Wednesday, March 4, 2009

To his scattered body gone

Have you ever wondered what a conversation would be like between Mark Twain, Sir Richard Burton, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Tom Mix, maybe Jesus and say Hermann Goring. Well, so did Philip Jose Farmer.

In fact Farmer decided to bring every person who ever lived on earth from the beginning of time back to life and drop them on the bank of great river. A sort of rebirth where every adult started out healthy, the same age, nude and hairless.

That is roughly the beginning of To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the first book of Farmer’s five part Riverworld Series. Scattered was one of the first science fiction books I read as I switched back and forth between Farmer’s Riverworld and Frank Herbert’s Dune series. You have time on your hands when you own a book store.

Where Herbert concentrated on the psychological interaction between conflicting societies, with eloquent descriptions of his desert world, Farmer’s style was more like a pulp fiction writer with an interest in history. The writing in Riverworld might have been more crude, but what an idea.

Philip Jose Farmer wrote over seventy novels, won six Hugos, one Nebula, plus many other awards and passed away last week at the age of 91.


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