- The Magic Labyrinth (The Riverworld Series Book 4)
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Probably it isn't good for sales, as I would have trudged through the fifth in order to get to the ending, but I'm a much happier reader now that I can stop here. And who knows, someday perhaps I'll forget the weariness and grumpiness with which I endured this, and I'll read that fifth after all. For now, it goes to the bottom of the reading pile. View all 3 comments. Aug 30, Mark Oppenlander rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction. This is the fourth and originally final book in Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series.
Picking up the various threads from the first three books, Farmer weaves the stories and characters together and comes to what is meant to be a rousing conclusion. I thought it was just OK. The book begins with parallel stories that follow King John in his riverboat, the Rex Grandissimus , and Samuel Clemens in his riverboat, the Not for Hire , as they head upriver in an attempt to get to the headwaters, meet This is the fourth and originally final book in Philip Jose Farmer's Riverworld series.
The book begins with parallel stories that follow King John in his riverboat, the Rex Grandissimus , and Samuel Clemens in his riverboat, the Not for Hire , as they head upriver in an attempt to get to the headwaters, meet the Ethicals and unravel the secrets of Riverworld. Naturally, there is a final confrontation between John and Clemens and much destruction ensues. The survivors of the battle no spoilers head upstream and eventually do make it to the Dark Tower, first encountered in the previous volume.
This book is mildly entertaining. Farmer knows how to keep the action moving. There are plenty of plots and subplots and I was gratified that he seemed intent on answering the various questions and problems he laid out in the series so far. My two complaints are interrelated. First, Farmer once again takes an awfully long time to get to the point. I am sure that many find this material very entertaining, as there is plenty of violence and action, but I found it tedious after a time. I cared far more about the mysteries of the Riverworld, most of which are relegated to discussion in the final pages of the book.
My second complaint is that the exploration of the Tower, the encounters with the aliens and the explanations that go with these things, are far too brief. This section is the payoff after many hundreds of pages of storytelling. Do you think we could take just a little bit more time with it? Instead, Farmer seems intent on racing to the conclusion rather than letting us savor the unraveling of all of these mysteries. The resolution of the various threads and the answers to the questions about the Riverworld posed earlier are actually moderately satisfying, for what it's worth.
I just wanted a little less violent foreplay and a little more of the intellectually stimulating climax. I also know there is a fifth book in the series, written a little later. I am curious to know what Farmer felt he left unresolved. I guess I will find out soon enough. View 2 comments. Jun 10, Hypatia rated it it was ok Shelves: fantasy , library.
I was a little disappointed in this book. It was not a great end to the story, among other things. I finished the last page and turned the page expecting more. I also found this book to contain more casual sexism and racism than I had noticed in previous books, and it bothered me. None of the female characters are truly significant, nor do they play much of a role beyond being mates for the male character except at the very very end.
I also thought they competition between John Lackland and Sa I was a little disappointed in this book. I also thought they competition between John Lackland and Samuel Clemens was unnecessary. The whole series could have been at least a book shorter, and it didn't feel necessary. There was lots of tension already with the mystery of the situation and wondering what was going on with the Ethicals and X.
Also, as my husband said when I was telling him about this book, you have all the famous people who have ever lived to choose from, and this is the story you choose to tell? There were some interesting metaphysical and philosophical discussions near the end, but it still wasn't great. Mar 14, Mike rated it liked it Shelves: science-fiction. The conclusion to the Riverworld trilogy except that there are number of additional short stories that were published later , this tries to wrap everything up and answer the fundamental questions about what the hell Riverworld was all about.
Though the author has his reasons for dragging things out to show some more about the central characters -- Richard Francis Burton, Samuel Clemens, and Hermann Goering -- I felt like a lot of the second and third books were redundant. The mystery is solved The conclusion to the Riverworld trilogy except that there are number of additional short stories that were published later , this tries to wrap everything up and answer the fundamental questions about what the hell Riverworld was all about.
The mystery is solved in a somewhat rushed manner toward the end, and it is a little unsatisfying given all the build up. Still, Farmer's characters are mostly excellently realized, and even with my qualms about some of the armchair philosophy and repetition, I was completely immersed in the Riverworld while it lasted. Jun 11, Ron rated it did not like it. If you're thinking that anybody can write a book, then this series is the series for you. If you're thinking that anybody can write a great book, then this series disproves that theory. The first book was very good.
