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To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld #1)

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  23,224 Ratings  ·  634 Reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 220 pages
Published June 30th 1998 by Del Rey (first published 1971)
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Nov 28, 2013 Lyn rated it really liked it
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.

Apr 04, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, 2016-shelf
It's 1972 and the Hugos just named this one best novel, and why?

Because it's actually 2016 and this novel has just been optioned by both HBO AND Showtime for an ongoing series noted mostly for it's all nude cast, all the time, celebrities and historical personages all coming back to their most perfect forms, and, of course, senseless war and violence. (When they're not expounding on philosophy, of course, because philosophy and religion always leads to a cave-man's club and a bunch of grabbing o

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
Apr 01, 2010 TK421 rated it it was amazing
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
Revisit 2015 is via audio file 07:42:33

Description: 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 begin
Kat  Hooper
Dec 29, 2010 Kat Hooper rated it really liked it
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
May 21, 2010 Matt rated it did not like it
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
Althea Ann
Sep 28, 2013 Althea Ann rated it did not like it
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
Mar 21, 2013 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
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.
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)
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
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
Apr 14, 2009 Gregory rated it it was amazing
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.
Mike Moore
Nov 01, 2011 Mike Moore rated it it was ok
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
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it
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
Jun 09, 2013 Tony rated it liked it
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
Meg Powers
Feb 15, 2010 Meg Powers rated it really liked it
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
Oct 29, 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
Dec 08, 2009 Amanda rated it liked it
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
Apr 20, 2010 Karen rated it did not like it
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
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
Artur Coelho
Oct 02, 2016 Artur Coelho rated it really liked it
Quando o explorador e orientalista Richard Burton acorda nas margens de um vasto rio, nasce um estranho mistério. A sua última recordação era do seu leito de morte, e agora descobre-se nu e desprovido de pilosidades, nas planícies que ladeiam um rio interminável. Não é caso único. Parece que a toda a humanidade foi concedida uma ressurreição nas margens deste rio planetário. Intrigado, com o seu sentido de explorador aguçado, Burton parte à descoberta dos segredos deste estranho mundo novo, onde ...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
May 12, 2016 Zedsdead rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Zedsdead by: ?
What a premise. In a sense this book is just a tremendous thought experiment. Every sentient humanoid who ever lived wakes up in a temperate river valley of apparently infinite length, youthful, strong, and naked. Disease and pests are absent. No one ages or gets pregnant. Food and recreational drugs are provided three times a day. What would happen?

War, rape, and slavery, according to Farmer. Sadly, I'm sure he's right. But the details are engrossing. The distribution of languages and cultures,
Jonathan Erwin
Feb 02, 2014 Jonathan Erwin rated it liked it
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
♥ Marlene♥
Jun 12, 2009 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 27, 2014 fromcouchtomoon rated it liked it
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.
May 31, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing
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.

Nov 25, 2012 Steven rated it it was amazing
Good novel. Totally weird, creepy, bizarre, alternative Earth, populated with resurrected humanity.
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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)

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