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To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld Book 1)

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Philip Jose Farmer
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Welcome to Riverworld . . .

It is not like our world - or any world that can be imagined by anyone but Philip Jose Farmer. It is huge and mysterious. It has a central river, rimmed by mountains, with a hidden source and an unknown end. Reborn there is every last soul who ever lived on Earth - from prehistoric apemen to moondwelling future civilisations.

Reborn there is Sir Richard Francis Burton, translator of The Arabian Nights, explorer, brawler, scholar, womaniser - adventurer. His quest to discover the end of the river, the meaning of the world's existence - and lovely Alice Hargreaves (the real-life model for Alice in Wonderland) form a science fiction adventure that is already recognised as a classic.

Winner of the Hugo Award for best novel, 1972

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 351 KB
  • Print Length: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Gateway (24 Jan 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #96,515 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This science fiction novel was published in 1971 and won the Hugo award in 1972. Farmer went on to write several other novels set in the same Riverworld, a planet that has been terraformed into one extensive river valley. Although it has its faults and is dated, it's still an excellent novel and essential reading for a science fiction fan.

Riverworld is a skilled novel that mingles history and science fiction. The main protagonist of the novel is Sir Richard Francis Burton, a fascinating historical figure who was a skilled linguist, explorer, and translator (he translated 1,000 Arabian Nights and the Kama Sutra, for example). He spoke 29 languages, an ability that comes in useful. The book opens with Richard Burton dying as an old man and then waking up on a strange, other world. He and the others around him now inhabit 25 year old, hairless, unblemished bodies in the peak of health and vitality.

The people around him are from all different periods and are people fairly well-known, such as Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the child Lewis Carroll interacted with as a child and probably based his books off of) and Hermann Göring (a Nazi War criminal). Another prominent figure is a man from "the future" of 2008 called Peter Jairus Frigate (and I realized after reading the Riverworld wiki that he has the same initials as Farmer and evidently is like him in several ways).

The story follows Burton and his gang as they explore the vast river valley and try to discover answers--are they in heaven, or hell, or something else? I loved the situation because it is sort of how I imagined the afterlife when I was a little girl--we would be reincarnated somewhere else on another planet.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
This story is based on an idea so big it's not surprising it took four sequels and a further hundred or so characters to express it in its entirety. As a piece of science fiction, the science is believably presented (for the most part), cohesive, and intriguing, and the fiction is of a marvelously inventive calibre. In fact, it could be considered as bordering on science fantasy - the situations are certainly fantastic enough, and there's a lot of action. In fact, I found this to be the one real weak spot of the series as a whole - too much time has gone into describing various fight scenes (be it among makeshift aircraft, between proud boats, or simply good old fashioned fisticuffs) in blow-by-blow detail. Personally, I found this occasionally had the effect of making the story seem childish and the writing seem laboured.
The writing itself is not of an amazingly high quality, but it doesn't suffer at the expense of the ideas as much as in many other SF and F novels. It's not bad; it's just obviously not the focus of the story, that's all.
In any case, it would be worth putting up with far worse for the sheer pleasure of reading about Alice (In Wonderland)'s meeting with Mark Twain, or how King John might interact with Herman Goring.
All in all, a dazzeling and readable piece of inventive storytelling, well worth a littel time and money. But be warned: if you're gonna read one, you're pretty much commiting yourself to completing the entire series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars boys' own adventure on the endless river 19 Feb 2009
This is an enjoyable, sprawling adventure that falls somewhere between sf and fantasy. Richard Burton, real-life translator of the Arabian Nights, 'explorer, brawler, scholar' and all-round Real Man, wakens from his deathbed to find himself reborn, naked, into a strange world based around a seemingly endless river, hemmed in on either side by impassable mountains. Reincarnated with him, and also naked, are countless millions of other humans, from all ages and civilisations, cavemen to modern man and beyond. Once the initial shock of rebirth has passed, most of the reborn are content to pair off, build huts, fight, get intoxicated, enslave their fellow man, etc....but Burton is determined to find out who, or what, is behind this mass reincarnation, and he sets off to find the source of the river, where he believes he will find the meaning of his new life.

