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''Riverworld'' is a novel series by Creator/PhilipJoseFarmer detailing the adventures of humanity in a world reshaped into one long river-valley. All humans that have ever been born are mysteriously restored to life with a body in its prime, and left to live in this world. There are no ores to make tools more advanced than Paleolithic, so humans are incapable of getting to the other side of the mountains that block the sides of the river. Humans that are killed awaken the next day somewhere else on the river.
The novels are told from the perspective of different characters, the first is centered around Sir Richard Francis Burton and the second; [[Creator/MarkTwain Samuel Langhorn Clemens]].

'''The books, in order, are:'''
* "The Day of the Great Shout" (1965) (Novella)
* "The Suicide Express" (1966) (Novella. The novellas were later combined into the first book.)
* ''To Your Scattered Bodies Go'' (1971)
* ''The Fabulous Riverboat'' (1971)
* ''The Dark Design'' (1977)
* ''The Magic Labyrinth'' (1980)
* ''Gods of Riverworld'' (1983)

These were followed by a pair of anthologies, featuring short stories by Farmer and a variety of other authors.
* ''Tales of Riverworld'' (1993)
* ''Quest To Riverworld'' (1993)

There was also a {{GURPS}} setting adapting the novels (copies of it were given to the writers of the anthology stories as references), a video game and two adaptations on the SyFy Channel. Aside from the basic concepts, neither had much to do with the original.
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!!Tropes include:

* AlienSky
* ActualPacifist: Many of the Second Chancers
* AllCavemenWereNeanderthals: Played straight with Kaz, but averted with Joe.
* AntiHero: Burton is kind of a bastard at times.
* AndIMustScream: How Star Spoon punishes her rapists
* ArmyOfTheAges: Nearly any military force in the series is this trope, by its very nature.
* AscendToAHigherPlaneOfExistence: What the Second Chancers and Ethicals believe happens to ''[[OurSoulsAreDifferent wathans]]'' that "Go On".
* TheAtoner: Goering
* AuthorAvatar: Recurring character ''Peter Jairus Frigate'' (note the initials), who is, of course, a writer of science fiction who was defrauded by a publisher no less. Rather than being idealised, Peter is scared of fighting; a bit of a weenie compared to the rock-ribbed Burton.
* AxeCrazy: Star Spoon, but she has a hell of a FreudianExcuse
* BambooTechnology
* BangsianFantasy
* BodyBackupDrive: When someone died in Riverworld, their wathan (soul) was collected, a new body was created for them and the wathan was released and re-attached to it.
* TheChessmaster: [[spoiler:Loga]]. To a lesser degree, [[spoiler:most if not all of the Ethicals]].
* CoolShip: The ''Not For Hire''. Both of them. Aircraft, steam-powered machine guns, etc.
* CultureClash: Each section has a mix of people from different times and places.
* DeadToBeginWith: Prior to the start of the series the main cast is dead.
* DeathIsCheap: The same advanced alien technology which resurrected everyone on Earth who had ever died remains active. Anyone who dies on the Riverworld is brought back to life the next day somewhere else. A few characters use this "Suicide Express" to deliberately, though randomly, explore the Riverworld. Later on, the machinery breaks down.
* EarthThatWas: Obliterated by [[HumanoidAliens Humanoid]] [[AliensAreBastards Aliens]].
* UsefulNotes/EsperantoTheUniversalLanguage
* GambitPileup: Eventually it's revealed that so much has been happening behind the scenes that it's amazing they had room for the scenes.
* GeniusBruiser: Joe Miller is an 800 lb prehistoric "titanthrop" who is the most fearsome warrior in the series. He is also capable of matching wits with his best friend [[MarkTwain Samuel Clemens]] and with {{Cyrano de Bergerac}}.
* GodGuise: [[spoiler:Deliberately set up by the Ethicals]]
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Richard Burton and MarkTwain are just the tip of the iceberg.
* HumansAreSpecial: Why Riverworld was created.
* ImmortalityBeginsAtTwenty: For those five and over, they grow to the age of 20 and then stay as they are.
* InThePastEveryoneWillBeFamous: The spirit of this trope is present. Every human who has ever lived is resurrected on an alien planet, upwards of 10 billion people, and yet the protagonists keep running into notable historical figures, like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Liddell Alice Liddel]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_G%C3%B6ring Hermann Göring]], and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam_Clemens Mark Twain]].
* KnightTemplar: [[spoiler:Loga]]
* LadyOfWar: Tomoe Gozen, eventually [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice Pleasance Liddell]] (!) in the books
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ''To Your Scattered Bodies Go'' (from Creator/JohnDonne's "Holy Sonnet VII")
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* TheMasquerade: Ethical agents
* MetalPoorPlanet: The Riverworld was designed this way to help the human race concentrate on spiritual things. [[spoiler: Until a meteorite hits.]]
* MushroomSamba: Dreamgum
* NonHumanSidekick: [[TheBigGuy Joe Miller]] is of an undiscovered hominid species called Titanthrops.
* OurSoulsAreDifferent: The soul is an ''artificial construct'' implanted by AppliedPhlebotinum, recording one's life, memories, and existence to allow people to reincarnate on the eponymous Riverworld, eons later, and work their way to some kind of Redemption/Ascension/Crystal Dragon Nirvana. One striking scene shows a a holding vat holding thousands of souls: this is metaphysics meeting mass manufacture. Imagine: machinery handling souls like a billion ghostly coke bottles on a production line. In a supreme irony there is no ''proof'' for the final afterlife: the spirit engineers are profoundly religious.
* PatchworkStory: As mentioned above, ''To Your Scattered Bodies Go'' started its life as a pair of novellas.
* RagtagBunchOfMisfits
* SecretTestOfCharacter: [[spoiler:Riverworld's true purpose was to give all of humanity a second chance since the best of humanity proves them worthy of joining a long line of alien creators, yet the worst of humanity proves them unworthy of such an honor]].
* SaintlyChurch: The Church of the Second Chance
* SeaMonster: Riverdragons
* SignificantMonogram: Peter Jairus Frigate.
* SufficientlyAdvancedAliens
* TakeThat! - when Frigate settles his score with the publisher who cheated him. Farmer's snipe at the publishing industry.
* TechnologyLevels

