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on 24 April 2017
Like many I have seen the original movies, as well as the more contemporary remakes, but never had I read the original book. Until now. The original book is similar to the original movie, but also vary different, almost like a new untold story. The are some big differences, such as taking place on a different planet, rather than a futuristic Earth, and the apes do not speak English but their own language, "Simian", which our hero has to learn. There are some interesting events, some in the original movie, some not. And there are a couple of interesting twists at the end, which I was not expecting. An enjoyable book that I would recommend to fans of the original movies.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 26 June 2012
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
NB: As is their whim, Amazon have unhelpfully lumped together reviews for various different formats. This review is for the AudioGo unabridged audiobook.

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. It's an interesting comparison to the film for its very different approach to the idea, but it's more a great idea than a great novel. Greg Wise's reading of the unabridged audiobook version is similarly professional yet somewhat uninspired - it gets the job done, but doesn't particularly stand out doing it.
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on 16 June 2014
I have lost count how many times I have watched the film 'Planet of the Apes', the original 1968 film and I always wanted to read the book and I was pleased to see it was released in the kindle edition.

The film is similar to the book in different parts, in the book, the main character is called 'Ulysse' and the rest of the spaceship crew have different names, the rest of the characters have the same names in the book and film.

As much as I liked and enjoyed the book, I enjoy the film more, the book has many themes throughout, identity, society and how a individual sees the world which was great to read, the only negative aspect to the book was Ulysse, at times he seem very ignorant despite his constant reminder to himself that he was more intelligent and better than the ape society.

The ending is predicable and I am glad I read it because when all is said and done Pierre Boulle creating this world that eventually became a memorable film.
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on 10 May 2017
A book of astounding power and great imagination that does not shy from laying theoretical basis of the amazing story behind the Planet of the Apes. The concept of apes winning the evolutionary race is so beautifully presented that one wonders why it hasn't already happened. I have seen all the Planet of the Apes movies but it wasn't till I read this book that I fully understood the theme. If you are waiting for the next Apes movie, you better read this book now. The last time a book had left such a great impression on me was in 1974 when I read Crime and Punishment.
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on 19 July 2017
Great book, thought provoking and a worthy read.
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on 10 November 2017
So many film and tv versions have been made, wanted to read the original story, and I wasn't disappointed
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on 3 March 2017
A great story. Very thoughtful and thought provoking. When you've finished it you appreciate why it is a true classic .
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 9 March 2017
Pierre Boulle really gave us a great tale when he wrote this, and it led to films and a TV series as well as other merchandise. I will also admit that this novel is a personal favourite of mine. Starting and ending with a couple in their space yacht the main body of this tale is made up of what they find when they retrieve a message in a bottle in space.

Thus we read of the narration given us by Ulysse Mérou, who a French journalist goes with two others on a voyage through space to Betelgeuse in the year 2500. When they land on a planet they call Soror at first the only person they see is a young, nubile and naked lady. But as they are about to find out, they haven’t landed on some paradise as the grim reality sets in and they find the whole planet ruled by apes. You have gorillas, orang-utans and chimpanzees as the rulers, each with their own distinctions and working in some ways in different type castes. It seems that at one time they had race wars but have settled down into a more peaceful coexistence.

When the three space travellers come into contact with the apes it is due to the people they are staying with being captured. To these three men the humanoids that they have come across seem very primitive, do not have even fire and cannot speak. As Ulysse discovers, for the apes of the world humans are ideal for experimentation, and so vivisection and all the types of research that we have done into apes and other creatures are being done to us.

A piece of speculative fiction this is also a blistering satire and you cannot help but laugh out loud when Ulysse ponders on the fact that if an ape could talk it could give the same boring rhetoric of your average politician. If you have never read this before then forget the films and enjoy the original tale, which is well plotted, deeply thoughtful and certainly an engrossing read. And remember we are always being told how technology is going to make our lives easier, and we often read of the problems in our education system. So what does the future hold with arguably people becoming less intelligent and lazier? Could this really be our future?
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 July 2016
This is a piece of classic 20th century sci-fi literature - which has inspired a lasting (and ongoing) legacy. Pierre Boulle's wrote this novel ("La Planète des Singes") in 1963, and it tells the story of three human explorers visiting a distant planet in orbit of the star Betelgeuse - where they discover a great civilisation dominated by intelligent apes ... with humans existing as mutes and living like wild, savage animals.

The story is told from the perspective of a journalist, Ulysse Mérou, who - in the year 2500 - embarks on an incredible space journey. Unfortunately, he and his fellow space travellers are not welcomed upon their arrival. Mérou manages to convince the apes that he's from another world, explaining that there it was humans who evolved to be intelligent. Yet this leads to uncomfortable discoveries ... on this alien planet in the distant past, apes were savage - and were trained and conditioned by the ancient ruling humans, to work as servants. Finally the apes rebelled - taking over. Such events had long been forgotten, and Mérou presence demonstrates to the apes the potential threat posed by Man. Mérou is forced to flee that world - and eventually arrives back home at Earth ... only to find it now also dominated by intelligent apes!

This is a well-written novel, full of suspense, intrigue and action. It's great sci-fi - and was adapted into the 1968 film 'Planet of the Apes' (and inspired several sequels and re-makes). If you enjoy the films, or are fascinated by the premise, then I highly recommend this book. It's certainly not a 'novelisation' - but an original piece of work that deserves to be read.
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on 9 May 2017
Well . . . having seen and greatly enjoyed the film starring Charlton Heston on many occasions I was expecting SOME differences between book to film but there are more differences than similarities which was more than a bit disconcerting to start with, but then storyline is interesting, the action sequences are few and far between, if you read this expecting it to be like the film original film then you are going to be very disappointed. The book ends with a twist that is certainly NOT on a par with the film ending. For all these reasons I give Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle no more than 3 stars and I'm afraid that is being generous.

I'm now going to read the sequel (Beneath The Planet Of The Apes), I'm VERY intrigued to see how the book integrates itself with first.
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