There is a bit of romantic interest at the start of the book, when Burton meets and quickly falls in love with Alice Hargreaves, the real-life inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. But this is soon abandoned for the real thrust of the book, which is non-stop action, adventure, gory fighting and general manliness as Burton struggles to reach his destination.

The scope of this story is huge, and a world populated by people from all ages of human history, including real-life historical figures, is always going to be difficult to pull off. The author manages well for the most part, purely through the verve and momentum of his writing. There are inevitable anachronisms and historical clunkers, and characterisation is necessarily sketchy, but it's an enjoyable and gripping read for the most part. There is enough left unresolved by the end of the book to send you to the next book in the series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More a Metaphysical Fantasy than Orthodox Sci-Fi 25 Oct 2010
"To Your Scattered Bodies Go" is the first book in Philip José Farmer's "Riverworld" series. The title is derived from a poem by John Donne in which he imagines the resurrection of the dead; Farmer's novel also concerns this subject, although, unlike Donne's, his interest in the subject is not religious but imaginative and speculative.

The basic idea behind the novel is that every single human being who has ever lived, from the Stone Age up until 2008 AD, is simultaneously resurrected on a strange planet ("Riverworld") whose surface seemingly consists of one single river-valley several million miles long but only a few miles wide; on either side of the valley are impenetrable mountains. The planet has an equable climate and is covered in vegetation, but has no animal life other than earthworms and various types of fish in the river. Those people who died as children are resurrected at the age at which they died; those who died as adults are, irrespective of their age at death, resurrected as young men and women in their twenties with perfect, healthy bodies.

The main character is Richard Burton- not the actor who was twice married to Elizabeth Taylor (he was still alive when Farmer wrote the book in 1971), but his Victorian namesake, the famous adventurer, explorer, writer, translator and linguist. Other real historical individuals who feature prominently in the novel are Alice Liddell Hargreaves (the inspiration for "Alice in Wonderland") and the Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering, as villainous in the afterlife as he was on Earth. Another important character is Peter Jairus Frigate, a fictionalised version of the author himself; the two have the same initials, the same date of birth (1918) and the same home town (Peoria, Illinois).
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good condition. item as advertised
Good condition.
item as advertised. Recommended.
Published 4 days ago by Neil Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars So delighted to be able to read these again
So delighted to be able to read these again. Characters from history in an out of this world setting, simply perfect. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Anon
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant thank you!
Published 1 month ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars Great concept
I bought this after watching the original pilot film from (I think) 2003. That film was generally rubbish but the concept was great - it really makes you think about "what's... Read more
Published 2 months ago by V7SLR
5.0 out of 5 stars great read better than the film
Really enjoyed this few years late in readin it lol. much superior to the film, thouroghly recommended proper sci fi.
Published 4 months ago by custer 47
2.0 out of 5 stars Disjointed
I found this book difficult to read. It seems to lack cohesive flow and jumps around rather a lot. After a time, I found the scenarios somewhat 'samey. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Indianna
5.0 out of 5 stars Science fiction at it's best.
A wonderful feast for the imagination. An endless river populated by everyone that ever lived. All thrown together. They awake aged 25 and naked. Read more
Published 10 months ago by A. M. Basson
5.0 out of 5 stars what a book
probably one of the best books I have ever read. Ist read in paperback way back when it was first released then again on paper 5 years ago now on kindle and it is STILL a super... Read more
Published 14 months ago by book adict?
5.0 out of 5 stars Still enjoyable
I read this, and the rest of the series, some years ago and wanted to see if it still kept my interest. It did! Read more
Published 14 months ago by Lynda Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars A poor read.
This book, although having a fantastic premise, is awful. It is poorly paced, months turn into years in a few sentences, the characters are poorly formed and (speaking for myself)... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Liam1234
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