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Planet of the Apes (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 26 Jul 2001


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 July 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014118681X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141186818
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 677,651 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A scintillating mix of sci-fi adventure and allegory" Los Angeles Times "In 1963, at the most glacial moment of the Cold War, Frenchman Pierre Boulle wrote a novel called Planet Of The Apes - a drastic warning about where mankind's apparent desire to destroy itself might lead" The Mirror "Boulle called on his own experiences as a prisoner of war in South-east Asia during the Second World War, using the relationship between man and apes as a metaphor for the treatment handed out to prisoners by brutish Japanese guards" Daily Express "It's like a good myth or fairy-tale that stays with you... Part of the strength of this material is its disruptive, questioning nature. Who came first? Where are we going?" -- Tim Burton "The subtext is strongly anti-slavery, anti-racist and anti-war" Observer

Book Description

A chilling dystopian vision of the ultimate role reversal, a cult hit since the 1960s --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Pablo Iglesias Alvarez on 18 Oct 2001
Format: Paperback
Planet of the Apes has written it's golden name in history thanks to the excellent film that was made in 1968. Nevertheless, the original novel is a little gem that has high value by itself.
Pierre Boulle wrote this book more as a fable than a Science Fiction novel. He wanted to comment on many aspects of society's present (and possible future) by constructing an upside-down world.
Thus, while Planet of the Apes is very original and amusing, it is mostly an intense social essay full of wit. It is a novel to make you think while you are being entertained. What else could we ask for?.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 26 Jun 2012
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It's been a common complaint throughout most of the past century that `the movie isn't as good as the book,' but Pierre Boulle's Monkey Planet - to give it its original title - is something of an exception in that it's an example of a book that was greatly improved by the film. It's a brilliant idea, casting a human astronaut into the future and stranding him on a planet where apes are the dominant species rather than men, but the impression the at times quite radically different 1968 version left was so strong that the novel seems underwhelming by comparison. It's certainly a very different kind of beast, framed by a pair of solar sailors discovering a message in a bottle floating in space from a French journalist relating how he found himself on the alien planet Soror where humans are animalistic savages and apes live in a modern technologically advanced world much like our own with only minor simian-compatible adjustments. Adopted and regarded as something of a celebrity for his ability to mimic apelike behaviour and intelligence, he eventually becomes a threat to the society that was originally bemused by him, threatening their almost divine belief in their own innate superiority...

Although many of the key plot developments of the film are present, Boulle's treatment of them is very different, the novel at times more akin to a science fiction version of the Brobdingnagian section of Gulliver's Travels. The writing is at times rather on the nose, with the twist in the framing device rather obvious long before it is revealed, and while there is neat twist to the traveller's journey that doesn't involve any statues, you do come away feeling that the author never quite makes as much of the story's possibilities as he could.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Buckle on 28 Jan 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very different from the film (s) - and far superior. Read it years and years ago so it was nice to re-read it recently (after seeing the recent Tim Burton film based on the themes of the book) and it was just as magical as I remembered it. The Monkey Planet is a totally recommended book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Clarke on 28 Jun 2012
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I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying this. The language is a little old-fashioned feeling but the story is fantastic and so much richer and more inventive - thought provoking? - than the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Badger on 18 Jun 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the first book that I have ever read on my Kindle,and I think that I made the perfect choice for a starting point. This book covers everything, political and social matters, immense Sci-Fi, and a small amount of horror. The structure of the book is genius, starting you off slowly, until it finally leads you to be so engrossed in the writing that you share the experiences and emotions of the narrator that it feels like you are a silent bystander to the events listed as they unfurl themselves. Plus, this is a book about intelligent monkeys that actually take over from humanity. What more could you want!
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By Steve on 24 Nov 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let's face it. No one is going to read this book who hasn't seen the proper film version or even the Tim Burton rubbish. So for most people this is an exercise in comparing the original story to the Master version - the 1968 film.
In nearly every way the film proves to be better than the book. The story is more balanced, the detail is more thorough and better ties the storyline together, There are few differences where the books detail is better than the film. The one exception to my mind would be the language issue. There are many faults with the book though;
1. why does Merou not show the apes his launch (only superficially damaged by the wild humans).
2. They travel ay light speed and land on a distant planet and venture out in diving suits! And use a pet monkey like a mine canary. Not reasonable to explore planets without technology. After all this was written in the 60s, not HG Wells Victorian era.
3. The slow reveal that the caged Merou is an intelligent being lacks the dramatic impact of "get your filthy paws of me".
4. The reciting the human history section is based on what? Electrocuting a racial memory, that includes reciting specific events, from a mute woman? Very weak plot link/filler.
5. The escape is covered in about two lines and yet could have been an exciting section of the story.
6. The double failure of the "twist" at the end of the book (same twist - different setting) is first lack lustre and then the second seen coming half a book away. OK, we've seen the film so we know roughly what will happen, but the main surprise is how dull this "twist" was.
7. The "God damn you all to hell" moment of the film really is more a "oops, Monkey" moment in the book.
Really this book is not well written.
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