Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “To Your Scattered Bodies Go” as Want to Read:
To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld #1)

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  20,999 Ratings  ·  564 Reviews
All those who 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 wo

Paperback, 222 pages
Published October 15th 1978 by Berkley (first published 1971)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about To Your Scattered Bodies Go, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about To Your Scattered Bodies Go

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details

A very Kilgore Troutish book. Farmer comes up with a phenomenal idea: a world where every human being who's ever lived has been resurrected, to spend the rest of eternity coming to terms with each other along the banks of a gigantic river. Unfortunately, after a few chapters it becomes clear that the author has no real plan about where to go with his concept. I remember some reviewer expressing similar disappointment with "The Matrix". It starts with a metaphysical revelation, and ends with a sh
Jul 02, 2015 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Your Scattered Bodies Go was author Philip Jose Farmer’s 1971 novel that went on the win the 1972 Hugo Award for Best Novel.

About as inventive as a great science fiction novel from a very good writer can be, this describes a world where everyone who ever lived is reincarnated into a river valley environment. Filled with philosophical and theological metaphor, this is an excellent vehicle for the author to explore various subjects revolving around sociology, human nature and group dynamics.

Nov 05, 2011 TK421 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi
Let’s say you died in 2005. You wake up on a beach (I am simplifying here for those of that have not read this—the book does not start off on a beach), next to a river that is endless. You have no recollection of this place. You know this can't be possible because next to you are a man dressed in 16th century attire and a bit further down from him is what looks like a Neanderthal. But, hey, you're in a Philip Jose Farmer novel, so anything's possible.

I love the concept that when we die (regardl
J.G. Keely
For me, the appeal of Speculative Fiction is the breadth and depth of its scope. An author is free to explore the most difficult questions and imagine worlds vastly different from anything we have ever experienced. Though all literature is concerned with what it means to be human, few outside of Sci Fi go to such lengths to ask what it means to be capable of thought and self-knowledge

However, there is a drawback. Often, authors succumb to the temptation to create a world so new, so different, so
Kat  Hooper
Feb 09, 2011 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

After he died, the famous 19th century explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton wasn’t surprised to find that what the Christian priests had taught about the Resurrection wasn’t true. But he was totally bewildered by what actually happened. He woke up young, hairless, naked, and turning in midair (as if on a spit) in the middle of 37 billion other young, hairless, naked and rotating humans. Soon after waking, the bodies — all the people over the age of five who
Althea Ann
Sep 28, 2013 Althea Ann rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Usually, the Hugo Awards are a good recommendation for entertaining literature.
Not in this case. I really don't understand how this book could have been given an award of any kind. Were there NO other sf novels published in 1971?
Farmer uses historical figures as his characters as an excuse to not bother writing any characterization of any kind. Every character in the novel is completely two-dimensional. It's pretty hard to make such an interesting and multi-dimensional character as the historica
Jun 10, 2010 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Philip Jose Farmer's strangely Hugo winning novel "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" is mostly notable in that it serves as a perfect example of how exactly not to write a science-fiction novel. The only thing I can think of is that all of the Hugo voters the year of its winning decided they were going to be ironic and vote for the worst sci-fi book released that year, as some kind of post-dada critique on the awards process.

Farmer starts with a great idea: everyone who dies wakes up on a mysterious
4.0 stars. Excellent novel by one of the under-rated masters of science ficiton. Great, original concept and a well-written plot. Recommended.

Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1972)
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1972)
Maggie K
The one sentence version: Great idea, bad execution....

I LOVE the idea of a world where everyone who ever existed is suddenly reesurrected and given a second chance...if that is what's really happening...

