Science Fiction Planets Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld

About the planet Riverworld described in the book To Your Scattered Bodies Go by science fiction writer by Philip Jose Farmer.



Location: Somewhere in the known galaxy.

Discoverers: The 36,006,009,637 men, women, and children who dwelt on Earth during the first several million years of human existence, until about the year 1983 are all resurrected simultaneously on Riverworld by the mysterious aliens known as Ethicals, for purposes only they understand.

Book: To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971) by Philip Jose Farmer, together with its sequels, The Fabulous Riverboat, The Dark Design, and The Magic Labyrinth.

Description: The Riverworld has been completely reworked and redesigned from its original configurations, whatever they might have been; now it has Earth-like atmosphere, gravity, and temperature. The terrain has been carved into an extended Rivervalley, perhaps millions of miles long, which crosses and recrosses every square inch of the Riverworld and turns and twists within walls of an impassable 20,000-ft.-high ridge. The River extends from one part of the northern polar sea southward, winds around the world through the southern polar regions, and then winds back as one continuous flowing river 1,000 ft. deep, emptying back into the lone sea at the North Pole. On either side of the River are plains perhaps a mile in width (the width may vary from location to location), another mile or two of foothills, and then a sheer rise of 15,000-20,000 ft. Scavenger fish keep the river clean; otherwise, there is no animal life of any kind save humans. A peculiar kind of interwoven grass grows along the banks; another kind covers the hills, together with various kinds of trees and shrubs. Every member of the human race who has reached the age of five is resurrected simultaneously along the banks of the River, naked and hairless, with a pitcher in his arm. The pitchers fit into mushroom-shaped facilities that line the River; these flare up daily to fill the pitchers with food and other goods. It is left to Samuel Clemens, Sir Richard Francis Burton, and others of the same ilk to fight the Ethicals with the few tools they have been given and to try to determine why humankind has been resurrected.

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