!!Syfy Adaptation
The SciFiChannel made two pilots for a possible television series -- one in 2003, the other in 2010.

* BigBad: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nero Emperor Nero]] in the first adaptation, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Pizarro Francisco Pizarro]] in the second. Given that King John is just a walk-on role in ''RobinHood'' to most Americans this isn't surprising.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: Pizarro in the 2010 version has to be reminded that he killed Dan, when Deb tries to kill him.
* TheChessmaster
-->'''Ellman:''' Is this another one of their chess games?
-->'''Male Ethereal:''' ''(appearing)'' Chess. One of my favourites.
-->'''Female Ethereal:''' ''(appearing)'' Mine too.
-->'''Male Ethereal:''' Your move.
-->'''Female Ethereal:''' No. ''(indicates Ellman)'' His.
* ColonyDrop: What causes TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt in 2003.
* CoolBoat: Averted in 2010; obviously it would be impractical to construct a huge paddlesteamer/aircraft carrier with SteamPunk machine-guns, but would it kill them to mock up some armor and gatling turrets, as opposed to a small black powder cannon and sandbags?
* DeathEqualsRedemption: The suicide bomber in the 2010 version, responsible for killing all of the protagonists, later redeems herself by helping Matt escape, at the cost of her own life.
* EvilBrit: Burton is made the villain of the 2010 movie, even though he's the ''hero'' of the novels!
* FemmeFatale: (2010) Allegra. And proud of it.
* GivingUpOnLogic: Presumably why in both versions, no-one's particularly [[UnusuallyUninterestingSight fazed for very long]] upon discovering they're back from the dead, young again in some cases, or that the world was destroyed by aliens.
* GladiatorGames: (2003) Nero is captured and placed in the arena to fight to the death. Unfortunately he's in his element (not quite true as Nero entered the arena to race chariots) and not only quickly defeats his opponent, but also the local BigBad, [[YouKillItYouBoughtIt taking his throne]]. In the 2010 movie Burton thinks this is the true purpose of Riverworld.
* HeyItsThatGuy: For ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' fans -- Helo and Gaeta.
** For the 2010 adaptation, [[Series/{{Highlander}} Methos]] is Sir Richard Francis Burton.
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Burton is made the villain of the 2010 movie, even though he's the ''hero'' of the novels!
** Sir Richard Burton was British. This is an American adaptation. [[EvilBrit What else could you expect?]]
* MechanicalHorse: Pizarro rides a horse, an animal which didn't exist in Riverworld in the novels. But when the horse is 'killed' they see it's flesh has been cut open to reveal robot parts.
* MindRape: In addition to the waterboarding, Matt Ellman is tortured by having visions of his beloved Jessie having sex with Burton beamed into his head.
* NakedOnRevival: Averted in 2010 where everyone crawls out of the river in the clothes they died in, but not in the first adaptation.
* NietzscheWannabe: Burton.
-->"If you had seen what I'd seen, your eyes would be dead too."
* SceneryPorn
* StormingTheCastle: The 2010 movie has a scene involving jumping from a burning [[ZeppelinsFromAnotherWorld zeppelin]] onto the deck of the ''Not for Hire'' to battle Burton's men. The sequence is rather underwhelming.
* SuicideAttack: A female suicide bomber kills the protagonist in the 2010 adaptation. She is not happy when she wakes up in the afterlife and discovers it's full of infidels.
* TooDumbToLive: Dan in the 2010 movie, to the point where you can't really disagree with Pizarro's later comment that he finds Americans rather [[EagleLand arrogant]]. Seriously, what kind of moron walks up to a bunch of heavily armed conquistadors, hellbent on flaunting their ''law degree'' at them?
* WellIntentionedExtremist: Burton (perhaps unintentionally) comes across as this, since he's basically right about the [[CrapsackWorld Riverworld]] being a [[GladiatorGames giant game]] for someone else's amusement and no-one ever presents a valid counterargument to the question of why they ''should'' save it?

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