Planet of the Apes

Pierre Boulle
Planet of the Apes Cover

Planet of the Apes


This book, translated from the French, was the genesis of a series of films and books - though they didn't share the ending of this social commentary.

This is soft science fiction. The travelers use relativistic travel to reach Betelgeuse, then an unspecified landing craft to arrive on one of the planets. From that point on, this is about first contact. Boulle's main focus seems to be demonstrating that caging animals and animal testing are very wrong. The weak female characters (and lack of female crew) can be attributed to the 1960s, I suppose.

I enjoyed the book. The telegraphed ending didn't match the later films and books, but that's not a huge issue. I can't decide if this ending was better or worse. I do plan to read other books by the author, especially The Bridge Over the River Kwai. 3 stars out of 5 feels about right for this book.