The next two were a waste of time since they didn't progress the story. This one was overly long and didn't reach what I would call a satisfying conclusion. I won't go into any details other than to say that I found myself skimming page after page. Did I really need an entire chapter If you're thinking that anybody can write a book, then this series is the series for you.
Did I really need an entire chapter on a dogfight between 4 planes that ended with all 4 crashing? Feb 01, Manny rated it did not like it Shelves: science-fiction. I'm virtually certain I got as far as this volume before I abandoned the series, but I can't remember a thing about it. All I can recall is that we were given the explanation for Riverworld, and I just thought "Huh"? I guess I wasn't in a receptive frame of mind, given that some other people appear to like this book. Nov 24, Paul rated it liked it Shelves: scifi , fiction. It was an incredibly long slough, but finally there is a Riverworld book with a reasonably satisfying ending.
This book thankfully mostly-satisfactorily wraps up the stories of Sam Clemens and Richard Burton and their quest to the tower. That said, this book and particularly the previous book, The Dark Design , have some serious problems, and really should have been edited down to a much smaller, single volume. He does a ton of character development on lots of characters, only to kill them off before they do anything interesting.
He kills off almost the entire population of Parolando and both boats, leaving some small fraction of Burton's original crew, plus a few people randomly picked up along the way. Worst of all, he kills off a bunch of these people completely unceremoniously. Sure, that's how it works in real life, but this is a story.
Real life is boring! For example, Sam Clemens - the main character of at least two of these books, dies off-screen. Of a heart attack. In a world where everyone has ageless year-old bodies. And Farmer is super elusive about what's going on in the ships, with a bunch of ethicals and agents aboard, but then never explains who was Podebrad, which of the people on board were ethicals, what happened to the agents that escaped from the ships during the battle and were still traveling to the tower.
One thing I'm still confused about: in one of the interludes, he uses evasive language to avoid explaining which of the named characters is X fine , but the result is very confusing - he has one Ethical killing another one as the boats sink, but the way he described it, I was pretty sure that X was the one who was killed; then when they get to the tower Loga turns out to be X.
Here's my re-structuring of this series in a way that I think would work much better: view spoiler [ Book 1 proceeds mostly as it did in the original, except that Burton and crew are reunited far to the north, maybe 1 million miles away from the tower. At this point they run into the real Peter Frigate and Nur, which reveals Frigate and Monat as agents. As they are pursuing the agents, there is a failure of the grail system entirely, which causes huge chaos and many deaths, and Burton's crew lose track of the agents just as the book ends. Book 2 begins a few years after book 1; the grail system failure turns out to have lasted only a week, but still nearly half the people on the Riverworld died as a result.
Burton and his crew which now includes Frigate and Nur are heading upstream and they run into Sam Clemens and his crew in their riverboat, still pursuing John Lackland the original events of book 2 and most of book 3, to the extent that they happened, are glossed over. This culminates in the battle at Viroland about halfway through Book 2. Burton has figured out that the agents are trapped and will also be looking to get to the tower.
Some of the events of the trek to the tower change to take advantage of the new composition of the crew, but the ending is largely the same. You can then tell other Riverworld stories as parallel novels to the first one - so The Fabulous Riverboat is book 3 and tells the story of how Sam and Joe ended up building the riverboat in the first place.
Book 4 can consist of the rough outlines of The Dark Design , but without the super long interludes telling the life stories of every random character. I think it could have been an interesting turn-the-tables move if the god-like world-creators were shown to have this weird, illogical philosophy: "Holy shit the gods have been crazy this whole time", but it was played annoyingly straight, which made the long discussions and dialogues about it pointless.
So many missed opportunities in this series. Jan 07, KayMac rated it did not like it. I enjoyed Riverworld at least , though its not the kind of series that left me scrambling for the next book. The premise is unique and very interesting, the author does a lot with it. However, as the series progresses the pacing and narrative quality declines with an almost geometric exactness.
