the modern life for a more simple one, if it prevented the possibility of such an apocalypse again. I'm not sure it would *necessarily* happen - people are pretty damn attached to the comforts of modern life after all, just that it's possible. Especially if the "comforts" part had been lost for a while due to living in Fallout shelters and the like.

Small tubular things with a "wire whisker" at each end. My first though was syringes of some sort, but the "shamans" swallowing them would seem to nix that idea. Given the radio chassis, I'm assuming... circuitry/electronic tidbits of some type?

The writing being from the fifth and sixth decade? Yeah, suddenly I'm reaaaally feeling like I'm walking into a book spin-off of the Fallout games. Although checking, I see this book was from the 60s itself, so that makes sense. But it's still a bit odd for one who's played the games!

"Not particularly intelligent insofar as he could determine"... glad I'm not the only one who thought so. ;)

Anyhow, at least now it looks like we get to get back to some meager semblance of civilization, in the next chapters. So we should get even more an idea of what's going on, and the state of things.


A reminder of the remainder of the schedule.

Comments

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prince_eric
Sep. 2nd, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
Some of the attitudes make a bit more sense if you consider that the book was written in 1960 (or first published then, at any rate), so a lot of today's "creature comforts" didn't exist then.
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stormfeather
Sep. 2nd, 2011 06:01 pm (UTC)
Ah hah, yes, those images do a) look familiar and b) mesh up well with what Miller was describing. Okay then!

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stormfeather
Sep. 2nd, 2011 06:02 pm (UTC)
True to some extent, although I'd still think they'd consider twice before giving up, say, modern medicine, TV, heating and air-conditioning, electric lights/cooking....
stormfeather
Sep. 2nd, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
(Er, and that wasn't supposed to be in order of importance or anything, just naming various things as they came to me.)
khedron
Sep. 2nd, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
My house was built in 1965, and has a "screened porch" like most houses of its age do, because that was before AC as we know it today. While I won't say that they were also using the carefully detailed "sit on a cool rock" approach to comfort, they weren't that far off.

(Also, I totally do that flipping thing with my pillows. At least, I did it when growing up in New Mexico.)

I think "Name of the Rose meets Fallout" seems like a reasonable description so far. =)

While our young monk doesn't get credit for intelligence from the folks around him, at least he knew old-fashioned English! That doesn't seem like a given in these times.
stormfeather
Sep. 3rd, 2011 03:39 am (UTC)
True, at least he's bright enough, relatively, to be a monk in that day and age. Which seems at least somewhat demanding. Still though...

And yeah, I didn't stop to think how well-spread indoor heating and AC might be in the 50s-60s. Hum.
khedron
Sep. 3rd, 2011 05:08 am (UTC)
I know, I don't usually think of "air conditioning" as part of Living in the Future!
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stormfeather
Sep. 2nd, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I did mention that they might have been temporarily in abeyance so far. But the idea of cutting off any chance of having them back, at least in many generations... it just seems weird!
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stormfeather
Sep. 2nd, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was kinda writing as I went along, so that I didn't forget about impressions and so on. So yeah, we did get a bit more idea of the setting in those three chapters. Although I did miss the six centuries part somehow!

And yeah, once I'd realized that this book was written in the sixties I probably woulda nixed the idea of wiring anyhow, but I just wasn't connecting things right. Then again, I don't tend to think of the construction of concrete much, and might never have realized what it was!

And religion in general I think would be likely to persist, and almost mentioned something like that, but this seems very similarly organized to present-day religion (or past Christianity even), from what we've seen , with "New Rome," the Saints, the general structure, the Latin... it just seems odd that something like that would survive so well, rather than being broken down into a more disorganized, every-person-for-himself religion, or at least a seriously watered-down, simplified version of Christianity.

And Latin? I guess maybe even 50 years ago it was slightly more prevalent and well-known, but a dead language used mostly by scholars and the clergy still doesn't strike me as the most likely thing to survive, even beyond English, once something like the Simplification hits, books and knowledge are destroyed, etc.!

Although the thought of monks as the preservers of knowledge is fairly neat, at least. And might explain at least a bit of why some of these particular things/knowledges survived... I still find it a bit of a stretch though. Not so much of a stretch that it's completely screwing up my suspension of disbelief, mind you, just a stretch when I stop and examine it.
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stormfeather
Sep. 3rd, 2011 02:18 am (UTC)
Don't get me wrong, I didn't mean that I find "church keeping knowledge alive" to be the far-fetched stuff, just what in particular was kept alive through such a cataclysmic event (and reaction after), with the other stuff that was lost!
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khedron
Sep. 3rd, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
And Latin? I guess maybe even 50 years ago it was slightly more prevalent and well-known, but a dead language used mostly by scholars and the clergy still doesn't strike me as the most likely thing to survive, even beyond English, once something like the Simplification hits, books and knowledge are destroyed, etc.!

Aha, but A Canticle for Leibowitz was published in 1960 -- two years before Vatican 2. Latin was the *only* allowed language for Catholic mass at the time the book came out, as it had been for, arguably, 1600 years. So, it probably didn't seem like much of a stretch to say that the monks would be more fluent in Latin than English at the time!
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stormfeather
Sep. 5th, 2011 09:41 pm (UTC)
I meant to comment on this, but forgot!

I'll admit, I have no idea as to the wanderer in the desert actually being anyone rather than Random Useful Dude. Although come to think of it, the weird things about him do make him stand out.

Obviously he's Jaim Fastrider.

As to the rest... I guess I'll have to wait and see what gets revealed further on!

(And as for your next comment, I'll probably avoid... I'm very paranoid about spoilers usually :p )
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( 23 Notes — Write a Footnote )