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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Planet of the Apes (1963)

by Pierre Boulle

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English (37)  French (4)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
Read in french; interesting question about how we treat animals ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Bought the paperback when I was a boy after seeing the original movie; it's a very different story with not one but two surprise endings. Replaced with this nice hardcover. ( )
  unclebob53703 | Feb 16, 2016 |
We have all stood on the beach and seen our past. This one makes us go ape. We can revert. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I did not realize that a) the movie(s) were based on a book nor b) that it's a work of French SF. Although published in 1961, the text has a much older feel: it uses the "found MS" framing device and feels akin to a "lost world" narrative, both 19th century tropes. The narrator sounds very much like a Verne narrator. That older feeling certainly emphasizes the underlying commentary on civilization, colonialism, and humans relationships to animals and the natural world in the novel, and having that commentary makes sense given what was going on regarding France and its colonies in the 60s. Boulle uses the planet Soror to hold up a mirror to ourselves and ask some questions regarding what makes us civilized. My friends in planning will be amused by Boulle's description of the apes using monkey bars in lieu of crosswalks: that's an idea only a male author would come up with, frankly. I was disturbed by the narrator and his traveling companion pairing up with "young girls". I just had to accept his trope of having the apes wearing clothing as an outward mark of civilization despite maintaining their body hair. ( )
  AmyMacEvilly | Dec 18, 2015 |

I confess that I haven't seen any of the films based on this book, but this is still a very interesting read (or rather reread; I had first bought it around thirty years ago). Of course, the reversal of human and ape is meant to make the reader reflect satirically on what it means to be human, and on how we treat other species; some of those points are well-aimed. But at the same time, for a French writer of 1963 fresh from the national traumas of Algeria and Indochina, it's pretty obvious what is meant and feared by the concept of the apes taking over; and it's noticeable that all the "humans" in the book seem to be pale-skinned. It's uneasy reading in places, but fascinating all the same. ( )
  nwhyte | Nov 29, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
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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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