To Your Scattered Bodies Go

by Philip José Farmer
Series: Riverworld 1
Reviewed date: 2005 Sep 17
Rating: 4
222 pages
cover art

Every human being from all of history is re-awakened in a young, healthy body. All mankind is spread out semi-randomly in a river valley of a million-mile long river. This is unlike any afterlife imagined by Earthly religions, and it becomes apparent to some that the reanimated humanity is part of a grand experiment. Among those is Sir Richard Burton, who dedicates his life in Riverworld to finding those responsible for re-animating mankind.

Mr. Farmer's world is interesting and his writing competent. The story flows smoothly and the plot clips along until about three-fourths of the way through, when the plot abruptly slows. To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the first in a series, and Farmer declines to reveal the complete story and mystery in the first volume.

The main objections to the book seem to be that it is a) sexist, and b) Farmer's writing style is lacking. While it is true that there are no strong female characters, that does not reflect on the quality of the story. As for style, Farmer does write simply and with an influence from purely action stories, but this is not a lack of style but rather a specific choice of style. In the end, the novel is carried on the strength of its ideas and its interesting action-packed plot. To Your Scattered Bodies Go rates a solid four out of five.

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