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The Leibovitz Passion is a book that is recommended for mandatory reading in philological departments at universities around the world. This is a bright representative of the post-apocalyptic genre, which raises questions that are relevant at all times.
Little is known about the life of the author of one of the most important books in the world of science fiction. W alter Michael Miller Jr. was born on January 22, 1922 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. His parents were staunch Catholics, and the boy was brought up in an atmosphere of deep religiosity.
After high school, W alter Miller continued his studies at the University of Tennessee, but his plans were thwarted by America's entry into World War II. As a gunner-radio operator, the future writer made more than fifty sorties in Europe and the Balkans.
One of the most dramatic events in Miller's life is connected with the service in the air force. In 1944 he took part in the barbaric bombardment that razed the monastery of MonteCassino, founded in the 6th century by Saint Benedict himself. For a believing Catholic, this was a serious shock. Later in The Leibovitz Passion, he will refer to this memory.
After the war, Miller graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and got married to Anna Louise Becker. He began writing fantasy stories after he had a car accident. In total, during his lifetime, two collections and one novel by Miller, The Leibovitz Passion, were published. The book that completes the cycle, "Saint Leibovitz and the Wild Horse", the writer did not have time to finish. Terry Bissom did it for him.
Creating a novel
W alter Miller had written over thirty stories by 1955 that were published in science fiction magazines. Already in the early works of the writer, the topic of lost scientific knowledge and its preservation is touched upon. The Leibovitz Passion is made up of three such revised stories.
The first one was published in Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine. A sequel followed a year later, although Miller did not initially plan for it. When the third story was published, the writer realized that he had created a finished work.
The Leibovitz Passion was published in hardcover in 1960 and received rave reviews from readers and critics. A year later, he was awarded the prestigious Hugo Science Fiction Award.
Post-apocalyptic as a genre
The first post-apocalyptic book was written in1926 by Mary Shelley, author of the famous Frankenstein. It was called "The Last Man". But the genre gained popularity after World War II. He was approached by such masters of prose as Jack London, H. G. Wells, Roger Zelazny, John Christopher.
The action of post-apocalyptic works takes place in a world whose civilization was completely or partially destroyed by a global catastrophe. It can be nuclear weapons, man-made disasters, natural disasters. Gloomy colors and pessimistic moods prevail.
The plot of the novel
The action of W alter Miller's novel "The Leibovitz Passion" is stretched out in time for a whole millennium. Mankind after the nuclear apocalypse took up arms against scientific and technical discoveries. And only monks from the Albertian Order of St. Leibowitz are trying to preserve the bits of knowledge of a lost civilization.
Members of the order do not understand even half of the words in technical documents that accidentally fell into their hands. But, as in the Middle Ages, they become the keepers of knowledge and culture.
Each part of the novel has its own time and characters. But they are interconnected by the main themes of the book, the search for an answer to the question of what is salvation for mankind. Miller masterfully interweaves religion, philosophy, history and science.
His entire novel, even the darkest and most tragic parts, is permeated with love for a person and faith in the power of his mind and will. At the same time, the author seasoned the text with light humor and irony. In the last part of the novel, humanity closes the circle, repeating thosethe same mistakes that led to the disaster. The question of whether there is a future for terrestrial civilization remains open.
The Leibovitz Passion was a milestone in the development of science fiction literature. They inspired the authors of later books, movies and video games. W alter Miller remains in the memory of readers as the author of only one novel. But this book has had a great impact on world culture.