Lisa (Harmonybites)'s Reviews > To Your Scattered Bodies Go

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
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's review
Sep 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, science-fiction, ultimate-reading-list, novels, fiction
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
Recommended for: Everyone
Read on September 04, 2010

This is the opening novel in Farmer's Riverworld and was a fantastic read. I just cracked open the book and hours later I blink having reached the last page--so smooth style and page turner. This was written in 1971 but didn't read as dated, aside from that time's Environmental Doom Fad(tm).

The premise is fantastical: every humanoid being born on the Earth from Homo Erectus to early 21st Century Homo Sapiens to alien visitors, about 35 billion of them, is resurrected along the banks of a river that runs millions of miles through an alien planet. This might sound like a fantasy, but is very much science-fiction with a scientific rationale and a mysterious purpose.

All this is seen through the point of view of Sir Richard Burton, not the actor, but the 19th Century British explorer and linguist. There are other characters prominent in the story, fictional and historical, including Kazz, a Neanderthal, and Monat, an alien from Tau Ceti who died on Earth.

One of the fictional ones is an obvious stand-in for the author himself: Peter Jairus Frigate, born in 1918, the same year as Philip Jose Farmer. That character is a fan of Burton and knows much about his life, even if not blind to his faults. Obviously true of Farmer--because Burton is rendered in a way that is rounded, fascinating, and obviously well-researched as are many of the other characters we meet. This novel certainly makes me want to read more of the Riverworld series--not all the threads are tied up at the end and I want to find out what happens!
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