To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1 : Riverworld

  • by Philip Jose Farmer
  • Narrated by Paul Hecht
  • Series: Riverworld
  • 7 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Original and provocative, To Your Scattered Bodies Go won the 1971 Hugo Award for outstanding science fiction novel and has continued to be a favorite of generations of new listeners.For explorer Richard Francis Burton, Alice Liddell Hargreaves - the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland - and the rest of humanity, death is nothing like they expected. Instead of heaven, hell, or even the black void of nothingness, all of the 36 billion people who ever lived on Earth are simultaneously resurrected on a world that has been transformed into a giant river valley.With hunger and disease eliminated, Burton and the others appear to have everything they need - except an answer to the question "Why?" Both swashbuckling adventure and insightful examination into mankind's constant search for answers to the unanswerable, To Your Scattered Bodies Go is voiced by narrator Paul Hecht to emphasize every thrilling moment of discovery.


What the Critics Say

Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1972
"One of the most imaginative worlds in science fiction." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great concept, dated writing.

I read this book because the idea of historical figures returning to life and all meeting one another was intriguing. Several other writers also referred to this author and series as having inspired their work. Since I liked their work, I thought I might like this. The idea is good but I don't care too much for the writing. Farmer's pacing is off, it often duels on or returns to a certain theme too often. Events happen that make it seem as though the story will go into a certain direction but it doesn't. It goes back to where it was and stays there for several more chapters. When it ended, I just felt that it could have ended a lot faster.

Also, though this is a symptom of the time in which the book was written, it has no strong female characters. It also objectifies women too much. This is a world in which all people who died return to life young and vigorous. There is no disease, and no pregnancy. But this seems only to be a licence for women to become even more of an object of sexual and emotional desire than in the "real" world. Furthermore, we never see the situation from a woman's point of view. The story starts with an interesting female character in the form of Alice Liddle Hargreaves (the girl who inspires Alice in Wonderland) but she never develops as a character and literally disappears for the last third of the book. She's just there as a sort of mental torture for the lead (male) character Richard Burton. Interestingly enough, I also read the second book in this series, "The Fabulous Riverboat", and there is a female character there who seems to be there only to be out of reach of that book's main character Mark Twain.

I read the second part of the series because I found the idea so strong. But it was hard to relate to the events and characters in either book. I am going to read the third part only because I want to see where the story should already have gotten.

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- Battaglia

I was completely enthralled.

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 had ever lived ??? plunged to the ground and began their new lives together in a giant river valley... Is this Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, or is it some huge social experiment being run by aliens? Most of the humans, happy that their basic needs are being met, are content to just be living again. Some people see this as an opportunity to seize the power and wealth that they had, or never obtained, on Earth. But Sir Richard just wants to know what???s going on. He seems to be the only person who got a glimpse behind the scenes of their new home and, not only does he resent being manipulated, but his curiosity is insatiable. So, he and a few companions set out to explore the Riverworld and, they hope, to discover the source of the river and find some answers. Richard Francis Burton, a fascinating and scandalous man in real life, is the perfect character to explore the Riverworld. Philip Jose Farmer???s depiction of Burton, and several other real historical figures, is superb, though occasionally teachy when Farmer periodically interjects an encyclopedic-sounding aside about a character???s life. It???s hilarious to watch Burton learn about 20th-century history and interact with some of its denizens. The best aspect of TYSBG is its original premise ??? the idea of all of humanity spread out, generally in chronological order, along a giant river which can be traveled, like a human timeline.TYSBG, written in 1971, is creative, exciting, fast-paced, and totally absorbing. I was completely enthralled.
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- Katherine "I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-31-2008
  • Publisher: Recorded Books