To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld #1) ★☆☆☆½

toyourscatteredbodiesgo (Custom)This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Series: Riverworld #1
Author: Philip Farmer
Rating: 1.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: SF
Pages: 224
Words: 67K

 

Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

British adventurer Richard Francis Burton dies on Earth and is revived in mid-air in a vast dark room filled with human bodies, some only half formed. There, he is confronted by men in a flying vehicle who then blast him with a weapon.

He next awakes upon the shores of a mysterious river, naked and hairless. All around him are other people in a similar situation. Shortly after they awaken, a nearby structure, nicknamed a “grailstone,” causes food and other supplies to appear in the “grails” bound to each individual. Burton quickly attracts a group of companions: the neanderthal Kazzintuitruaabemss (nicknamed Kazz), the science fiction author Peter Jairus Frigate, and Alice Liddell. Among these is the extraterrestrial Monat Grrautut, earlier part of a small group of beings from Tau Ceti who had arrived on Earth in the early 21st century. When one of their number was accidentally killed by humans, their spaceship automatically killed most of the people on Earth. Frigate and others alive at the time confirm Monat’s story. Retreating into the nearby woods for safety, Burton’s party chew gum provided by their grails, and discover that this gum is a powerful hallucinogen. As days and weeks pass, people’s physical wants are provided for by the grails, which eventually produce a set of cloths used for clothing. Rumors reach Burton’s region that the river continues seemingly forever. One night, Burton is visited by a mysterious cloaked figure, whom Burton dubs “The Mysterious Stranger,” who explains that he is one of the beings who has constructed this world and resurrected humanity on its shores, and tells Burton to approach the headwaters of the river.

After setting off, Burton’s group encounters many adventures; but are enslaved by a riverbank kingdom run by Tullus Hostilius and Hermann Göring, against whom Burton leads a successful revolt. Göring himself is killed by Alice. After the revolt, Burton is part of the nation’s ruling council. Later, the protagonists discover a person among them who they conclude is an agent of the beings who created this world. Before the man can be questioned, he dies of no apparent cause. An autopsy reveals a small device planted in the man’s brain which apparently allowed him to kill himself at will. Burton is visited by the Mysterious Stranger and is warned that the beings who created this world, to whom the Stranger refers as “Ethicals”, are close to capturing Burton. Desperate to escape, Burton kills himself to be resurrected elsewhere in the river valley, and continues thus to explore it. He often finds himself resurrected near Hermann Göring, who undergoes a moral and religious conversion and joins the pacifist Church of the Second Chance. After many resurrections, Burton finds himself resurrected not in the river but in the Dark Tower at the headwaters, and is interrogated by a council of Ethicals to discover the identity of Burton’s “Mysterious Stranger”. After fruitlessly questioning him, the Ethicals inform him that they will return him to the river valley, remembering nothing of themselves, and restore him to his friends; but the Mysterious Stranger prevents them from removing his memory and Burton resolves to continue pursuing the truth about the Ethicals and their intentions for the Riverworld.

 

My Thoughts:

Well, that was a complete and utter waste of my time. The main character, for someone who is an atheist, sure does blame God for a lot of stuff. Pretty amazing how angry he gets at something that doesn’t exist.

This teetered on the edge of blasphemy at best (blasphemy being defined as speaking against God or making statements about His nature contrary to Scripture (much like the Mormons do)) and really, crossed over enough times with enough spite that I was ready for the book to be done.

Whatever the story, it was overshadowed the whole time by spite and anger against a being the main character kept insisting didn’t exist. I have now read Farmer and found him lacking. I won’t spend any more of my precious time on his stuff.

★☆☆☆½

 

bookstooge (Custom)

30 thoughts on “To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld #1) ★☆☆☆½

  1. Farmer; a name I remember from Starlog and Starburst magazine reviews. Never read his stuff, you’ve saved me the bother! Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. R A I N says:

    The character does indeed seems to be pretty unlikeable and all sorts of annoying! Add to it the fact that the cover is completely uninteresting, this is definitely a big nope! 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. gehmeyr says:

    You forgot to mention the sexistic take on females. The book is not only bad in one dimension. And I wonder how it could have won the Hugo Award.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      What are you referring to?

