To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip Jose Farmer - NEW Novel
Part 1 of the Riverworld Saga
The novel begins with adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton waking up after his death on a strange new world made up of one ongoing river. He discovers that he is but one of billions of previously dead personalities from throughout Earths history stretching from the Neolithic age through 2008 AD also 'resurrected'. At first the resurrectees are primarily focused on survival,though their basic needs for food are mysteriously taken care of; but eventually Burton decides to make it his mission to find the headwaters of the River and discover the purpose and intention of humanities resurrection. Along the way he is enslaved and then partnered with Nazi war criminal Hermann Göring, discovers the existence of a mysterious organization responsible for the resurrection of humanity, and is recruited by a rogue member of this group to take down their carefully laid plans.
Located at an indeterminate distance from the Sol system and millennia in the future, the Riverworld is an Earthlike planet whose surface has been terraformed to consist solely of one staggeringly long river-valley. The river's source is a small North Polar sea, from which it follows a course tightly zig-zagging across one hemisphere before flowing back up the other along an equally labyrinthine path to return to the same sea. The river has an average depth of 1.5 miles, and is shallow near the shore but plunges to enormous depths towards the channel. The banks are generally smooth and gentle, expanding into wide plains on either side, then climbing into ever more jagged hills before leaping up into a sheerly impenetrable enclosing mountainous ridge, taller than the Himalayas. The valley averages 9 miles in width, but variations on the basic geography exist, including narrows and occasional widenings into lakes with islands. From source to mouth, the river is 20 million miles long (Books I , II, & III state the river is 10 million miles long).
The weather is absolutely controlled; there are no seasons, and daily variations are metronomic. The only animal life consists of fish and soil worms. The vegetation is lush and of great variety, including trees, flowering vines, several kinds of fast-growing bamboo and a resilient mat of grass which covers the plains and continues on along the riverbed for as far down as anyone has ever been able to reach. The Riverworld has no visible moon, but a great number of stellar objects in the sky, including gas sheets and stars which are close enough to see a visible disk. These objects provide enough light for "valleydwellers" to see at night and have led to speculation, by valleydwellers and fans, that the Riverworld is located in the galactic core.
The story of Riverworld begins when almost the whole of humanity, from the time of the first homo sapiens through to the early 21st century, is simultaneously resurrected along the banks of the river. The number of people is given as "thirty-six billion, six million, nine thousand, six hundred and thirty-seven" (36,006,009,637). Of these, at least 20% are from the 20th century, due to the high levels of population in later centuries compared to earlier ones. There is also a cut-off point, as no one from the twenty-first century or later is resurrected. Originally the specific cut-off year was given as 1983 (which was still a speculative date when the novels were first published) but this has been somewhat stretched in later publishings. The ostensible reason for the cut-off was that it indicated the point at which most of the human race had been accidentally annihilated during a catastrophic first contact with aliens visiting Earth.
In each area, there are initially three groups of people: a large group from one time period and place, a smaller group from another time and place, and a very small group of people from random times and places (most of the twentieth and twenty-first century humans are spread across the river as part of this last group).
About the Author Philip Jose Farmer
Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author, principally known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.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 the lore of legendary pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters.Farmer was born on January 26, 1918 in North Terre Haute, Indiana. According to colleague Frederik Pohl, his middle name was in honor of an aunt, Josie. Farmer grew up in Peoria, Illinois where he attended Peoria High School. His father was a civil engineer and a supervisor for the local power company. A voracious reader as a boy, Farmer said he resolved to become a writer in the fourth grade. He became an agnostic at the age of 14. At age 23, in 1941, he married and eventually became the father of two children — a son and a daughter. After washing out of flight training in World War II, he went to work in a local steel mill. He continued his education, however, earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Bradley University in 1950.
Farmer’s first literary success came in 1952 with a novella called “The Lovers,” about a sexual relationship between a human and an extraterrestrial. It won him the first of his three Hugo Awards as “most promising new writer.” Thus encouraged, he quit his job to become a full-time writer, entered a publisher’s contest, and promptly won the ,000 first prize for a novel that contained the germ of his later Riverworld series. Literary success did not translate into financial security, however, and in 1956 he left Peoria to launch a career as a technical writer. The next 14 years were spent working in that capacity for various defense contractors, from Syracuse, New York to Los Angeles, California, while writing science fiction in his spare time. A second Hugo came after publication of the 1967 novella Riders of the Purple Wage, an exuberant pastiche of James Joyce’s Ulysses as well as a satire on a future cradle-to-grave welfare state. Reinvigorated, Farmer became a full-time writer again in 1969. Upon moving back to Peoria in 1970, he entered his most prolific period, publishing 25 books in 10 years. His novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go (a reworked version of the prize-winning first novel of 20 years before — which had never been published) won him his third Hugo in 1971. A 1975 novel, Venus on the Half-Shell, created a stir in the larger literary community and media. It purported to be written in the first person by one “Kilgore Trout”, a fictional character appearing as an underappreciated science fiction writer in several of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. The escapade did not please that eminent author when some reviewers not only concluded that it had been written by Vonnegut himself, but that it was a worthy addition to his works. (Farmer claimed that he had had permission from Vonnegut for the playful hoax.) Farmer had both critical champions and detractors. Leslie Fiedler proclaimed him "the greatest science fiction writer ever" and lauded his approach to storytelling as a “gargantuan lust to swallow down the whole cosmos, past, present and to come, and to spew it out again". Isaac Asimov noted that Farmer was an "excellent science fiction writer; in fact, a far more skillful writer than I am...." But Christopher Lehmann-Haupt described him in The New York Times in 1972 as “a humdrum toiler in the fields of science fiction”.Farmer died on February 25, 2009
To Your Scattered Bodies Go - Philip Jose Farmer - NEW Novel
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