The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip José Farmer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's a pretty okay novel, but it suffers from being a product of its times. That being said, it's pretty fun to ride with Samuel L. Clemens on his constantly-being-built steamboat, made of "Space Age" plastics! Wooooo that stuff is a pretty neat idea! Ahem. Sorry. I got carried away there.
A lot of the action is mostly finding new ways to build tech on the extremely huge world of reincarnated humans from all time periods showing up at the same time here, but we've moved along far enough that nations are being built and fortresses and boundaries are in full effect. Resource gathering is also a must, especially for a certain Mark Twain if he'll ever live out his dream of captaining his own steamboat. Of course, this is riverworld.
In 1971, the time when the novel came out, we're forced to face our worst nightmares (*laugh*) of an entirely black nation wanting to go completely isolationist from the honky. The arabs are too white, too, so even though they make up 1/6th of this separate riverworld nation, they're still getting evicted. "We're not perfect, whitey, but at least it'll be Our Problem. We blame you for everything." Storyline. Ahem. Let me be clear here. Practically EVERY treatment of the issue that I've ever read is better than this one. It's nearly a stereotype of a stereotype of black power, taken so far that it has come out the other side into near satire.
So, yeah, action happens, and tragedies, too, and all the while the mysterious counter-plan alien is trying to help ease our sufferings on this admittedly great-idea world. :)
Not the best novel I've ever read, by a long shot, but not incapable of telling a story, either. :) The first one was a lot more enjoyable. Sam was a bit too whiny for my tastes. *shrug*
I'm going to continue the series. This was hardly a deal-breaker. It's just a cultural-awareness crapfest issue. :)
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