OK, so the series starts out strong and declines over time. As a reader I have zero patience for filler or fluff. That is, expository digressions that have little or nothing to do with advancing the story. I can overlook impossible technological leaps of which there are many , nonsensical economics, or improbable motivations because, hey, its science fantasy! But I cannot stand filler!
Aimless boring irrelevant drivel! Nearly all the characters with dialog are genuine historical figures. Burton was a sort of real-life Indiana Jones, only much much cooler. His character is the backbone of the five-book series, making most of the important discoveries, outwitting or fighting the antagonists etc.lor24.com.ua/themes/quitman/6198-sayti-znakomstv-lavapleys.php
The Magic Labyrinth (The Riverworld Series Book 4)
Clemens is portrayed as a dithering, avaricious, childish man who seems to run his own advanced eponymous nation Twain-land in Esperanto on the Riverworld just because the author wanted it to be so. In fact, he is far less interesting or likeable than Rotten John with whom he shares power for a time. Clemens makes all the wrong moves, alienates all the wrong people, snatches defeat from the jaws of victory so many times I nearly gave up the series because of him.
In the books, he is thoroughly unlikable and not in a rascally Southern way either.
To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Riverworld Saga, Book 1
Apr 23, David rated it it was ok Shelves: , audiobooks , science-fiction. I'm going to stick with this original tetraology and not go on to the 5th book, which I understand was written rather hurriedly and rather unnecessarily. Of these original 4 books, I would rate this as a 3-star series. The difference between the first book, To Your Scattered Bodies Go and this supposed-to-be-final book, proves that sometimes the journey is much more fun than the destination.
In spite of the cliffhanger, I would opt that the first book stands alone as an essential science fiction I'm going to stick with this original tetraology and not go on to the 5th book, which I understand was written rather hurriedly and rather unnecessarily. In spite of the cliffhanger, I would opt that the first book stands alone as an essential science fiction read, just with an ambiguous ending.
I just grew weary of the same storylines and characters that I was a fan of through three books. That said, if you go past the first book, you pretty much have to go through this book. Often, I use two stars to rate a book I disliked but didn't hate. In this case, I'm going with Goodreads' definition: "It's was ok". This was a very good book It was number 4 in a series that ultimately ends the series although there is another novel in it. As with all series I am sad it is over but I plan to save book 5 to a later date. The main of the book was awesome and kept me guessing and wondering what is going to happen next.
Somethings made very much sense and could only happen the way I expected. Other parts of this book left me happy or sad depending on what it was. Overa This was a very good book Overall this book, this series so far was an excellent reading experience although a bit dated as it was written in the late 70's. I said before that I was a new fan of the late Mr. Farmer but this book has solidified that and not the other way around Strangely enough, the very end of the novel remains open somehow.
It's easy for us to believe it now, almost some years after, fully knowing that a fifth book exists. I wonder how it must've felt in , when 50 pages before the end you thought this is it, then to be turned around and left a little perplexed by the ambiguous ending. Otherwise the plot of the book progresses well enough and the style he maintained since the second book remained just as solid.
Mar 29, Rodzilla rated it liked it. OMG we finally get to the end, the goal we've been waiting for!!! I think because there's not really a great story here. The end, the Tower, the commend center, whatever it is expected to be, is mostly McGuffin and little substance. So, like the rest of the story after the initial Great Idea book, the ride is pretty good: neither disappointing nor exciting. But I can't help but wish there was more to it. Nonetheless, I'll read through book 5 just started , be OMG we finally get to the end, the goal we've been waiting for!!!
Nonetheless, I'll read through book 5 just started , because, well, I got this far, didn't I? Jun 24, Nathan Douglas rated it liked it Shelves: audible-owned. It was fine, and getting some answers about the world and agents and everything was good I guess. Perhaps I'm getting tired of the whole setup, or the way half the book involves characters speculating about what MIGHT be going on but no on really knows. Also I truly despise Sam Clemens, what a piece of incompetent garbage! Anyway, the book is all right. This went on too long. Dec 03, Kim Zinkowski rated it liked it.
