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To Your Scattered Bodies Go

(Riverworld #1)

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  27,080 ratings  ·  800 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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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  27,080 ratings  ·  800 reviews

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Nov 28, 2013 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 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-shelf, sci-fi
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 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
Zoe's Human
Mar 21, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
I can't even continue 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.
Apr 01, 2010 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 d
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 begins. It seems that all
Kat  Hooper
Dec 29, 2010 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 h
Apr 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this many years ago, but never wanted to read any more in the series. As time went by, I forgot why, so I thought I'd reread it & see. The description makes this sound really neat & it is, but it's also disappointing. It's certainly open ended enough that I should want to continue, but I don't - again.

It starts off with a great idea. Everyone is reborn into their body at their prime. They have plenty of food, no disease or insects, & a great climate with abundant n
Althea Ann
Sep 28, 2013 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 t
Shawn Deal
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
There is really a lot to love in this book. First--the inventive idea of coming back to life on a foreign planet with everyone else who has ever lived. Second--now all the characters must live with each other and other hsitorical figures, how does one get along with so many different people displaced from time. Third--just survival on a foreign planet. There is a lot to wrap your mind around in this book, especially when it comes to social interaction with various kinds of people and characters. ...more
Lark Benobi
I was really put off by its misogyny, its bullheaded masculinity, its eurocentrism. Like much science fiction, it simply can't escape the stale assumptions of its time. These problems do make the book an interesting read on another level. At least I can see how far we've come. But I also wish someone would write an alternative vision, a book that would have the same kind of wonderful, playful, pan-historical mish-mosh of characters, but that would not have the same unpleasant philosophical limit ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I loved the concept behind this book more than the story itself. It was good but it could have been much better. The idea of millions of people, spanning the globe and human history, waking beside each other was fantastic. Then to learn that they were deliberately brought together was even more fascinating. But then there was the story itself.

Told from the POV of Sir Richard Burton, the dialogue felt unauthentic but still dated. There were some other interesting characters but there wasn’t near
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
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
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 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
This one had been toward the top of my TBR pile for several years. The premise was intriguing and all the awards it won made me think I was going to be reading a thought provoking yarn once I finally picked it up. Well, it certainly did end up provoking quite a few thoughts, not all of them good.

The world building was phenomenal and there was a twist or two that surprised me. I also really liked that we had people spanning the entirety of human history and evolution suddenly being pushed togeth
Apr 14, 2009 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 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
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Meg Powers
Feb 15, 2010 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
Mar 07, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Sir Richard Francis Burton is a Dick.
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it
admittedly, I hate sci-fi, so at best this might have gotten a three from me-- but wow, this book did not age well.
Kelly Flanagan
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's rather funny how I came to this audio book. I have had it for a few years in a cool little list my friend gave me for x-mas. The Top 100 azzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
ok, guess I'll get this done, awake!
Nov 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Good novel. Totally weird, creepy, bizarre, alternative Earth, populated with resurrected humanity.
to your scattered bodies go, the first in the riverworld series, has people (and some aliens, and some prehistoric humans) being resurrected from death, and popping up near a huge river in a gorgeous green land filled with plants, flowers, trees (but no animals or bugs).

these people (and aliens and prehistoric humans) come from all different time periods, from the future, and from the beginning of time as well. they speak every conceivable language.

they’re hairless at first. and young (about 2
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf, audio, space
{2.5 rounded down}
Can a human change its spots? Most likely not according to this book. On the one hand the book gave more answers to the mysteries of the world creation than I recall the TV series did, but on the other hand the situations seemed to linger and wound as the river itself without reaching the main arc-plot {4 more books in this series} or providing something too exciting for \ out of the main protagonist.
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, alth ...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
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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 rew

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)
“Know a man's faith, and you knew at least half the man. Know his wife, and you knew the other half.” 6 likes
“The fortune of the man who sits also sits” 5 likes
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