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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

  • What is Riverworld?

You live your life.  You die.  You awake on the sandless bank of a mile-wide river.  You are naked, bald and your body is that of a healthy 25 year old.  You have only a lidded, indestructible metal bucket with a deceptively light weight attached to your wrist by a translucent strap.  There are thousands of people around you, all in the same state of confusion.  Towering over the grassy, wooded valley is a sheer, black-rocked mountain range.  The only structure is a very large, mushroom-shaped table of black stone, positioned at the edge of the river.  Every morning, afternoon and evening, an electrical, blue flame roars from the top.  You and your fellows soon realize that if a bucket is on the stone when it fires, it will be filled with delicious, perfectly prepared food and various other amenities, like tobacco and marijuana.  You will never get sick, you will never age, and no child will ever be born to a woman.  You are a resurrectee on Resurrection Day, when every human who has ever lived and died until 1983 has been reborn on the many million-mile banks of the Great River.  Even if you are to die on this planet, you will be resurrected again at a random, distant location on another bank.  Welcome to the afterlife.

The Riverworld series of novels by the great Philip Jose Farmer began with To Your Scattered Bodies Go, first published in 1971.  The five books in the series track the progress of Sir Richard Francis Burton and his fellow resurrectees in their quest to find out who is responsible for this mass rebirth, and deign their nefarious plans for humanity.  The entire listing of books in the central five-volume cycle:

  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go
  • The Fabulous Riverboat
  • The Dark Design
  • The Magic Labyrinth
  • The Gods of Riverworld
  • Who is Philip Jose Farmer?

Not only has Farmer been responsible for the Riverworld series, but he is perhaps best known for his World of Tiers cycle.  He fascination for history and the characters who make it led him to explore his boyhood heroes in a universe of his unique creation.  An excellent site with all the info on Farmer you could want is The Unofficial Philip Jose Farmer Homepage.