Document Type

Junior Award Winner

Award Date

Spring 2013

Course Name

Speculative Fiction


Tracy Townsend


At the end of A Canticle for Leibowitz, written by Walter M. Miller, Jr., the dropping of Lucifer and the resulting repetition of past destruction displays that there is an inherent flaw in the book’s futuristic society. The technological and scientific revival of a world that once repudiated knowledge is remarkable. However, the divergence of science and religion has caused humanity to use the power that comes with knowledge as irresponsibly as it did in the Flame Deluge. Mendelsohn states that, in speculative fiction, “religion is repeatedly depicted as dangerous, diverging humans from the path of reason and true enlightenment” (269). While A Canticle for Leibowitz accepts the fact that there is a rift between religion and reason, the story does not portray only religion as a threat; Miller also illustrates the necessity for science to adopt the moral structures provided by religion in order to direct enlightenment towards the benefit of mankind. The story depicts the imperfections of both religion and science and highlights that humanity is in jeopardy if the two units do not work together.



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