To Your Scattered Bodies Go

by Philip Jose' Farmer

Review by Bill Johnston

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose' Farmer is the first installment in an unending series of unending books. It literally has no ending and the blurb at the back says that Farmer intends to start the sequel with new characters. I don't see how it won an award unless it is a product of the "Ringworld Syndrome": a good idea by a well known author wins even though it's in a bad novel. In To Your Scattered Bodies Go all of humanity wakes up in an enormously long river valley and is provided with food and clothing. The novel progresses with the travels of Richard Francis Burton as he finds that the rulers of the riverworld are out to get him, finds a man who says the rulers are just using humanity for scientific experiments, and, in the end, meets the rulers who tell him they are overseeing the salvation of humanity. He doesn't know who to believe. That's the end of the book.

This is the first novel I have read by Farmer, but I can remember "Riders of the Purple Wage" by him (from Dangerous Visions ed. by Harlan Ellison) about a complete welfare society. It was a good story except that the dream sequence at the beginning offended some people enough to make them stop reading it.

This book is available in the PARSEC Library.
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