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Friday, April 1, 2016

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld, #1)To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip José Farmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's 1972 and the Hugos just named this one best novel, and why?

Because it's actually 2016 and this novel has just been optioned by both HBO AND Showtime for an ongoing series noted mostly for it's all nude cast, all the time, celebrities and historical personages all coming back to their most perfect forms, and, of course, senseless war and violence. (When they're not expounding on philosophy, of course, because philosophy and religion always leads to a cave-man's club and a bunch of grabbing of blond hair.)

Don't get me wrong. I'm actually having a great time with this book. I can ignore the constant nudity, because, after all, the main characters are Sir Richard Francis Burton and Hermann Goering. What I'm most fascinated by is the deeper questions.

Like Why? Come on, SF, you know you want to ask it. Why are we having the tale of the bodily resurrection in an ostensibly heaven-like world complete with Holy Grails for every single person who had ever lived? And why does chewing gum bring out the very worst in us all? And why do we always, always, always have to degenerate to our very worst selves whenever the outcome just doesn't matter? Huh? Why?

Tune in for the next novel! Maybe? I don't know! This is my first Farmer, and it's definitely not going to be my last. I'm getting great vibes off of this. It's too graphic for Netflix, but I think it has practically unlimited possible milage for HBO and Showtime. We can do ANYTHING! Murders don't even count. That eviscerated person will just pop up somewhere else along the nearly infinite world of rivers among yet another random population of... ANYONE WHO EVER LIVED.

Okay... why aren't All the Authors Who Ever Lived turning this idea into a franchise and filling all our bookshelves with better versions of what I just read? The potential is glorious. I loved the conversations between all these famous people. They have the most respectful and interesting ways of saying WTF. :)

Beyond just a couple of dumb blond preferences, I think this novel has held up extraordinarily well over the years. I think it could gain a whole new audience in today's readership, especially in the realm of slash fiction, fan fiction, and whatever it is that Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James does.

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