The Riverworld Trailer Is Out

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This stirs up a lot of weird emotions.


Riverworld falls into the surprisingly large group of SF novels that could accurately be tagged, “really really long, involved SF series that were confusingly sexually explicit for the age I was when I read them, i.e. 10-12.” Other examples being the World of Tiers books (also by Philip Jose Farmer) and John Varley’s Gaea series. I don’t know if there is an appropriate age for a really thoughtful extended meditation on the mechanics of a dude doing a centaur, where the centaur has both dude and lady parts. But if there is it isn’t 12.

This incarnation of Riverworld looks pretty sanitized, after the Syfy fashion, and somewhat sentimentalized (Dollhouse‘s Tamoh Penikett, unlucky in love again, is apparently searching for his girlie). As far as I can tell people have clothes on when they come back to life on the big river. My main memories of Riverworld revolve around the character of Richard Burton, about whom I to this day retain a large amount of historically accurate information. Like how once he got speared through both cheeks by a Somali warrior.

The part of the book that really held my attention back in the day was where Burton moves up and down the river by serially committing suicide, knowing that he’ll be reincarnated in another place. I just didn’t buy that anybody would have the sack to keep drowning themselves over and over again. But whatever, that’s probably peanuts once you’ve taken a spear to the face.