      Like

      • gehmeyr says:

        Is there a single intelligent, independent woman taking initiative? No, they are men‘s properties and wait to be rescued. There is even a direct quote about women as the product of society or something like that.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bookstooge says:

          So if it doesn’t automatically include an intelligent, independent woman, a book is sexist? THAT is by definition, sexist.

          I don’t espouse those kind of politically correct, social justice warrior ideas for the books I read.

          Liked by 1 person

          • gehmeyr says:

            You’re right. If that was the only thing. BUT You cite only one argument and not the other two sentences.
            But the book is bad enough that we don’t need to dive into that discussion

            Liked by 1 person

            • Bookstooge says:

              I didn’t cite them because I didn’t think they were relevant to our discussion.

              At least we can both agree we didn’t like this book, even if for very different reasons. And that is why it is good to follow a variety of people. People who might have zero objection to the theological stuff could very well have the exact reaction as you. By the by, do you have a review for this on your site? Please link if you do 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

  4. bkfrgr says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who won’t be reading any more Farmer. *blows raspberry at book* 😆

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, too bad. I thought the title and cover were quite intriguing. Even the plot summary was interesting, though I did find myself wondering how someone could be “killed” in the afterlife. And, when it turns out that people can be killed and re-awaken in new bodies indefinitely, that kind of lowers the stakes a bit and creates a world that is, how shall we say, in danger of being boring? Not to mention feeling kind of artificial.

    But bitterness, especially bitterness against God, can ruin any book.

    This kind of reminds me of The Good Place. I watched several seasons and enjoyed the silly characters, even though the understanding of the human heart was kind of shallow and any real understanding of God was completely absent …. but then, at the end of season 3 or 4, it turned out the whole point was, “God doesn’t understaaand! She has never lived in this world, she doesn’t know how complex it is, we could all be good if it weren’t for an imperfect environment … it’s not faaaair!” Kind of hard to continue watching the series after that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      The idea is cool. And it does lead to the worst of what humanity can do (slavery and oppression on a large scale), which is what the MC is trying to change.

      But the bitterness really just ruined everything for me. makes me wonder if I’d feel the same if he was saying how much he wasn’t a buddhist but blaming buddha for everything.

      That sounds ….. awful. I’m currently debating whether to start watching Supernatural again from the beginning (I loved how the how show started) but am wondering if I can handle the later seasons. No need to rush in yet, I can think it over for months if need be 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess writing about the afterlife is just really challenging. I have never seen it pulled off successfully.

        Saying I’m not a Buddhist but blaming the Buddha for everything? Of course, you wouldn’t care, right? It would just seem random and confusing. Which shows that everyone has an innate concept of God and some kind of emotional relationship to Him, or they would not feel compelled to drag Him into books like this one, any more than they would the Buddha. He is “the one with whom we have to do.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • Bookstooge says:

          And you know what I JUST found out, over on Librarything? In real life, the main character was a nominal muslim.
          I’d have dinged off another half-star if I’d known that :-/

          Like

  6. So sorry you didn’t like this one! Hope your next read is better!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For some reason my “book vibes” were never positive toward this book, no matter how much praise it gathered: it sounded far too weird for my tastes, or rather of a kind of weird that did not meet them… It would seem I did not miss much!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I tried looking this up on your good ol’ Devilreads and there are so many positive reviews for it, it’s impressive. It is funny to hear about this protagonist blaming God while being an atheist. Maybe putting blame on the unknown is cathartic for him hahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bookstooge says:

      I’m definitely in the minority of the minority when it comes to my opinion on this book.
      Thankfully, that has never stopped me before.

      But this type of thing is exactly what has led to issues with other reviewers on devilsreads, hence my longer putting actual reviews there. Some little twit will feel the need to correct me for my wrongthot and before you know it, threats and gulags will be flying all over the place 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh dear, sorry this turned out so bad for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. […] recently reviewed a book that was set entirely in the afterlife, and it failed (at least, based on his review, it failed) […]

    Like

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