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"... arise From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your 
scattered bodies go..."
-- John Donne



Poll on leaves Riverworld in the dust

 No News In Months



  • Why are all of the characters no younger than 6 and no older than 25?

When the Ethicals resurrected the inhabitants of Riverworld, they stopped the aging process at 25.  Nobody on the Riverworld will physically age beyond that point.  All children who died before the age of six were resurrected at Gardenworld, where they were raised in a paradise in the Ethical tradition.  Children above that age were resurrected normally (though the vast majority were resurrected near the headwaters of the River, at the land later known as Virolando), and and aged at the standard human rate (until the age of 25, of course).  

  • Why do no Riverdwellers have facial hair or physical disabilities?

The Ethicals deigned that the male inhabitants would grow no facial hair, for reasons largely unknown.  Males were also resurrected circumcised, again for unknown reasons.  Burton once suspected that the reasons for these odd cosmetic changes were a reflection of the Ethicals' own customs.  Physical and mental disabilities were corrected, even genetic ones.  Thus, humans with debilitating mental disorders like schizophrenia are no longer haunted by their own demons.  Even so, the Ethicals have cursed the Riverdwellers with Dreamgum, a substance that causes vivid hallucinations in those who ingest it.  These hallucinations are not all bad, however; the followers of the Church of the Second Chance use it in their self-reflective meditations.  

  • Why are most of the Riverdwellers from the 21st and 22nd centuries?

In the Riverworld books, the resurrections stopped at 1983.  But if the year limit is moved to two hundred years after that date, then the world population's exponential increase means that most of the people on the River will be from later centuries.  

But Proyas could be going somewhere with this.  In the books, the Ethicals had agents of their own mixed in with the Valleydwellers.  They would identify each other through their professed date of death, which was in the 21st century.  Richard Burton correctly surmised that if people from the 21st century were all resurrected, then their numbers would be vast.  Burton himself only met a few people who claimed to be from years later than 1983, when, in fact, he should have met far more.  Perhaps the 2200 date is fake, and it will become increasingly apparent throughout the series that the few Riverdwellers claiming to be from that century are Ethical agents.