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julianmeynell

Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.

Boule's Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes - Pierre Boulle, Xan Fielding

Obviously this is the book that launched a thousand movies.  Unfortunately, I do not think that it is possible to review it without referencing at least some of those movies.  Its plot, surprisingly, is probably closest to the Tim Burton version.  They share the same end twist, but it makes more sense here.  The book is not meant to be realistic science fiction, but instead is more a fantastic satire on the human condition.  The book does not feel as if it were written at the time it was, but reminds me of the social science fiction of the first third of the twentieth century.  It is not as good as the original movie although some of the iconic scenes and characters from that movie are to be found here.  The back of my book compares the work to Swift.  That is a little generous.  Its not that clever or that witty, but it is satire aimed at the human condition in its most general terms.  It is, as such, very much its own beast and does not resemble any of the movies in tone.

Its an alright read, but in no sense a masterpiece and it also makes you realize that much of what was great about the first Planet of the Apes movie came from the filmmakers and not from the original source material.  Having said this, both the movie and the book are deeply pessimistic about the human condition, albeit in  different ways.  Its a fun enough read, but not a required read, even for fans of the films.