- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Classics (5 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099529041
- ISBN-13: 978-0099529040
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,785 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Planet of the Apes (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 May 2011
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"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)
A chilling dystopian vision of the ultimate role reversal, a cult hit since the 1960sSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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?.
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.Read more ›
Unfortunately for us, if you've seen the film there are certain elements and twists that may not shock as it would have the first readers of this book. If you've not seen the film you won't hear them from me.
But this is gripping stuff: three men (one a journalist, the others a scientist and his protege) travel through space on a long mission to Betelgeuse seeking out worlds different to our own on which life has developed. And boy, is this one different. Man and apes have developed at different speeds to those on Earth. With the apes having the evolutionary advantages, our protagonist is captured and taken for scientific study to a laboratory.
Like books that swap roles to make points and shock (Blonde Roots for slavery, Noughts and Crosses for racism), Planet of the Apes makes its points well, and despite being a translation is very eloquent and emotive.
It's also a great book for 'mulling over', great for a book group or for anyone on their own to ponder. Ulysse (our journalist) develops feelings for a local woman (devoid of speech and logical thought), has to decide where his loyalties lie, has to look at his new society with the experience of his old.
The bookends of the book (a couple finding Ulysse's transcript while travelling through space) are brilliantly used, hammering home the story in a brief episode you've all but forgotten about by the close.
Wonderful short book that I wish was better known.
Unabridged and complete story running 7 hours
Very well read by Greg Wise**, this chilling novel captures the gripping and disturbing world where apes rule and humans behave like animals.
Having only ever seen the films, the book goes much deeper and explains in infinite detail the `role reversal' of man and monkeys. The humans are portrayed in the book as a lot more `animal like' than in the films and the hierarchy of the monkeys was fascinating comparison to our own class system.
The first encounter with the monkeys was a hunting scene which was alarming and replicated our fox hunting. If ever anyone wondered what it may feel like for the fox - read or listen to this!!
There was also a frightening insight into a world of role reversal when the monkeys used the humans for medical experimentation. Again, if anyone ever wondered about this, read or listen to this story!!
Very chilling and thought provoking.
Highly recommended, and a well deserved 5 stars
** I have often heard the line "...anyone could read a book out loud and make money from it...." - Listen to this story - this is how a very good reader does it, I certainly could not do as good a job and make the listener believe what they're hearing!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A true classic. As with any science fiction, it dates easily, but it is a beauty of a book.Published 1 month ago by Joe Joe
Unexpected twist at the end - unlike the movies. I really enjoyed it!Published 6 months ago by Mr Dan H N
While the dialogue was a little dated I really enjoyed it. Having watched most of the movies, originals and new I was pleased the book differed from all.. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Iwantoneofthose
The twist at the end of this book just goes to show how arrogant and presumptuous humans are...... We think we are so clever.... Read morePublished 9 months ago by HarleyCK
I loved this book when I was a kid in the 1960's but it has not really stood the test of time in my opinion.Published 11 months ago by M. Richardson
Was curious to read the original inspiration for the Planet of the Apes stories. Until I discovered this, I did not realise that the films had a literary origin. Read morePublished 13 months ago by H M Reynolds
Fantastic novel, why on earth it has only just become available in this garishly awful breathtakingly daft cover aimed at three year olds is beyond me - the penguin mod classic... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Le Chacal