The Fabulous Riverboat Paperback – Jul 28 1998
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In To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip José Farmer introduces readers to the awesome Riverworld, a planet that had been carved into one large river on whose shores all of humanity throughout the ages has seemingly been resurrected. In The Fabulous Riverboat, Farmer tells the tale of one person whose is uniquely suited to find the river's headwaters, riverboat captain and famous Earthly author Sam Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain). Clemens has been visited by "X," a mysterious being who claims to be a rebel among the group that created Riverworld. X tells Clemens where he can find a large deposit of iron and other materials that Clemens can use to build the greatest riverboat ever seen. Since there is virtually no metal on the planet, it will also give Clemens an unbeatable edge when it comes to battling the various warlike societies that dominate the Riverworld.
But Clemens is not alone in his quest for the iron, which arrives on the planet in the form of a giant meteorite. In fact, Clemens is besieged on all sides by forces determined to seize the precious ore, leading him to make a deadly pact with one of history's most notorious villains, John Lackland. Lackland's crimes during his reign as king of England were so hideous that no other English monarch will ever carry his name, and he's up to equally nefarious tricks on Riverworld. However, Clemens has a guardian angel in the form of Joe Miller, a giant subhuman with a big nose, a serious lisp, and a cutting wit. Miller has also been to the very headwaters of the river, where he saw a mysterious tower in the middle of the North Sea and where the creators of Riverworld are thought to reside. He will be an invaluable ally in completing the riverboat and sailing to the headwaters, but even an 800-pound giant may not be enough to help Clemens fulfill X's mission. --Craig E. Engler
From the Back Cover
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"A VASTLY IMAGINATIVE TOUR DE FORCE."
--Books and Bookmen
"Charts a territory somewhere between Gulliver's Travels and The Lord of the Rings."
Top Customer Reviews
I was enjoying this novel. The prose is unexceptional, but efficient and workmanlike, and Farmer tells a decent story in an interesting setting. Then Farmer introduces the neighboring state of Soul City and its leader, Elwood Hacking, and derails the whole thing. Hacking is a former slave who is founding an all-black state where "soul brothers and soul sisters can loaf and invite their souls." He is irrational and reactionary. One of his final acts is to rape a white woman and a passage describing them glimpsed in a window together contrasts the woman's "long honey-colored hair and very white skin" with "the bushy hair and black face of Elwood Hacking" in a very distasteful way. Given his fair treatment of other black characters such as Hugo Firebrass and Jill Gulbirra (from the next book in the series), I am not convinced that Farmer is an unqualified racist, but I was puzzled and disquieted by this aspect of the novel.
Sam Clemens (aka Mark Twain), like Richard Burton, is intent on discovering the source of the great river and identifying the people who resurrected humanity. His companions include Joe Miller a brutish prehuman giant who, surprisingly, shows more humanity than most of Clemens' friends; World War 1 flying ace Von Richthofen who provides a sense of balance to Clemens' dark view of humanity and Erik Bloodaxe a harsh and cruel viking that is has Clemens as a member of his crew chiefly because Clemens claims to know a source for iron.
Clemens goal is to build a marvelous riverboat that will help him achieve his goal of discovering the motives of X the mysterious stranger who appears out of nowhere to help him (just as he did Burton) in his quest and why they've all been returned to life.Read more ›
The main character of Clemens is quite a bit different in comparison with Burton from the first novel. And when you first start this novel you will be longing for the original party from "To your scattered bodies go." Clemens is a lot weaker in body and spirit than Burton. He is in fact the opposite when it comes to physical fitness and leadership. Nevertheless he is always in charge. The real fun of this novel over the previous is Clemens's sidekick named Joe Miller who is a Titanthrop or real life giant weighing over 800 lbs. and standing 9 feet tall.
The major enemy in this book is Prince John of England.
This book isn't better than the previous one because the story isn't as good the basic idea of the river world isn't as original and the characters aren't as fun. But this novel is a very close second to the previous one and it also explores alot things that the previous one did not have a chance to. For example life on the riverworld is now just getting to it's full thriving point. People are settling in and forming real states and countries along the river, the wars for the metal ore are also worth mentioning as their detail and excitement keep the reading turning the pages.
A good 2nd to the series.
Most recent customer reviews
not much more to say. It's pulp, but good enjoyable stuff.
Books 1 and 2 are vastly superior because, not despite this. Read more
Yes overall a good story, but my god it dragged like a dead dog. I found the charater of Joe Miller most distracting - I literally had to read the parts out loud for the first two... Read morePublished on May 28 2003
I am a huge fan of Mark Twian's books, so when I heard that he was a main charecter of a bok I was very sectical and didn't think the book would be any good. Read morePublished on April 29 2003 by General Pete
I had a real hard time with getting past the first half of this book. Maybe because I hadn't read book 1 in the series. Or maybe because the pace is "painfully" slow. Read morePublished on Oct. 8 2002 by Michael A. Newman
This is one of my all-time great series. Since everyone who ever lived is in this world, I keep on looking for myself in the story. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2002 by Carl Williams
After focusing on Sir Richard Burton in the first Riverworld book, Farmer shifts the viewpoint to Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2001 by M. Broderick
I read this book 20years ago and have not been able to find this book or it's sequel. Not remembering the authors name made it that much more difficult. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 1999