While wandering the NYC offices of my publisher Tor, I happened upon these beautiful 2010 omnibus reissues of Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld books. These are some of my favorite books of all time, and these editions are fab. Here's the setup, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The story of Riverworld begins when almost the whole of humanity, from the time of the first homo sapiens through to the early 21st century, is simultaneously resurrected along the banks of the river. The number of people is given as "thirty-six billion, six million, nine thousand, six hundred and thirty-seven" (36,006,009,637). Of these, at least 20% are from the 20th century, due to the high levels of population in later centuries compared to earlier ones. There is also a cut-off point, as no one from the 21st century or later is resurrected. Originally the specific cut-off year was given as 1983 (which was still a speculative date when the novels were first published) but this was later updated to 2008. The ostensible reason for the cut-off was that it indicated the point at which most of the human race had been purposefully annihilated during a catastrophic first contact with aliens visiting Earth. The protagonists later find out this is a creative fiction, produced by the masterminds behind the resurrection, so the spies among the resurrectees could identify each other.

Riverworld Discuss

12 Responses to “Omnibus editions of Riverworld

  1. “these editions are fab” goddamnit

  2. Cory:  thanks SO much for reminding me about an all-time favorite long overdue for re-reading.

  3. This series is some of the first sci-fi books I remember reading!

    • RadioSilence says:

      Me too. Finding the Riverworld books along with some Arthur C Clarke and Larry Niven on my dad’s bookshelves as a teenager was what got me into SF in the first place. 

  4. OtherMichael says:

    I miss the Punchatz covers. Reading Riverworld without those covers is like reading LOTR without the Remington “Wilderness” covers.

  5. gellfex says:

    It’s been a long time since I read these through, but I recall such disappointment in the final resolution of an incredibly inventive premise. Oh well, he’s not alone in that weakness, it’s endemic in SF. Diamond Age? Uplift Saga?

    • Aaron says:

      I completely agree. The series was good, the initial adventures were great, but the ending of the last book was pure deux ex machina.I don’t think I could handle reading them again knowing I was leading up to that. Maybe if I just pretended the last book didn’t exist…

      • glittalogik says:

        It’s a big baby and not *that* much bathwater, be a shame to throw the lot out. I feel similarly about Tad Williams’ ‘Otherland’  series – some of the most fantastic SFF I’ve ever read until the second half of the final book turned the whole thing into a steaming, rage-inducing pile of telepathic spacebaby crap.

      • gracchus says:

        The series is perfectly enjoyable doing just that. Heck, the first book stands well enough on its own.

      • OtherMichael says:

        If you’re referring to “Gods of Riverworld”, wasn’t that ending in the original manuscript, or at least in the semi-original that was finally published in the 80s?

        Or am I confusing it with “Magic Labyrinth” ?

  6. Vic Hoon says:

    Dammit, you could have left off that last spoilery sentence from Wikipedia! I recall enjoying these books decades ago, giving me enough time to forget how they concluded.

  7. pedantic says:

    These are not omnibus editions. Omnibus editions collect several separately-published works into one volume.  These are uniform editions, whereby separately-published works are republished all matchy-matchy.

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