To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1

Narrated by: Paul Hecht
Series: Riverworld, Book 1
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
4 out of 5 stars (874 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Original and provocative, To Your Scattered Bodies Go won the 1971 Hugo Award for outstanding science fiction novel and has continued to be a favorite of generations of new listeners.

For explorer Richard Francis Burton, Alice Liddell Hargreaves - the inspiration for Alice in Wonderland - and the rest of humanity, death is nothing like they expected. Instead of heaven, hell, or even the black void of nothingness, all of the 36 billion people who ever lived on Earth are simultaneously resurrected on a world that has been transformed into a giant river valley.

With hunger and disease eliminated, Burton and the others appear to have everything they need - except an answer to the question "Why?"

Both swashbuckling adventure and insightful examination into mankind's constant search for answers to the unanswerable, To Your Scattered Bodies Go is voiced by narrator Paul Hecht to emphasize every thrilling moment of discovery.

©1971 Philip José Farmer (P)2000 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1972

"One of the most imaginative worlds in science fiction." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic World

Philip Jos? Farmer is a master of creating worlds, and Riverworld's probing of history and religion, mixed with a world of seemingly endless life is a perfect example. The only drawback is the other books in the series haven't been released yet- Let alone The World of Tiers series.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What a beginning

I am one who enjoys books such as this. Its sci-fi with meaning. Underlying messages everywhere and protagonist driven.

After death where do we go? its something humans want to and have striven to know for quite a time, and this tale is quite the rendition of what might happen after. Hunger is no longer a problem, Death...is not really death. Its "travel"

Shadowy figures, confrontation, and human tendencies revealed along with so much more when you delve into this series.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Riverworld!

I first read this book quite a few years ago. The concept was certainly intriguing--everyone you know or know of from your lifetime or history is resurrected along the banks of a river that makes the Amazon look like spring runoff. I really enjoyed Sir Richard Francis Burton as the protagonist through the series and enjoyed appearances by other characters like Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and Hermann Goering. How everyone reacts to conditions both more advanced that they had known during life and also more primitive makes for an excellent series.
I hope that we get the rest of these books in the near future and that the World of Tiers series comes about, too.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

To your scattered bodies go

This was a great story from a classic sci-fi author. I highly recommend it. The only negative for me at the time is that part 2 wasn't yet available.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Great concept, dated writing.

I read this book because the idea of historical figures returning to life and all meeting one another was intriguing. Several other writers also referred to this author and series as having inspired their work. Since I liked their work, I thought I might like this. The idea is good but I don't care too much for the writing. Farmer's pacing is off, it often duels on or returns to a certain theme too often. Events happen that make it seem as though the story will go into a certain direction but it doesn't. It goes back to where it was and stays there for several more chapters. When it ended, I just felt that it could have ended a lot faster.

Also, though this is a symptom of the time in which the book was written, it has no strong female characters. It also objectifies women too much. This is a world in which all people who died return to life young and vigorous. There is no disease, and no pregnancy. But this seems only to be a licence for women to become even more of an object of sexual and emotional desire than in the "real" world. Furthermore, we never see the situation from a woman's point of view. The story starts with an interesting female character in the form of Alice Liddle Hargreaves (the girl who inspires Alice in Wonderland) but she never develops as a character and literally disappears for the last third of the book. She's just there as a sort of mental torture for the lead (male) character Richard Burton. Interestingly enough, I also read the second book in this series, "The Fabulous Riverboat", and there is a female character there who seems to be there only to be out of reach of that book's main character Mark Twain.

I read the second part of the series because I found the idea so strong. But it was hard to relate to the events and characters in either book. I am going to read the third part only because I want to see where the story should already have gotten.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it

One of my all time favourites in print and now audio will be my 4th time reading this series

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

New world for me

I enjoyed being in a new world of writing. not usually for me. narration great

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, original story

This is an interesting story with themes of dystopia and immortality. The only reason I don't give a 5 star rating is I am not compelled to go on in the series. One book is enough for now.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good Classic Sci-Fi

Any additional comments?

This was a interesting Sci-Fi story. It's a classic and ends in a very open way, however I'm not sure if I want to know the answer to the question posed at the end as to me it was more philosophical and rhetorical, however the journey to that point was well written.

The drugs and free love ideas of the book do date it a bit, but they are not too pronounced, so I can live with them.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Good idea, bad implementation

What would have made To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1 better?

