A Canticle for Leibowitz Part 2: Boethius Book Club, Episode 12

A lively discussion of Walter Miller's science fiction masterpiece, a future history in which mankind repeats the Dark Ages only to make the same mistakes again.

Recorded: March 22, 2018
Original Air Date: May 2018
Show Run Time: 42 minutes
Show Host(s): Dr. Thomas Fleming


Boethius Book Club℗ is a Production of the Fleming Foundation. Copyright 2018. All Rights are Reserved.


The Fleming Foundation

5 Responses

  1. Allen Wilson says:

    There is an old black & white movie from the 50’s or early 60’s which has a similar theme. I can’t remember the title, but Vincent Price had some influence in the production of it.

    It begins with some people fleeing into a ravine to escape a nuclear holocaust. They survive and create a rule that no one may venture beyond the ravine because of radiation. Over the generations, the rule becomes a taboo punishable by death, and no one remembers why it exists. A young man violates the taboo, the elders try but fail to enforce it, then everyone begins to move out. In the end, we learn that radiation wasn’t the only reason for the taboo. Now these people will multiply, create civilizations, and eventually split the atom. We also learn that this story doesn’t happen in the future. It happened thousands of years ago.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Speaking of Vincent Price, our friend Mark Kennedy came to our house last night for supper and a film. Having recurring problems with Amazon Prime, we gave up our plan to watch Witness for the Prosecution and settled for a DVD of “His Kind of Woman,” with a good cast that included Robert Mitchum, Charles McGraw, Raymond Burr (as a kind of psychotic Lucky Luciano), Tim Holt as an FBI agent, and Vincent Price as a ham actor who, when the crunch comes, lives up to his own PR. Oh, yes, it also starred the ugly and untalented Jane Russell. That was enough to ruin it for Mark Kennedy, who declared the film had not one redeeming value. Price was so effective wonderful, early in his film career, parodying the ham actor he would become, that one might forget that he was an acclaimed actor on Broadway. Helen Hayes declared that he was her favorite leading man. Sure, he sold out and would seem to have lost interest in acting, preferring to spend his time collecting art and enjoying life. Good decision!

  3. Allen Wilson says:

    I still enjoy the relish with which he does House on Haunted Hill. Yes, ham acting indeed.

  4. Ken Rosenberger says:

    Thank you for posting this, Dr Fleming. I was glad that someone brought up Walker Percy’s essay, which is included in the posthumous collection “Signposts in a Strange Land.” It appears that a number of the discussion participants felt the same “pricklings” Percy did, reading the book. As he might put it, you were “on to something.” The discussion on the identity and significance of Rachel rate an A+.

    Like Mr Wilson, I too get a kick out of House on Haunted Hill, a real scream fest. And why go to the trouble of reading Poe, when Roger Corman and Vinny the P have created so many definitive interpretations cinematically!

  5. Ken Rosenberger says:

    I would also recommend Walker Percy’s last non-fiction book, the charming and whimsical “Lost in the Cosmos,” for those who haven’t read it already. The satirical final section, “A Space Oddysey,” incorporates elements of A Canticle for Leibowitz, and is something of an homage to Miller’s novel. Be sure, also, to read the short vignette “The Last Donahue Show.” It holds up pretty well, 35 years later.