I received a comment the other day on my last sci-fi thread from Clarkesworld thanking me for the plug, but corrected me that they’re not British, but are in fact from New Jersey. To them I apologize. But they said they’d point me in the right direction to find some good sci-fi ezines. I’ve yet to take them up on the offer because I’ve been so busy, but if you’re out there Neil, stop by and hook us up. If not, I promise I’ll contact you when I get a free moment.
My classic pick this week is Philip Jose Farmer’s To Your Scattered Bodies Go. When I first read the novel in 1979, I was intrigued by the concept of the afterlife Farmer offered; waking up on an artificial alien world, along the banks of a river millions of miles long. The people awakened inside youthful, 25 year-old bodies that were virtually immortal. Here is a description from Amazon.com:
To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the Hugo Award-winning beginning to the story of Riverworld, Philip José Farmer’s unequaled tale about life after death. When famous adventurer Sir Richard Francis Burton dies, the last thing he expects to do is awaken naked on a foreign planet along the shores of a seemingly endless river. But that’s where Burton and billions of other humans (plus a few nonhumans) find themselves as the epic Riverworld saga begins. It seems that all of Earthly humanity has been resurrected on the planet, each with an indestructible container that provides three meals a day, cigarettes, alcoholic beverages, a lighter, and the odd tube of lipstick. But why? And by whom?
To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the first of a series called, of course, The Riverworld Saga; The Fabulous Riverboat , The Dark Design , The Magic Labyrinth and The Gods of Riverworld fill out the rest. Of them all, I have only read the first two, so I can’t comment on the others. The historical figures Farmer uses aren’t just cutout characters, he does develop quite a few of the protagonists, Burton of course, but then Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), Jesus and his wife Mary, the Alien, an intelligent large-nosed giant ancient human whose race is extinct and others.
I’ll probably won’t get the chance to read the rest of the saga this summer, but I’m going to make it a point to get to it sometime, I never found out who the aliens who built the Riverworld were!
If you’re a fan, please take time and enjoy! 🙂