Instead of focussing on the groups of humans and cultures who might have worked together to figure out why they were there and establish a safe society, this book mostly focusses on the very worst parts of humanity. I found it highly disturbing that the author took this fascinating idea of the afterlife and turned it into a world where rape and murder were the norm on such a huge scale. Earth has a very bloody history and the author explores human nature in this light, however I suppose I expected a little more development from people who woke up to find they had all been resurrected in the midst of all the cultures who had ever lived.

This book needed better character development all around. Billions of people all wake up at once to find that they have been resurrected from the dead and can now interact with everyone who ever lived, and there is surprisingly little internal development from most characters going through this.

Character of any kind is especially lacking with the book's female characters. I very strongly disliked how the women in this book only existed to have sex with the men, either consensual or (more often) as rape. For example, most if not all of the main female characters in this book join the group by becoming sex partners with one of the male characters as a form of protection, and do not really contribute in any other way except when they are fighting for their lives (to avoid being raped).

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator needs to distinguish between characters a little better. He was inconsistent with accents and I frequently got Burton and Frigate confused when there was dialog between them because the narrator would speak the same way with both.

1 person found this helpful

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  • arno
  • 09-19-17

missing the rest of the riverworld series

the story of riverworld is one of my favourite sci-fi works. having read all the books this audio book was enjoyable. it is a shame the remaining 4 books in the tale are not available on audible.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Grace
  • 04-01-10

Great story, well told

This was my first introduction to Phillip Jose Farmer, and I have to say I loved it. Great science fiction writing, with a fascinating central idea, well-developed and entertaining characters, and fluent writing. I would recommend this to anyone looking for some great science fiction writing.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sean
  • 10-10-14

Seriously, all SF fans should try this.

What made the experience of listening to To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1 the most enjoyable?

I've loved this book for many years - it is one of my very favourites and always makes me think.. "what would I do if I was there... oh... I am there, wonder what I AM doing?" :) It is one of those books that delivers a premise so unusual and profound that it will stick with you.

What other book might you compare To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1 to, and why?

I have always thought that (the somehow often overlooked) author Edmund Cooper wrote several books that remind me of Scattered Bodies - particularly 'Seahorse in the sky', but also 'Transit' and the magnificent 'Overman Culture'.
Obviously, Farmer's sequel, 'The Fabulous Riverboat' is a must read after this one and 'The Dark Design' (although I remember being less engaged with that one.
Other Farmer books might shock the reader expecting more of 'Scattered' but I particularly liked 'Strange Relations' - for the strong reader, Flesh and Blown are fascinating...

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Tricky, I love the initial scene of resurrection; but the ones that probably stick in the memory most are the 'awakening in the chamber', the 'giganthropes at the head of the river' and 'the dreamgum episode'.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Gwen dying, Goring's dreams.

Any additional comments?

I greatly enjoyed the 'voice' - well done. Next one please - Riverboat. BTW - there was a film made of the book but it is not great :(

3 people found this helpful

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  • TatMummy
  • 01-17-17

I adore this story for many reasons

What did you like most about To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1?

I love the story itself, it's a great idea, ahead of its time. Engaging and unusual.

What did you like best about this story?

The story is simple to begin with, people wake and are somewhere they don't expect, all people, any one who has died. But the story then looks at the human state, how we behave, good and evil and the spirit of adventure and ultimately our desire to know and to learn.

I can't listen to this enough - I'm really sad the rest of the saga is not available. (Just get the books and read them, it's worth it

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. I could listen to this book on repeat!

Any additional comments?

Please try and get the rest of the saga!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MR N FURZE
  • 11-17-16

One of my favourite books!

I've listen to this numerous times good narration excellent book. Can we have the sequels please!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • John
  • 01-21-16

ERM! OK... it was dated, but... still enjoyable

it was dated in the way it was written. a bit like watching an old black n white movie... but a good one. I think it could have been what inspired the matrix? or "edge if tomorrow" as it had these themes. but also a great delve into history and how differing cultures through time would react to each other. I can understand how it won such accolades as it would of been cutting edge at its time. worth a read and please audible... it's a trilogy so we would like the next 2. thanks

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cf Prince
  • 11-30-15

absolutely fantastic

Can't recommend this enough, such a gripping story and brilliant narration. listen to this book....and get the sequels on here!!!

1 person found this helpful