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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Planet of the Apes (1963)

by Pierre Boulle

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English (30)  French (4)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (38)
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The book by Peter Boulle is quite different in many respects to the resultant films and TV series – The Planet of the Apes!

If you've seen the film (and who hasn't?) then you know the story of Charlton Heston's crew, crashing on a planet run by apes and through various adventures finds at the end [Spoiler for the two or three who have not seen the film yet] that the planet he has crashed on is actually the planet Earth and the apes arose after a mighty atomic war!

Book's Themes:

The book is different. The author himself has called it a social fantasy and I see why.

A couple in a star craft of some kind find a note in a bottle. Inside the bottle is a manuscript which takes the story of Ulysse, Earth explorer and his adventures on a planet named Sorror in the Betelgeuse system. The book is made up of this manuscript.

Ulysse, one of three astronauts, arrived at Sorror and find the humans there stupid like animals. After some adventure, he is captured by the civilized apes of this planet. In many ways, the author is criticizing the slow growth of civilization, Dark Ages, and how the ones who believe old theory (such as the planet is the center of the universe) will not progress far.

The chimps are the intellectuals; the orangutans are the keepers of theory and law, as backward as it is, and the gorillas are the tough guys, the security & police force. All three of these resent each other, in similar fashion to the intellectuals and the conservatives here in Earth.

The ending is not bad; it reminds me of the ending of Tim Burton's version of the Planet of the Apes. Unlike Burton's movie though, the ending makes a lot more sense, if a shocking one!

Recommended reading for those who want to read the original story behind all those great movies! Easy to read, done in a day or two. Boulle also wrote "Bridge on the River Kwai," another book to film that was excellently portrayed. Can't wait to read that!

( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
Although it differs significantly from the Charlton Heston film, a favorite of mine, the richness of social commentary in the source material shines. ( )
1 vote The_Kat_Cache | Jul 15, 2014 |
I'm happy to know the source material for all these movie adaptations that I've seen and enjoyed !

I've always been repulsed by all these apes with clothes and cosmetics. Don't get me started on Zira, the female chimpanzee who befriends, Ulysse Mérou. Her lipstick always gives me nightmares.

The relationship between Zira and Ulysse is natural and I'm glad because it was always a point of discomfort for me in the movie. It always had an unnatural after-taste but I think the question about what it means to be sentient is well addressed. I loved the end so all in all it was a great novel. ( )
1 vote electrice | Jan 5, 2014 |
This was one of my favorite movies growing up, so I really wanted to read the book. First, let me tell you I bought the 1969 printing of the book. The typeset on a 1969 paperback is REALLY small. My old eyes just couldn't do it! As a result, I subsequently bought the Kindle version of the book so that I would have a font size that was more agreeable to my eyes. (I will be keeping the 1969 paperback as an addition to my permanent library, however.)
Long story short, while the book differs considerably from the movie, I still loved it. The social commentary throughout definitely reflects the times in which it was written, yet many of the situations are still applicable to today's society. While I saw the end coming from a mile away, I was still quite satisfied with it. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  TheBoltChick | Nov 19, 2013 |
...I can see why Planet of the Apes became a classic but truth be told, I don't really think it merits that status. It is an interesting read in a way though. The Hollywood adaptation of it differs considerably from the original (although the 2001 remake is closer to the book). In fact, the story is changed to such an extent that the end of the novel will come as a surprise to readers who are only familiar with the classic movies. I thought the difference between the novel and he movie adaptation was probably the most interesting aspect of this read. It almost begs the question what a French movie adaptation would look like.

Full Random Comments review ( )
  Valashain | Sep 8, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pierre Boulleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fielding, XanTranslatormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dehn, PaulIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jinn et Phyllis passaient des vacannces merveilleuses, dand l'espace; le plus loin possibles des astres habités. -

Jin and Phyllis were spending a wonderful holiday, in space, as far away as possible from the inhabited stars.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345447980, Mass Market Paperback)

If you've seen the progressively cheesier Planet of the Apes movies of 1968-1973, you may be shocked to learn the first movie was adapted from an intelligent, ironic, and literate novel. You'll be less surprised when you learn the original novel Planet of the Apes was written by Pierre Boulle, author of The Bridge over the River Kwai.

In the novel Planet of the Apes, the three Frenchmen making the first interstellar journey discover a remarkably Earth-like world orbiting Betelgeuse--Earth-like, with one crucial difference: The humans are dumb beasts, and the apes are intelligent. Captured during a terrifying manhunt, locked in a cage, and ignorant of the simian language, Ulysse Merou struggles to convince the apes that he possesses intelligence and reason. But if he proves he is not an animal, he may seal his own doom.

Like the first movie, the novel Planet of the Apes has a twist ending, but a twist of a different--yet equally shocking--sort. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:13 -0400)

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Three astronauts land on an planet very much like Earth, except that here apes rule over humans.

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