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Planet of the Apes

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  32,238 ratings  ·  1,465 reviews
"I am confiding this manuscript to space, not with the intention of saving myself, but to help, perhaps, to avert the appalling scourge that is menacing the human race. Lord have pity on us!"

With these words, Pierre Boulle hurtles the reader onto the Planet of the Apes. In this simian world, civilization is turned upside down: apes are men and men are apes; apes rule and m
Paperback, 268 pages
Published May 29th 2001 by Del Rey (first published 1963)
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  32,238 ratings  ·  1,465 reviews

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May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think Pierre Boulle’s novel Planet of the Apes is a social fantasy, an allegory for revealing our civilization as blindly mimicking our past, as “aping” the good and bad of what has come before. It is a statement against complacency, a warning that history will repeat itself if we are not eternally vigilant. The novel may also be read as a cautionary illustration of our relationship with our environment and the animals with which we share the Earth.

Or it’s a fun science fiction book about chim
Luca Ambrosino
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ENGLISH (Planet of the Apes) / ITALIANO

«Jinn and Phyllis were spending a wonderful holiday in space, as far away as possible from the inhabited stars»
A couple of tourists on an interplanetary trip runs into a bottle drifting in the space. They obtain in this way a manuscript in which is told the story of Ulysse Mérou, a French journalist, and his space journey toward the Betelgeuse star, 300 light years far away from Earth.

I fell in love with this novel after half a page. Simple, addictive, sho

Henry Avila
Jul 13, 2011 rated it liked it
When a film becomes so immensely popular they achieve pop culture status, such as The Planet of the Apes, (1968's version with Charlton Heston of course) and the many different reincarnations that follow, nothing can match it... including ironically the book which originated all the hubbub. Now a return to this novel and examine the quality of, not an even contest since countless hundreds of millions have viewed the motion picture, with relatively speaking a few million read the publication I'm ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Sci-Fi)
Shelves: sci-fi, with-movie, 501
French writer Pierre Boulle (1912-1994) made use of his experience as a soldier in WWII in depicting the relationship of apes and men in this 1963 book, Planet of the Apes. While stationed in Indochina in 1943, he was captured by Vichy France loyalists on the Mekong River and was subjected to severe hardship and forced labour. The way the loyalists treated him and his fellow Gaulle and resistance supporters inspired Boulle to write this novel.

This book was highly praised and was given such revie
Brett C
May 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I enjoyed this story. I can say both the book and the movie are great in their own way. The movie was science fiction but the book seemed more socially-based lo-fi science fiction.

The book goes way more in depth about the planet our narrator and his crew have landed on. Through the narrator we discover much more about the ape planet than the movie gives. The interaction between the primitive man, chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans follows the movie yet the author does a great job of telling
Rebecca McNutt
Planet of the Apes is shocking and eye-opening, a classic sci-fi novel that everyone should read. The themes within it are certainly worth it.
Aug 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Becky by: Kandice Zelaskowski
Caution: Vague Spoilers Ahead

I don't really think that I can do this book justice in my review. I thought that it was brilliant. I know that I have seen the movie long ago, and remember the big reveal at the end and Charlton yelling about damning everyone all to hell, but I don't remember much more than that. I'll have to watch the movie again.

I really loved the subtle cautionary tale running throughout the story. Maybe it's just my feminist liberal bleeding heart whispering to me, but I feel th
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
"Almost all the great discoveries," she stated vehemently, "have been made by chimpanzees."

Experimentation is needed for all great discoveries, and what would a chimpanzee use as a lab animal? Why, a human, of course! Oh, those damn dirty apes!

Despite Charleton Heston's scenery-chewing, I've always loved Planet of the Apes, the movie.
The book? Well, it gets off to an awkward start.

The writing is clunky, and the plot, so improbable - (view spoiler)
Tom Mathews
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 sci ...more
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So in fourth grade we had an assignment to write our favorite author. Being a dork, I went for Pierre Boulle because he had written the only book I knew of that let you put on a gorilla mask and run around like you'd taken over the world. Imagine my surprise when one day a letter from Paris arrived in the mail from none other than the very tolerant Mr. Boulle (then about sixty), who answered such probing questions as "Why are Jinn and Phyllis not in the movie?" (There's an opening narrative fram ...more
4.49 stars, so rounded down to 4. I would not have said this was a translation (not that I think my French is now good enough to read this in its native language) as it flowed so well.
I have seen a number of film versions both old and new so knew roughly what to expect story wise, but I was not expecting the tenderness and emotion. You get odd hints through out that it is not a new book, it has Mid 20th century aspects, but despite this the SciFi is still good, as you would expect from the "Gol
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-shelf, sci-fi
This is a book that deserves to stand the test of time. I think it's as valid now as it was back in the fifties.

Let's ignore the movies for just a moment. They're important in their own right for capturing a cultural zeitgeist and for showing us all how damning cultural bias can be. One can make the argument that the Planet of the Apes movies underscored the 60's, put it all in sharp relief.

But I'm going to talk about the book -- about why the book needs to be read now.

Cultural bias is everywhe
Aug 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The original Planet of the Apes novel is a seriously clunky story. It is bookended by a kooky couple in space who find a message in a bottle (view spoiler), Ulysse Mérou stands in as a more pedantic Taylor who gets to knock up Nova before they with their child, and the Ape society is more developed, which makes it less effective in creating that Planet of the Apes vibe.

If it weren't for the movie with its killer Rod Serling script and the aweso
“Planet of the Apes” is one of those books that’s hard to approach without bringing along the baggage of the original 60s film adaptation or the less-than-successful remake a few years ago. The original film is such a part of our pop-culture concsiousness that it’s almost impossible to separate it from what we have here.

This is one of those books that is what it is–no more, no less.

