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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Planet of the Apes (original 1963; edition 1963)

by Pierre Boulle

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1,595414,560 (3.74)68
Title:Planet of the Apes
Authors:Pierre Boulle
Info:Del Rey (2001), Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:science fiction

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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle (1963)


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English (33)  French (4)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (41)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)

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 |
I read the book after the movie, and it was terribly anti-climactic and paced too slowly for me, at least at that point in my life.... ( )
  glindaharrison | Oct 19, 2015 |
I read the book after the movie, and it was terribly anti-climactic and paced too slowly for me, at least at that point in my life.... ( )
  glindaharrison | Oct 19, 2015 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 33 (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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