Something about these books seems to irritate me Book 4 in the series. Well freaking finally. And then my questions were still not answered. It's a great concept but PJF is a product of his times in a bad way. Jan 20, Daniel Mihai Popescu rated it really liked it. Burton is back. Another good but not great story in the series. The writing style is, per usual, great, but it again feels like Farmer ran out of steam. Jan 02, Eddy rated it really liked it. Goes on a bit in the middle, and the ending is a bit lame, but nevertheless a good read. This wraps up the conflicts of the previous books well and is an exciting read.
The Magic Labyrinth (The Riverworld Series Book 4)
It an interesting take on spiritually and self as well as you learn more about who created the Riverland. Dec 21, D. Krauss rated it it was ok.
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Magic Labyrinth is the fourth book of a trilogy…what? Yes, it is, the Riverworld Trilogy by Philip Jose Farmer, which Farmer botched in the third book so I guess he thought he needed to add another book to unbotch it. Complete fail. Disappointment, I say? Because the first two books were s The Magic Labyrinth is the fourth book of a trilogy…what?
Because the first two books were so damned good and exciting that I expected the series to end with the bang that had opened it. Instead, it was a whimper. I started the series back in when I was a quasi-hippie in San Francisco quasi, because I had a job. Everyone who ever lived wakes up naked in their twenty-years old bodies hubba hubba , all of them equipped with tubes called grails that, once affixed to an opening on some stone caps, gives them a full meal every day at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Naked chicks, free food, and drugs. So I was blown away and devoured the first book and hunted down the second one and devoured it and then waited all atwitter for the third, and concluding, one. And waited. Unless all three of the books are immediately available for instant downloading, that is. And memory. Oh boy! Grabbed it, skipped happily home, read it…and went, WTF? Oh no. Apparently the third and concluding book was so gosh-darned long that Farmer and his editor decided to split it into two books. In other words, the trilogy had now become a fourpogy, and I felt mightily ripped off.
Tossed it across the room and left the Riverworld in a huff, I did. So a few weeks ago I was roaming the shelves of a used book store when I came across Labyrinth , and all my hippie dreams and visions came dancing back and I bought it because now, this time, for real, all questions would be answered, all mysteries solved.
At least, 'nope' in the sense that the Big Reveal was worth it. The reason for the mass resurrection turns out to be quite underwhelming, like the Star Wars prequels you mean, the entire rebellion against the Empire was over a trade dispute?? So, my advice? Read the first two. And then pretend nothing else happens. Jun 01, Theo Logos rated it it was ok Shelves: read-more-than-once , scifi. The Magic Labyrinth is the fourth of Farmer's five volume Riverworld series, and was originally the final book in the series. Here all the various quests of those travelling to the headwaters of the river end for better or worse.
Here too, the mysteries of the Riverworld planet and how and why all humanity was resurrected there are revealed. This is a most uneven book.
There are episodes of thrilling action and adventure, and long sections of mind-numbing boredom. There are characters who have be The Magic Labyrinth is the fourth of Farmer's five volume Riverworld series, and was originally the final book in the series. There are characters who have been well developed throughout the books, and others that are barely sketched out, but still are central to the action. The writing is often barely competent, yet many of the ideas presented are still fascinating. The strongest part of the book is its middle, which recounts the final drama of a forty-year, up river chase of two rival riverboats.
Clemens' quest for the headwaters of the river, to storm the mysterious tower there that may contain the answers to this world's riddles, has been subsumed by his thirst for revenge against King John. Most of the action of the book takes place when these two mighty boats, both heavily armed and manned by crews of Earth's famous and near famous, have their final clash. Two great set pieces have French ace George Guynemer, and German ace Werner Voss fighting a last fantastic dogfight over the river, and an awe-inspiring fencing duel to end all duels between Cyrano de Bergerac and Sir Richard Francis Burton.
It is here that Farmer works his grand concept for all that it is worth, and shines. The Civil Rights Movement of the 's and '70's was an explosive time in American history, and it inspired explosive literature. What makes Biblio different? Facebook Instagram Twitter. Sign In Register Help Cart. Cart items. Toggle navigation. The Magic Labyrinth The Riverworld series ; v. First Edition - Berkley Pub. DJ has light wear - small tears and chipped edges. Binding is good, slight lean. Foxing to text block, DJ and end papers.
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