However, it seems like it never gets too developed from an idea into a story, and using real-life people as characters...well, it can be sometimes disconcerting. When the main character Richard Burton goes after Alice Hargreaves (Alice in Wonderland) it seems more like a peek at the author's own
Greg of A2
The first PJF novel I ever read. His short stories from sci-fi magazines had impressed me but this novel went way beyond that. This novel has one of the most memorable opening sequences in all of sci-fi literature. Even 20+ years since I read this novel, I can still recall the fascinating opening of it with the suspended bodies and our protagonist coming awake. The mix of sci-fi and religion is always fascinating to me but in the hands of PJF, it was doubly fascinating.
Meg Powers
I don't know if this book actually deserves a four star rating, but it has been haunting the back of my mind since senior year of high school, when I had to read it for my "Literature of Science" class. Haunting me not because it is an amazing piece of literature (I recall it being awkwardly written ) but because it is so WEIRD. It's weird in that way that certain low budget movies you catch on t.v. late at night are weird. The progression of events and the unfolding of the story is weird. The c ...more
Imagine that you wake up and the last thing that you remember is dying. You're lying on a riverbank surrounded by strangers who are naked and hairless just as you are. As you explore your surroundings, you find that you are no longer on Earth and the people around you are all the people from the beginning of time who have lived and died on Earth. Furthermore, there are no animals or insects, but there are plenty of fish in a river that seems never never to end. Meals and wants like cigarettes, a ...more
Nov 21, 2014 Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Un libro impresionante, sin duda entre los mejores que me he leído este año. Hablar del tema que trata es un spoiler en sí, por lo que recomiendo no leer la sinopsis, y empezarlo sin saber absolutamente nada de lo que trata. Te sorprenderá gratamente.

El libro es claramente de ciencia ficción, pero tiene muchísimo de aventuras y sobre todo de misterio. Buena parte del libro me ha recordado a la serie "LOST", con ese halo de misterio y dudas que necesitan ser resueltas lo antes posible, y que te
Jun 09, 2013 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO. (1971). Philip Jose Farmer. ***.
According to the jacket cover, this is the first book of the legendary “Riverworld” saga. It also lets you know that this novel was the winner of the Hugo Award (1972). It looks as if there were a total of five books in the Riverworld series by the time Farmer quit, but this first one is likely to be enough for me. The concept was clever: all the people on Earth who died (which included all the present population up to 2008 because of
Nancy Oakes
Jan 12, 2009 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
First, a word of warning: do NOT expect to know the answers to the questions you're going to have by the end of this book. They aren't there. So if you read this book, get to the end of it and say "this stinks! There's no resolution! I hate this book," don't say I didn't warn you! The book isn't about finding the's the journey that counts. And if by the end of the book you don't have any questions, you need to go back and read it again because your curiousity should be absolutely on ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hugo Award Winner. listening to this on audio in the car


Wanted to give this a 3.5, but as i'm not able too, i guess it gets a 3 because i don't feel right giving it a 4. Until about halfway through the book i was gonna give it a 5 but then it felt like the the author didn't really know where else to go with the story and wanted to make sure it was a novel not a novella. So it just went on somewhat pointlesss,(i thought),for a bit. The end
May 14, 2010 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I tried. I realy did. The premise of this book is fascinating and right up my alley. I got about 1/4 of the way through and realized I couldn't continute. It wasn't because 1) The protagonist is unlikeable, unsympathetic, possibly a rapist and definitely kind of an @sshole (though, to be honest, I'm sure Farmer was drawing on his knowledge of the real Burton) or 2) It was insanely misogynistic, racist, and possibly homophobic, but mostly because 3) It was written like a 12th grade writing projec ...more
Michelle Ruedin
Jun 19, 2015 Michelle Ruedin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can't even with this book. The premise is moderately interesting, but the sexism is just too much. Prudes and whores and nags and every fucking stereotype of woman you can think of, but god forbid there be a woman who serves any purpose other than sex object or victim. Yet another "genius" who can imagine a world without religion or oppressive sexual mores, but can't imagine competent women with purpose and agency outside of a man.

DNFed at page 78.
Mike Moore
Here's the premise: all of mankind is reborn, all at once, on a planet custom made for the purpose. If you think about this for a few minutes, you'll probably come up with all sorts of possibilities: anthropological exploration, meeting famous historical figures, fights with savages from various time periods. Give it a few minutes more and you'll probably start thinking about your personal interactions: folks you might want to settle a score with, or even people long dead who you'd like to take ...more
Ben Babcock
When I first began reading To Your Scattered Bodies Go, I didn't give it enough credit. It has an amazing premise, and as a narrative it contains both the conflict and the thematic depth required to create a compelling science fiction story. And, I mean, it won the Hugo award—that can't be bad! So why was I so incredulous in the beginning? I'm not sure. It might have been the opening, which didn't draw me in like a book should. And it was difficult to connect to Burton as a character at first, a ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Oct 09, 2012 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥ Marlene♥ by: My father
Shelves: sf-fantasy, series
Wow. Just finished reading this first book and it is so fascinating. My dad told me the first 3 books are great but the last 2 are not.

I think I am going to start reading book 2 now.
Finished this book just now. June 21 2009

"Really enjoying it. So curious what is going to happen next and I love that P.J. Farmer used real people like Richard Francis Burton."