I could spend several paragraphs detailing the differences between the movie and the book, but that would be kind
Nandakishore Varma
The original from which the done-to-death "Planet of the Apes" series originated. An enjoyable book about mankind on the wrong side of the bars in the zoo, with apes on the other side.
Kylie Amber
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own-read
Better than the movie but still a big no for me.
Interlibrary loan courtesy of the Everett Public Library, Everett, WA

This is the book that launched the Planet of the Apes movies, television, etc. It inspired that incredible scene with Charlton Heston: "YOU DID IT! YOU FINALLY DID IT!"

But this book rather than being a campy, dated 60s piece of sci-fi, is much more elegant than that. It is a cautionary tale and a criticism of how we treat our own world, our own society.

I had read this once before, I think, just after high school - I found a co
Iveta Marinopolska
The whole time I was reading the book, I was thinking to myself: "Oh, I know how this is going to end." I was on the very last page, having a smug "yeah-I-knew-it-you-cannot-surprise-me" smirk on my face...
Up until I read the last paragraph.
Mind. BLOWN!
Smooth move, Mr Boulle.
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
There is something so bizarrely enticing about throwing your conceptions of the world utterly and completely upside down. In so doing, you see yourself and the world in a whole new way, one which you might not like. This is what Planet of the Apes does so well. This is a great read. Compared to the film, I found it quite a bit more introspective, lacking much of the action, violence and campy drama.
Mike (the Paladin)
I read this years ago....about the time of the Heston film. I liked the opening and the little twist he (tried to) give it but all in all the book wasn't all that great I thought.

By the way there are differences in the book and the movie, a surprise, right?

I don't know what it is/was that left me cold on this one. I'd rate it 1.5 if could, but I can't and to rate it actually a 1 would rank it with some books I've found really detestable, so 2 even though I really am not that found of the book. I
The Planet of the Apes movie is probably my favourite of all time. It was very interesting to read the original source material and see the differences. The biggest difference is the ending, although without giving any spoilers, it does match up with later movies in the series.

The writing is excellent. The book focusses more on the science-y stuff such as the experiments the apes are performing on the humans, how they would have evolved differently, etc. It was great food for thought. It was mis
Amy Sturgis
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I'm quite familiar with the classic film adaptation of it, but this was my first time to read the original text, and I was delighted and fascinated by the differences between the two, small and large, from the introductory framing of the story (in the novel, as a space-faring couple's discovery of a "message in a bottle" floating through space) to the "big reveal" of its great twist.

The dystopian elements of the tale are chilling and still quite timely. I partic
May 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
I hate hate HATE epistolary novels. I hate sexist books. I hate books that don't follow their own internal logic/ rules. I hate this book.
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-10-of-2012
The ultimate Sci-Fi classic that started it all - I am pleased to say - totally holds up to its former glory!

First of all, I was shocked to find that after calling/visiting five - YES FIVE - independent bookstores in Boston, NONE of them carried this book. Really? I mean, really??! I finally had to resort to ordering it on amazon (YUCK) - a COMPLETE last resort. Anyways, I am still completely befuddled as to why this is not more widely available and read as I feel it is just as important as SF s
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
The primary interest for me in this book was how so very different it was from either Heston's or Wahlberg's cinematic versions.

Uncharacteristically for me, the 1968 movie version is the best of the three (usually the book wins hands down).
Mar 31, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is similar to the film series in certain ways, but different enough to provide a new approach to the main subject. The story is told as being in a manuscript found by space travellers, so much of the story is told in narrative rather than dialogue. (It took me awhile to get used to this writing style.) The ending is very different from the film. The book seems to emphasize the theme of evolution, while the film focuses more on time travel. I liked the book, but I like the film series mo ...more
Patrick St-Amand
Very much enjoyed this book though the cover GR has is irrelevant to the original story and is from the movie. I enjoyed the double twist endings as well as the characterization of the protagonist who at times borders in egotistical. Very cautionary tales in regards to race and inequality. I'll seek out more of Boulle's books.
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was fantastic. How it must've changed literature when it was first published!
Dec 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
French feminism didn't happen any too soon, apparently. This book doesn't age well at all. It also grinds axes against hunters and animal researchers, and if you are either, you'll probably want to skip it to moderate your blood pressure. Mostly, though, the treatment of women is just not to be believed. Gah!

Also, there were some weird translation choices, where I could imagine what the French word had been and could think of a much better English word than the one the translator chose. "Monkeys
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of the Planet of the Apes TV/movie franchise, but had never read the book. It is more simplistic than I thought it would be, and at times humorous when it's not supposed to be, but as it progresses the story takes a more philosophical turn and many episodes of captivity and experimentation on the humans make us ponder the morality of the way animals are treated in our culture. This is the only Apes book written by Boulle, but I am going to start collecting the other books in the se ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Pierre Boulle (20 February 1912 – 30 January 1994) was a French novelist best known for two works, The Bridge over the River Kwai (1952) and Planet of the Apes (1963) that were both made into award-winning films.

Boulle was an engineer serving as a secret agent with the Free French in Singapore, when he was captu

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“But once an original book has been written-and no more than one or two appear in a century-men of letters imitate it, in other words, they copy it so that hundreds of thousands of books are published on exactly the same theme, with slightly different titles and modified phraseology. This should be able to be achieved by apes, who are essentially imitators, provided, of course, that they are able to make use of language.” 30 likes
“I racked my brains to discover some sense in the events I had witnessed. I needed this intellectual exercise to escape from the despair that haunted me, to prove to myself that I was a man, I mean a man from Earth, a reasoning creature who made it a habit to discover a logical explanation for the apparently miraculous whims of nature, and not a beast hunted down by highly developed apes.” 15 likes
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