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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
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Planet of the Apes (original 1963; edition 2001)

by Pierre Boulle

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Title:Planet of the Apes
Authors:Pierre Boulle
Info:Del Rey (2001), Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
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Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle (1963)

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English (41)  French (4)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All (49)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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!




( )
  James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
Originally written in 1963 by the same author who brought us 'The Bridge Over the River Kwai', this book will most likely be remembered for the many movies that were based on it's premise of a world where the roles of apes and men are reversed. Originally written in French, the main character in the novel is Ulysse Mérou: A journalist who took part in the space expedition that lands on Soror, a planet orbiting the star Betelgeuse. There is some argument as to whether the book can be considered science fiction or if it's a work of satire in the vein of Gulliver's Travel. Personally,I tend to see most science fiction as a study of society so I'm not going to say this isn't it.

Bottom line: PotA is an entertaining read but not extremely imaginative. I listened to the audio version recorded by Greg Wise in 2012 and was surprised to find that in many cases the word ape in the print version was changed to monkey in the audio recording. As one who knows that apes and monkeys come from distinct simian families, I felt the change made no sense and found it extremely irritating.

Thanks to the Goodreads Time Travel reading group for choosing this book and giving me the opportunity to read and discuss it with others. ( )
  Unkletom | Sep 23, 2016 |
I really liked the ending. ( )
  BellaStormborn | Aug 1, 2016 |
Really good book! Can't believe it's taken me this long to look the book up and read it. Much better than either movies - definitely recommended. ( )
  GeetuM | Jun 3, 2016 |
Read in french; interesting question about how we treat animals ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (56 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pierre Boulleprimary authorall editionscalculated
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)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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