The Fabulous Riverboat (1971) by Philip Jose Farmer

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The Fabulous Riverboat (1971) by Philip Jose Farmer

Post  BoG on Fri Jan 23, 2015 5:00 pm

Farmer's 1st sequel novel to To Your Scattered Bodies Go, about how all of humanity had been resurrected along the banks of a 10-million (later 20-million) mile river on some other planet, nicknamed Riverworld. The first novel concentrated on British explorer Richard Burton and his group journeying up the river to its source. This one switches to another famous historical personage, Samuel Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain. It's already 20 years after the resurrection took place; Clemens is teamed with a 10-foot tall species of caveman called Joe Miller which had gone extinct about 20,000 years ago. There's also an uneasy alliance with a Viking and King John Lacklund. One of the secret race or advanced humans known as Ethicals, calling himself X, makes it possible for Clemens to supervise the building of a large riverboat.
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This 2nd  novel in the Riverworld series is a mixture of the personal trials & tribulations of the main character (Clemens) and a study of how new communities are built up on this new world. Clemens is soon reeling in angst from revelations concerning his beloved wife (from old Earth) and her new suitor/boyfriend, the famous Cyrano de Bergerac, the big-nosed Frenchman who may have been the greatest swordsman on our old planet. Much of the plot also pivots on the excavation of the suddenly-available metal from a downed meteorite. This metal suddenly makes possible sharp advances in technology for the new little kingdom under the joint control of Clemens and a couple of others, primarily that new steel riverboat. Bergerac, as another example, had made the trip to this new stronghold simply to acquire a real sword. BoG's Score: 7.5
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