- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Del Rey; Reprint edition (June 30 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345419677
- ISBN-13: 978-0345419675
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 181 g
- Average Customer Review: 47 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #465,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
To Your Scattered Bodies Go Paperback – Jun 30 1998
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To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the Hugo Award-winning beginning to the story of Riverworld, Philip José Farmer's unequaled tale about life after death. When famous adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, the last thing he expects to do is awaken naked on a foreign planet along the shores of a seemingly endless river. But that's where Burton and billions of other humans (plus a few nonhumans) find themselves as the epic Riverworld saga begins. It seems that all of Earthly humanity has been resurrected on the planet, each with an indestructible container that provides three meals a day, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, a lighter, and the odd tube of lipstick. But why? And by whom?
That's what Burton and a handful of fellow adventurers are determined to discover as they construct a boat and set out in search of the river's source, thought to be millions of miles away. Although there are many hardships during the journey--including an encounter with the infamous Hermann Goring--Burton's resolve to complete his quest is strengthened by a visit from the Mysterious Stranger, a being who claims to be a renegade within the very group that created the Riverworld. The stranger tells Burton that he must make it to the river's headwaters, along with a dozen others the Stranger has selected, to help stop an evil experiment at the end of which humanity will simply be allowed to die. --Craig E. Engler
From the Inside Flap
o ever lived on Earth have found themselves resurrected--healthy, young, and naked as newborns--on the grassy banks of a mighty river, in a world unknown. Miraculously provided with food, but with no clues to the meaning of their strange new afterlife, billions of people from every period of Earth's history--and prehistory--must start again.
Sir Francis Bacon would be the first to glimpse the incredible way-station, a link between worlds. This forbidden sight would spur the renowned 19th-century explorer to uncover the truth. Along with a remarkable group of compatriots, including Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the Victorian girl who was the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland), an English-speaking Neanderthal, a WWII Holocaust survivor, and a wise extraterrestrial, Burton sets sail on the magnificent river. His mission: to confront humankind's mysterious benefactors, and learn the true purpose--innocent or evil--of the Riverworld . . .
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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."
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.
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.
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Book 1 starts off tremendous (!!Read more