To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld 1) (Philip José Farmer)

30 April 2003

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld 1)

Average Rating:

gregor moir (10 November 2003 00:14)

I just felt the central idea of throwing historical figures together had been done to death in literature and also film/television. Particularly the Nazi element. I know this book pre-dates a lot of the other material and perhaps if I'd have come across it first I'd have enjoyed it more.

Saying that the writing style is good and the book flows nicely. Never really made want to carry on the story.

Graham MacDonald (5 May 2003 12:05)

I agree with the fact that the concept is the strongest part of this book, and it is a really great concept, but I need a slightly stronger style of writing to really enjoy a book and this is just too patchily written. It's full of inconsistencies and I can't read about British characters talking about their "kid brothers and sisters" without wincing I'm sorry to say.

Overall the story is good but it does lose it towards the end. Maybe not quite as much of a wasted opportunity as Neuromancer and at least in this book the characters are well developed but I was left wanting much more. Hopefully the sequels will provide.

Baz McAlister (1 May 2003 23:40)

I think this book rates a five on concept alone! A world where everyone who ever lived is there, and can never die! In fact, in my opinion the concept is so mind-blowing that if the story were only half as well written as it is I'd still be happy. The Riverworld setting has really captured my imagination since I first read of it some years ago. I admit Farmer isn't a great writer, but his style is flowing and amiable enough that you forgive the small inconsistencies in his writing. Riverworld allows the reader to explore limitless historical and anthropological possibilities, and I found it spurred me on to learn more about the worthier (non-fictional) characters in the tale. Burton is a great (anti-)hero to take centre stage, he certainly keeps the story interesting.

Marc Reynolds (1 May 2003 19:47)

This is a book which rates 4 on concept alone. Sadly, the writing does not live up to the concept. I think Burton is a good choice of protagonist, let down by a wishy washy schitzophrenic plot, which does not come across with an achievable goal. Perhaps you need to view it as a series of books about the journey, rather than the destination in order to truly appreciate it.

I got as far as book 3 but did not finish it. Though rereading this does make me want to give it a second try.

Phil Rodger (1 May 2003 10:28)

A stunning concept that is both bold and extremely bizarre. Although some ideas have dated less well than others (Esperanto anyone?) the premise is still fascinating. Let down a little perhaps by the choice of protagonist this does feel like the start of a series and read on it's own would seem to end rather abruptly with little resolution. Hopefully the rest of the series should shed some more light on the true meaning of Riverworld.