The Fabulous Riverboat

Philip José Farmer. He still didn’t have much luck with his choices for future predictions, and with this one I’m beginning to feel that perhaps I don’t want to solve the mystery of Riverworld enough to finish them all. (The fact that the last two books are really two volumes to one story, and that they’re much fatter than the first two, not to mention that Barbara says she found the series became tedious, contributes to this ambivalence.)

I noticed with this volume how flat and one-dimensional Farmer’s approach to religion is. The only religions that exist are extremist Islam and the Riverworld creators’ propaganda religion, and the characters several times explain how all Earth religions were totally discredited by Riverworld. I don’t for a minute believe that Buddhists or Taoists would be put off by such an experience, to name just two. It’s a shame Farmer didn’t have a broader or more sympathetic acquaintance with religion.