5.0 out of 5 stars Resurrection time!
Philip José Farmer is a groundbreaking writer that in the '50s & '60s starts turmoil in the scene of Sci-fi. Up to that time the genre was almost aseptic, romance: yes, sex: no. PJF launched his short story "The Lovers" (1952) and started a change; "Flesh" (1960) and "Riders of the Purple Wage" (1967) are interesting examples amongst other of the same kind. The...
Published on Jun 26 2004 by Maximiliano F Yofre
3.0 out of 5 stars Great setup But no better than medoicre
This is one of those novels that the simple setup will keep you interested and on your toes long after the author drives the story into the ground. It is dissappointing because at many points I felt that Famer was onto something really special. The idea of having every human for ten thousand years put onto a planet together creates an infinite number of possible story...
Published on Jan 29 2003 by Dixon Whitley
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5.0 out of 5 stars Resurrection time!,
"To Your Scattered Bodies Go" pertains to this last group. Humankind as whole is resurrected, except those who had died in childhood. Along both coast of an immense river, 15,000 miles long, they are scattered in groups composed 90% from an age and place and a 10% from elsewhere and elsewhen. They are all given a 20's years old body but with full memory of their past lives. Sir Richard Francis Burton, an English a mid 19th Century explorer and adventurer, is the central character of the novel. He is described unadorned, as a ruthless egotistic person, yet full of charisma and an energetic drive. He put himself to the task of discovering what's going on. Along his stride he meets other famous and infamous historical characters as Hermann Goring, Alice Liddell (the little girl that inspired Alice Wonderland to his author). He also encounters fictional people as a Neanderthal and an alien from outer space.
On this background an interesting and captivating novel is developed. Unfortunately this is the first installment of Riverworld series and as volumes passes the quality dwindle as well as the interest in the story. Nevertheless this book and the next are great and deserve to be read.
5.0 out of 5 stars An all-in-one reading experience -- brilliant!,
This novel introduces the setting of "Riverworld," a mysterious planet where the entire human race from all time periods is suddenly a inexplicably 'resurrected.' Constructs known as grails provide food and other items for the billions of humans. Who or what created the Riverworld, and why did it reconstruct the whole of the human race? That question hangs over the entire story, as our hero, the legendary Victorian adventurer, Orientalist, anthropoligist, writer, and swordsman Richard Francis Burton, sets out on a quest to locate the masters of Riverworld. He has some interesting companions: a 20th century American, an alien visitor from the last days of Earth, a Neanderthal, the woman who inspired the character of Alice in Wonderland, and...well, Nazi leader Hermann Göring. Burton want to uncover the secrets of Riverworld, but the entities responsible for it want to find him as well, for he holds a secret that they desperately need.
"Riverworld" moves at a rapid page-turning. Farmer lets you explore the wonder of this collision of ALL Earth cultures in one place, and you never quite know what will happen next. Sometimes Farmer grabs you with a tense fight scene, the next he amuses you with watching the developing cultures and colliding civilizations of this stew-pot world. The emergence of many famous individuals in the story is one of the novel's best features. Farmer is one of the first authors to exploit the dramatic potential of slamming together many different legendary figures into one story. (Today this is commonplace, such as in "Van Helsing" and "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," although in "Riverworld" the famous people are all strictly historical instead of fictional). In Richard Francis Burton, Farmer picked the perfect hero. Burton is strong, brilliant, driven, and completely egotistical, just as he was in the real world. He's the sort of hero you can't stop reading about because you enjoy watching him overcome obstacles and constantly rankle the other characters. Burton is larger than life, the ideal hero for this larger than life setting.
"Riverworld" will leave you with plenty to ponder, and fingers itching to pick up the next novel in the series, "The Fabulous Riverboat."
5.0 out of 5 stars A historian's dream,
It's a great concept and Jose Farmer managed to carry the fantasy to amazing extremes through this series of books. The wars of the final future of humanity, the dreams and aspirations, the mysteries and the ennui involve all the humans who ever lived, plus an alien or two and some others. Every intelligent being, I might have said, ever to die on the face of the planet earth, all at once.
Any world where John Longshanks, Sir Richard Burton, Mark Twain, Jesus, Hermann Goering and everyone else is striving, competing and following the agendas and personality traits of their life on Planet Earth is bound to be worth a read, and this one is.
Go for it, lean back and allow yourself to imagine the afterlife in a way you'd never dreamed of it being.
4.0 out of 5 stars A new, unexplainable world of raised dead,
Famous explorer and author Richard Burton awakes after his death to find all the pains of life near the end gone and himself floating among many bodies all around him. He is discovered and then plunges back into darkness to find himself awaking in a grassy meadow by a river surrounded by hundreds of others just waking. They are people from various times, some who know of him, and an alien and a proto-human neanderthal among them. Many belive themselves to be in purgutory, heaven, or hell, but a few know this cannot be an afterlife, there is something else at work here.
