Planet of the Apes (Paperback)

Planet of the Apes (Paperback)

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The original novel that inspired the films!

First published more than fifty years ago, Pierre Boulle’s chilling novel launched one of the greatest science fiction sagas in motion picture history, spawning nine feature films, a live-action television series, a cartoon, Halloween masks, playsets and lunch-boxes. 

The story: In the not-too-distant future, three astronauts land on what appears to be a planet just like Earth, with lush forests, a temperate climate, and breathable air. But while it appears to be a paradise, nothing is what it seems.They soon discover the terrifying truth: On this world humans are savage beasts, and apes rule as their civilized masters.

In an ironic novel of nonstop action and breathless intrigue, one man struggles to unlock the secret of a terrifying civilization, all the while wondering: Will he become the savior of the human race, or the final witness to its damnation? In a shocking climax that rivals that of the original movie, Boulle delivers the answer in a masterpiece of adventure, satire, and suspense.


Boulle's classic 1963 novel differs in several ways from the 1968 movie and its various spinoffs. While the bare-bones story is familiar—astronaut travels to a planet populated by intelligent apes, is captured, fights to prove that he is a thinking creature—the novel is richer in detail and parallels to human culture. Boulle's apes live in cities, wear human-style clothing, drive automobiles. Technologically, they are in pre-spaceflight mode (although they have sent vessels into orbit, with humans as pilots—just like we did with monkeys, back in the 1950s and '60s). As in the '68 movie, Boulle's humans are essentially wild animals, unclothed and uncivilized—which is why our hero, French journalist Ulysse Mérou, poses such a problem for his captors: intelligent humans, capable of speech and advanced thought, are not supposed to exist. Many familiar ape characters are here—Zira, Cornelius, Nova, Zaius—but they are subtly different: for example Zaius, the orangutan scientist, is less buffoonish, and more menacing, than you might be expecting. The novel is paced more slowly than the movie, too: the film is a sci-fi movie with philosophical undertones, but the novel is more like a fable, an overt morality tale posing as science fiction, weighted more toward dialogue than action. It should be considered essential reading not just for fans of the movie, but for all science-fiction readers. --David Pitt, Booklist
  • ASIN : 0345447980
  • Publisher : Del Rey (January 1, 2001)
  • Language : English
  • Mass Market Paperback : 272 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 9780345447982
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0345447982
  • Item Weight : 4.8 ounces
  • Dimensions : 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches

All copies are new.