06/19/2009 "I've read this book about 25 years ago Yes I am old. ;)
and I think I never finished it cause I lost the 2 books. I always wanted
Patrick Gibson
Jun 26, 2015 Patrick Gibson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Re-reading another classic from my youth—to see if it is as good as I remember:

And…yes it does.

What captures your attention and holds it is not just the brilliantly creative story premise, which by itself would be worth a read, but the quality of research which Philip Jose Farmer clearly put into creating this novel. By using Burton as his main character, a flesh-and-blood anti-hero plucked straight from history, the fantastic action takes on a very believable feel, being no more amazing than an
Authorial fantasy fulfillment with PJF traipsing around history in an idyllic postmortem riverbed SCATTERED with his favorite controversial historical figures (and a bevy of hot, young, nude ass). Starts out creepy with the protagonist's obsession with Alice (of Wonderland, adult now, but nude descriptions are still creeperville) and turns quickly into history's postmortem version of celebrity death match. Blah.
Jun 01, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the great sci-fi epics of all time.
Everyone that ever lived on earth has been cloned and deposited on an alien world, dominated by a huge ( you guessed it) river.

What happened? Who did this? What the heck is going on? A band of assorted historical characters are thrown together with the hopes of surviving in this strange new world and discovering the secrets of the Riverworld.

Buck Ward
A unique premise: All the human beings who had ever lived are resurrected on a world made for that purpose. They find themselves all at once, naked and youthful, in this strange place. Their basic needs of food and water are provided for as they begin to form new communities, cultures, civilizations. Stone age war is a common state of affairs.

Some of the characters are historical persons: Hermann Goering the infamous Nazi, Alice Liddell Hargreaves of Alice in Wonderland fame, and Sir Richard Fra
Jonathan Erwin
I enjoyed this book though to be honest it only really got interesting in the last fifty pages or so. I liked the ideas behind it and the protagonist had several qualities I truly enjoyed such as always questioning authority no matter how good the scotch is. The historical entities brought forth in the book caused a few problems for me. Herman Goring the character in the book was in my opinion pitiful, though when I think of Herman Goring the historical figure I felt that he had not been torture ...more
Mark Oppenlander
Famed 19th century explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies. When he awakes, he finds himself resurrected, lying naked on the banks of a seemingly endless river, along with every other human being (and non-human sentient) who has ever lived on Earth or ever will. The human race is provided with food that miraculously appears from strange machines, but little else. There are no buildings, no clothes and no instructions. It is clear that this is not the afterlife that most world religions promised ...more
Good novel. Totally weird, creepy, bizarre, alternative Earth, populated with resurrected humanity.
Mar 07, 2010 Ian rated it it was ok
Sir Richard Francis Burton is a Dick.
Clare O'Beara
Dec 14, 2015 Clare O'Beara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, dystopian
This tale is difficult to shelve between SF and fantasy. On the banks of an unending river, everyone who has lived on Earth is resurrected - all at once. This is not heaven, as some think, nor is it anywhere else expected. It's the Riverworld and the nod to SF is that the world has been created by advanced people to study humans.

Our guide through this extravaganza is the British explorer Sir Richard Burton, followed from the time of his death and a larger than life character. Burton was polyglo
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • A Case of Conscience (After Such Knowledge, #4)
  • They'd Rather Be Right
  • The Wanderer
  • Way Station
  • Stand on Zanzibar
  • Dreamsnake
  • Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
  • This Immortal
  • The Mule: From Foundation And Empire
  • Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3)
  • The Uplift War (The Uplift Saga, #3)
  • Man Plus
  • Rite of Passage
  • Hothouse
  • The High Crusade
  • The Terminal Experiment
  • The Persistence of Vision
  • The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)
Philip José Farmer was an American author, principally known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. He was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, but spent much of his life in Peoria, Illinois.

Farmer is best known for his Riverworld series and the earlier World of Tiers series. He is noted for his use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for and reworking of th
More about Philip José Farmer...

Other Books in the Series

Riverworld (5 books)
  • The Fabulous Riverboat (Riverworld, #2)
  • The Dark Design (Riverworld, #3)
  • The Magic Labyrinth (Riverworld, #4)
  • The Gods of Riverworld (Riverworld, #5)

Share This Book

“The fortune of the man who sits also sits” 5 likes
“Know a man's faith, and you knew at least half the man. Know his wife, and you knew the other half.” 2 likes
More quotes…