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The Fabulous Riverboat

(Riverworld #2)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  9,581 ratings  ·  276 reviews
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 f ...more
Paperback, 231 pages
Published July 28th 1998 by Del Rey (first published 1971)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  9,581 ratings  ·  276 reviews

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May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-shelf, sci-fi
It's a pretty okay novel, but it suffers from being a product of its times. That being said, it's pretty fun to ride with Samuel L. Clemens on his constantly-being-built steamboat, made of "Space Age" plastics! Wooooo that stuff is a pretty neat idea! Ahem. Sorry. I got carried away there.

A lot of the action is mostly finding new ways to build tech on the extremely huge world of reincarnated humans from all time periods showing up at the same time here, but we've moved along far enough that nat
Richard Derus


The only part of this that survived the decades well is the subplot about SamMark and his beloved, obsessed-over Livy. Be careful what you wish for in this life! (I actually mean "Riverworld life," though that hoary old saying is hoary and old because it never stops being true.) The "race relations" aren't new or trenchant, just tediously familiar. The modern then, well-trodden-trail now use of insomnia, depression, and drug use to self-medicate them is gloom-inducing. Heteronormat
Revisit 2015 via audio file 09:04:17

Description: 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 visi
J.G. Keely
Sep 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to J.G. Keely by: Ama's Father
As in the first book, Farmer bites off more than he can chew. By using real individuals and cultures from history as his fodder, Farmer invites close inspection by readers familiar with (and fond of) those characters and cultures.

His protagonist is an unfunny Mark Twain, whose occasional spoutings lack the vitriol for which Twain is renowned. Farmer seems to take direct quotes (often from Twain's books) and place them awkwardly into the conversation, which only makes conspicuous how dull the res
♥ Marlene♥
Well this book was a bit of a disappointment to me. I loved book 1 but book 2 , I do not know, It seems to me it was more a war book. There were still scenes I thought interesting, like the relation ship between Sam and his earth wife and I liked The Big guy but hated the way he talked. It was hard for me to understand what he was saying, but overall I was just glad to end it.
I will give book 3 a try. I am reading it right now and glad to be back with Richard F. Burton to be honest. Maybe that w
Ira Therebel
Second book in the series was as good as the first one. The main idea of the after death world is of course still there. And that world is a pretty fascinating idea. In this book there is a closer look at the society which is something I was missing in the first.

The social issue in the book is racism. I think it is done pretty well. There is this question whether people can change. Then how the idea that society will change when people with prejudices die out doesn't work in their world. It was
Jun 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
I had to DNF this. Since I liked the first book so much, I was surprised how much I disliked this sequel. I was fascinated with the concept that everyone who had ever lived had been resurrected into this strange Riverworld. But as much as I enjoyed To Your Scattered Bodies Go, this second installment just fell flat for me. The characters seemed one-dimensional and I had no interest in the fighting and battles. I should have quit after the first book.
Holden Attradies
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of those times that a sequel to an amazing book isn't just as good, but far surpasses it. Farmer takes the world he set up in the first Riverworld book and takes the idea of a few select resurrected members of humanity trying to uncover the secrets of how and why they were resurrected. This centers around Samuel Clemens obsession of building a grand riverboat to take them to the headwaters.

Clemens is an amazing main character. He is so neurotic and filled with so much guilt and self
May 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I don't know much about Mark Twain but he was insufferable in this story. The whole thing was incredibly boring -- blah blah angst, blah blah battles, more battles, yada yada factories, pinch of racism, and end. I feel like this whole thing could have been a page or so explanation for the next book. As it is, it was 250+ tedious pages that added very little to the world building. To Your Scattered Bodies Go introduced such a cool world and tantalizing questions and this was a really disappointin ...more
Kat  Hooper
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the first of Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld novels, was a fast-paced, highly creative, and extremely exciting story, so I was eager to continue the tale in the second novel, The Fabulous Riverboat. This part of the story of mankind’s resurrection onto a million-miles-long stretch of river valley focuses on Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) — one of the people who’ve been contacted by a traitor who hopes to use twelve special humans
This is the second installation in the Riverworld saga. In the first, Richard Burton (the English explorer, not the actor) was the primary character. In this book, it is Samuel Clemens who is front and center. He is on a mission to find some iron so he can build (and captain) a riverboat to the end/beginning of the river. He gets some help from "X", one of the "ethicals" (nonhuman) who is responsible for the rebirth of all the people on Riverworld, but one who disagrees with what's going on. App ...more
Shawn Thrasher
Aug 10, 2015 rated it did not like it
The last time I read this book was probably 25 years ago. But for about 10 years - let's say age 14 - 25, I loved these books. If you asked me, I could probably reliably narrate most of the plots of each book in the series, enough to maybe even make YOU want to read it.

Some books from long ago, you go back and re-read and it's a pleasure. You discover new things about the book, you remember why you loved the book in the first place, it becomes even more a part of your heart and soul. Some books,
What a pleasure after my disastrous end of the year experiences to read a competently written novel by a writer I've known about for years but never taken the plunge on.

The story, which is considered sci-fi but clearly testing Clarke's third law, is about the dead of earth who find themselves resurrected on a massive alien—we'll call it a planet—which consists of a giant river flowing tens or hundreds of thousands of miles and is banked on either side by impossibly high mountains. Every one has
Michael Goodine
May 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the first Riverworld book, I'm continuing my reexamination of the series.

