The Dark Design : Riverworld

  • by Philip José Farmer
  • Narrated by Paul Hecht
  • Series: Riverworld
  • 17 hrs and 59 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author Philip José Farmer crafted an science-fiction landmark with his wildly imaginative Riverworld series. In this third installment, much has transpired since Earth’s denizens found themselves resurrected along the shores of a river 22 million miles long. With the truth of this strange river’s creators, the Ethicals, still shrouded in mystery, Sir Richard Francis Burton, Samuel Clemens, King John, and Cyrano de Bergerac face a fantastical voyage of discovery.

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What the Critics Say

“Charts a territory somewhere between Gulliver’s Travels and The Lord of the Rings.” (Time)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The series seems to get longer and longer.

The concept for the Riverworld series was good: An alien world were the people who died on earth are brought back to life in youthful bodies; where there is a single monumental river and "grail stones" that provide for people's needs.

Unfortunately the series tends to drag on. The author concentrates too much on introducing far too many characters and trying ot define their psychological make up. The book even has a plot device: "dream gum" which is a hallucinogenic that actually makes them confront their fears and neuroses. Because of this, the plot drags on as we pause far too long, for the characters to "psychoanalyse" themselves or one another.

There are also many plot holes: Technology that appears from nowhere and extremely unlikely coincidences, are just two. For example the author goes into fine detail explaining how in such a large planet with billions of people, it is very unlikely that one person will come across specific people from their past life, and yet that's exactly what happens when the author needs it.

Finally, each book ends in a very unsatisfying way. At the beginning of each book you feel like you should have gotten much farther than you actually do. Also, for what actually happens in terms of plot, the author could have covered most of the events up to book 3 in just one book.
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- Battaglia

A strange continuation

Things to note:

This book doesn't reach the same kind of ending that the first two do. It tells a bunch of parallel stories but only really resolves one of them (and that one is sudden and abrupt) but leaves the rest hanging. Don't read unless you plan on the sequel as well.

An awful lot of the book is spent on internal psychic traumas or the state of feminism. These can be interesting subjects, but they fit poorly here.

Units of measure are listed in both metric and English systems, with an exact conversion. It is amazingly distracting to hear "The airship ascended another 3048 meters, or 10000 feet" over and over again.

In short, I can recommend it only to the series-committed.
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- Alan Z Eisinger

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-25-2010
  • Publisher: Recorded Books