Few afterlives are quite as far out as Riverworld. Riverwold is a planet that consists of a single long river valley, winding over the entire surface of the planet from the north pole to the south. It is, of course, artificially constructed. On Riverworld, every single adult human being who ever lived between the years 10,000 BC and 1980 AD has been resurrected by mysterious aliens for an unknown purpose. They are provided with food, good health (up to and including the connection of genetic defects), endless re-resurrections should they die again on the Riverworld – and nothing else.

No clues as to the purpose or rationale of the Riverworld. No nothing.

Naturally, to a certain type of personality – explorers, adventurers, philosophers and certain others – this does not sit well, and the quest to discover the secrets of the Riverworld is on.

Riverworld is, ultimately, one of those afterlives that are much more fun to read about than to visit. I mean, think about it. It’s a world in which every single human being for a span of nearly 12 thousand years has been resurrected. That’s a planet full of old grudges and the like. Not to mention that the world has largely reverted to a stone age level of technology. Check it out, certainly, but unless you’re one of those who have access to its secrets, don’t expect to enjoy Riverworld any more than you enjoyed Earth.

You don’t really think I’m going to spoil it for you, do you?
Go read it yourself!

The Unborn God

  • Type: Upload
  • Origin: Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross
  • Admission: all those deemed worthy by the ReMastered

A cyber-heaven in which all uploaded personalities will exist within the Unborn God, both as a part of the God and individually (the coding is complex, and the Unborn God is envisioned to be a weakly-godlike AI). The Unborn God is worshiped – and uploaded personalities are collected for it by – a particularly nasty group of neo-Neitzscheans going by the name of the ReMastered.

They are sneaky, devious political manipulators who are as blind to the contradictions of their belief system as any other Nazi group, and it is unlikely that their plan to create the Unborn God will ever come to fruition. Uploading, by the way, is an astonishingly painful process combining the worst aspects of trepanation and forced consciousness overwriting. (That’s right: you need to be a part of the Unborn God like you need a hole in your head.)