"The Fabulous Riverboat" is the second book in the series, and it has a somewhat confusing publication history. The story here was originally published in four parts - two parts in 1967 and more two parts in 1971 (all in "If" Magazine). These parts were combined (and somewhat revised) for the book-length version, which was also published in 1971... the same year as "To Your Scattered Bod
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Storyline: 2/5
Characters: 2/5
Writing Style: 3/5
World: 2/5

This wasn't the book I wanted, and it wasn't the book I expected. I was prepared for the story of Riverworld to advance, but this was basically a parallel story to the first in the series. When I realized that this story was going to follow Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens, I was skeptical. Clemens has a reputation for riotously witty banter and commentary. Farmer's handling of characters in the first book of the series did not suggest to me that
Laura Floyd
May 28, 2020 rated it did not like it
I could basically just rewrite the review I left for To Your Scattered Bodies Go for this, so you can go read that here:

But I liked this one less. MORE testosterone, MORE fantastically coincidental alignment of famous (white white WHITE) historic characters, MORE idiotic male philosophizing.

And then the book ends and (view spoiler)
John Loyd
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Fabulous Riverboat (1971) 256 pages by Philip Jose Farmer.

This is like chapter two in Riverworld. It's in the same setting as To Your Scattered Bodies Go, but it follows a second set of characters and doesn't come to a conclusion. No it ends like it was chapter two.

The premise of riverworld is that some alien species has taken every human being who ever died on Earth and resurected them on the planet of riverworld. Each person woke up naked and with a bucket. The planet consists of one endle
Beau Williams
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Very disappointed with this book I may pick up the series again at a later date but this books just didn't help me empathize with its main character. And I love mark twain. ...more
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
See my review of "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" if you want to know how I felt about this book. Overall these books weren't bad, per se, but they weren't great either. I don't regret reading these first two books, but I don't think I'll ever get around to reading the other sequels. ...more
Mar 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: scifi, fiction
I read this because I expected it to just be the second half of To Your Scattered Bodies Go , but it turns out that both books are just the first part of The Dark Design (or so it seems).

I liked the overall setting and story - they are sitting on the only iron in the entire Riverworld, which both gives them a huge advantage and makes them a huge target - and they actually have something to work towards. This also puts more of the "sting" back in death, because even though they would come
David B
Oct 12, 2014 rated it it was ok
All of humanity has been resurrected along the shores of The Riverworld, though no one knows why. Guided by a rebel from among the ranks of those who created the place, Sam Clemens and his friends build a riverboat like the ones from Clemens' Mississippi days to search out the headwaters of the river and the mysterious castle which is rumored to exist there. In the process, they build a nation and become involved in war and intrigue with their neighbors.

I was enjoying this novel. The prose is un
Rob Allen
Mar 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best stories I ever read. I know people that read books hear this a lot..."you won't be able to put it down".
In this case I found that to be very true. What it says here is a pale shadow to how good it really is.
Everyone that has ever lived on Earth is resurrected on a very large planet. This planet has a river that runs all around it.
This sets Mr. Farmer (the writer) up to write one hell of a set of stories/books. He can have Vikings fighting alongside of Mark Twain.(etc.)
Really, it
Jul 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The story of a strange after-life where all the humans who ever lived have been resurrected on a planet dominated by a winding river continues, this time focusing on the adventures of Samuel Clemens, who befriends a gigantic hominid and founds a state with King John of England. Intrigue and double-crossing abound as Clemens attempts to build a vast riverboat to explore Riverworld and confront its creators, while John and neighboring kingdoms hope to subvert Clemens' work in order to gain the boa ...more
Joe Masilotti
Sep 19, 2019 rated it liked it
World building: excellent
Character development: one-dimensional
Racism: high

Riverworld, where everyone (ever!) has been resurrected to live out their lives as spry 25 year olds until the end of time. The Fabulous Riverboat continues the series following an author's quest to build a vessel that will take him to the end of the river. What he and his followers do to get there is anything less than savory.

There's so much to love about the world of Riverworld. So much that still works today and doesn'
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
This one is a little better written than the first. Mark Twain and a prehistoric giant find a meteorite and built a vast metal boat, the only one on Riverworld. Still no women characters, and in my opinion, too many invented characters when he has the entirety of history to play with. The dialogue in this book is more realistic. Still, I think Farmer is one of those writers who is incapable of having characters speak in any way and with any mindset other than his, Farmer's, own. Thus there is li ...more
Erik Graff
Sep 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Riverworld fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
This, the second volume of Farmer's Riverworld series, follows Richard Burton's narrative in To Your Scattered Bodies Go and precedes The Dark Design. Samuel L. Clemens, aka Mark Twain, is the protagonist of this novel.

While the concept of the Riverworld mightily impressed me at the outset of the first volume, successive stories began to drag. Sure, there's a mystery--a lot of mysteries!--to be solved, but nothing was quite so exciting as the concept which set the stage for the series.
Charles Harrison
Dec 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book in a weird way reminds me of playing strategy games like the CIV series. It is all about resource allocation. Spend to much building wonders and your neighbors will stomp you into the ground. Too much on trade and you won't have any left to build. Combine this with 'rebuilding civilization' themes which are always a favorite and some politics and espionage makes this an excellent sequel. ...more
May 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Reminded me a lot of the John Carter books. Books tends to get tied up describing a lot of detail and sometimes repetitious. But it does have fun characters and a fair bit of action (be it war). The romance isn't well done. Technology is surprisingly accurate for an almost 45 year old book. Not sure if I'll read anymore. ...more
Adds a new dimension to the expression "sell someone down the river". Oh, and in this novel Hermann Goering is a good guy.

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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

Other books in the series

Riverworld (5 books)
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld, #1)
  • The Dark Design (Riverworld, #3)
  • The Magic Labyrinth (Riverworld, #4)
  • The Gods of Riverworld (Riverworld, #5)

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