Amid the chaos which first ensues he embarks to gather a group to protect themselves from any others who may wish them ill, and then to build a boat to navigate the source of the river. Along the way they find historical figures, both great and evil who help or impede thier journey. And, miraculasly, it seems they do not die permanently in this world, but are rather resurected again somewhere else along the eternal river along who's banks the entirety of every human who has ever lived now exists.
Burton is driven to find the source of all that has transpired, why are they here? What is the purpose of thier resurection? Are those forces malevelont or benevolent? I must now embark to read the rest of the series to find out!
A quick read, I finished in several hours. Charachter development is lacking, but the quest and concept are quite intriguing.
4.0 out of 5 stars Series starts off strong and ends very poorly,
Book 1 starts off tremendous (!!) and offers up a good mystery - why are millions of people resurrected on an alien planet???
Book 2-4 spends grossly too much time delving into the history of the characters and not enough time getting to the Tower and the Ethicals. On a number of occasions, Mr. Farmer seems desperate to display the historical knowledge he has labored over.
Book 5 really grapples with the issues from book 1 and is the second best book of the series.
Book 3 was just awful in my opinion. Wayyyyyyyyy too much history of characters, it was like watching wood warp. I almost stopped reading the entire thing over book 3.
Overall, in my opinion, the series would have been much better working the mystery of the Ethicals and a whole lot less time with the history of various people. It was a great opportunity squandered.
4.0 out of 5 stars Man abides,
Guess what, it's still a pretty terrific book. Science fiction ages a bit less well than most mainstream or contemporary lit. Why? Because you're imagining the future--science fiction is like gambling you know the odds, you know that you could lose or be wrong, yet you do it anyway. Sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. Really, predicting the future isn't the point but observing human behavior because science fiction--the best science fiction--isn't just about doo hickeys and gadets. It's about human behavior.
If Phil Farmer's Rvierworld books are a bit dated, it's because the author wrote the first installment (before it was a novel) in 1966. The only thing that's kept the novel interesting is 1)Farmer's fascinating concept and 2) The general quality of the writing. Sure, it's not the generic formularic writing we've come to expect--it's actually got something missing from much modern writing--character.
That said, the concept and execution are terrific. Sir Richard Francis Burton author of The Arabian Nights and well known explorer is our hero. He dies on the first page. He awakens to what he believes is the afterlife where he sees millions of other bodies suspended in what appears to be hibernation. The next thing he knows he's been resurrected with all of humanity (and one alien creature)along the banks of a great river.
His journey is dictated by his exploring nature; he plans to get to the mouth of the river and discover who has resurrected humanity and why. The journey allows him to encounter many historical figures and some ordinary folks as well (including a well disguised Phil Farmer).
While the series went on a bit too long (Farmer clearly relished the concept and the challenges it presented), the first three books are like a ride down white rapids and just as fun. Their also full of interesting ideas, characters and strong narratives. The last two books in the series drag out a bit but are still worth searching out to provide closure for the series. I'm usually not much of a fan of series books--it's usually a case of the author having one great idea and dragging it on as long as possible. Farmer's first three books are an exception to this rule and are well written journeys.
4.0 out of 5 stars Astounding concept, inept execution,
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but misunderstood,
It's not set on a far-off planet (well, not exactly); no space ships, only one alien; barely noticeably set in the future at all. If that was what made a good SF novel, then Star Trek would be the be all and end all of the genre.
Any good SF reader, though, knows that Riverworld is what makes SF great reading: Deep philosophical and sociological questions, answered by way of an artificially created society that tests the author's answers to the questions, or else helps discover the answers. Riverworld, and particularly To Your Scattered Bodies Go (by far the best of them), is an interesting attempt to analyse the creation of civilization from anarchy, as well as being an amusing exploration of several historical characters, probably some of Farmer's favourite personages from history. I say attempt, because it's not perfect; I find myself disagreeing with his ideas of what society would become, mostly because it is a bit too simplistic for my tastes.
All in all, it is an interesting experiment, and a thoroughly enjoyable one. Read if you like Asimov's Foundation novels, Clarke's Rama novels, or some of the less academic alternate histories.
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost but not quite,
Overall-I think that the book is great, though I don't know if I could acuratly describe it as science fiction. The book is wonderful but it has a lot of extra information that takes away from the overall force of the story...
3.0 out of 5 stars Great setup But no better than medoicre,
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To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer (Audio Cassette - Oct 1999)
Out of stock