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Summary

Greg Wise reads Pierre Boulle's chilling, iconic novel about a nightmare world where apes rule over men. In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, except that on Soror humans behave like animals and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations have always been greeted by prejudice and fear...

The inspiration for several acclaimed cult films, Planet of the Apes is both a gripping, disturbing fable and a classic of science fiction.

©1963 René Juillard (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about Planet of the Apes

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Forget the statue of liberty

Would you listen to Planet of the Apes again? Why?

Probably not. I originally read it just so I know the "true" beginning of the film and TV etc phenomenon that is still active after nearly half a century. I ended up enjoying it in its own right, but its revelations are unlikely to surprise a second time.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Planet of the Apes?

It amused me that, according to the book, French will be the lingua franca in the far future. The landing on the alien planet was intriguing - and by the way, is emphatically not Earth. Honestly, what are the chances of a spaceship doing a 180 at the crucial moment and nobody realising? Imagine Neil Armstrong saying, "Tranquility base here, the Eagle has... hang on, that looks like Florida!"
There are some uncomfortable moments with the woman Nova - she really isn't treated well at times, but given how brutal the apes can be towards humans, I suppose she got off relatively lightly.
The main character's relationship with the chimpanzee Zira is... quite interesting. As I recall it was implied in the film, but here it's a little more explicit.
And there is a twist that is so much better than finding the Statue of Liberty, but to be fair it's not filmable.

Have you listened to any of Greg Wise’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No. The ones he's done so far are books I've read already or which don't interest me.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, it's not a short story.

Any additional comments?

Satirical elements often throw me out of a story. This one didn't.
It would be nice if Boulle's other well know novel - Bridge over the River Kwai - could be made available on audio.

4 people found this helpful

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Great story great narration but badly chaptered.

I'm marking this down to 3 stars for the bad chaptering by Audible but 5 stars for performance and story.

Great story read brilliantly by the narrator Greg Wise about some astronauts who crash land on a planet run by apes, but I wish Audible would sort out how they do chapters. According to Audible it is chapter 38 but the narrator says chapter 12 so Audible makes it hard to navigate the chapters. Come on if you're narrating the book and it says chapter 1 or 12 that's what the chapters should be in the audio book.

2 people found this helpful

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Still a great read if you think you know the story

You will no doubt reference against the original film, this book is the origin to that and can standalone.

2 people found this helpful

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A true classic!

The obvious lessons taught by this story are even more relevant today than when first published.
Very well narrated.

1 person found this helpful

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Different to, but just as good as the films.

I've always enjoyed the original series of films, and certainly the most recent two 'reboots', but until now hadn't read/listened to the original story. This was largely as I'd never come across it. Needless to say it is both more low-key and more interesting in it's development. It varies from the films' storylines in crucial ways, including the iconic scene from the very first film. Nonetheless it has a strong twist which it carries well. I don't know of Pierre Boulle's thoughts behind the story: did he intend an interesting sci-fi Twilight Zone type story, or perhaps a variation on racial awareness, war, or perhaps nothing else at all. Nevertheless, it's well worth hearing and Greg Wise does a decent job of narrating the tale. I'm surprised that I haven't come across more of his work with audiobooks.

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wonderful.

didn't turn it off for the first five chapters, loved reading it as a kid. Love this audio version. narrative is very good compared to some.

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Better than the films!

Intriguing satire and so much food for thought! Well read. Good pace. Nice twist!

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Excellent book and the film is nothing like it!

Really enjoyed it. Clearly written before the age of space flight, but very well written and executed storyline.

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Go Ape!

Wow, so much that was different from the original film yet seems to include elements taken from both the first reboot and others in the initial original movie series.

I'd recommend this to anyone, be they fan of the movies or never seen it before. Planet of the Apes has earned its' place in literary history.

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Good

Very good but with a confusing ending. Listened to it in one go and enjoyed it. I’ve always loved the story.

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  • Cage
  • 21-05-12

Monkey Business...

This was an excellent book, even if you've enjoyed the original film (and who hasn't?). You can clearly see the inspiration for the classic movie, but the book moves in a slightly different direction. You will find the principle characters of Nova, Cornelius, Zira, and Dr. Zaius. Beyond that, I won't divulge any specifics about the story, as it has its own little twists and turns. For the Planet of the Apes completist, I say quit monkeying around and listen to this one!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Richard
  • 20-08-12

You've Seen the Movies, Now Read the Book!

Even if you're very familiar with the classic 1968 Charlton Heston movie, there are a few surprises and plot twists here that make this an interesting and exciting listen. The main character is Ulysse, a French journalist who journeys with two other intrepid astronauts to the distant star, Betelgeuse, where they, of course, come upon the Planet of the Apes, inhabited by primitive humans and technologically advanced chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. The themes are somewhat different from those of the movie, but this is a well written and exciting book with a tightly-constructed plot, which also raises interesting questions about the ethics of animal research and social behaviors which can bring about the death of a civilization. Well narrated.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Xenobia
  • 18-05-15

I have not criticism to offer

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I love this book so much that I was sad that Pierre Boulle had no other books on audible to offer. He does an excellent job of verbalizing the main characters frustration with trying to prove his intellect to the apes without losing his mind.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Nova, she's definitely not that bright but I do appreciate that she gets smarter... maybe not smart enough to graduate from the third grade but it's a start.

Which scene was your favorite?

The end... I have nothing left to say about it but it was quite the ending.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

If I didn't have to work and eat, I would have listened in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

I hope more of his writing gets translated into english and become available on audible

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 10-04-15

The Movie was good, but the book is even better

Years ago I saw the planet of the apes movies and thought they were excellent science fiction movies. I stumbled onto this audio book and took a chance on it - so glad I did. I always thought that the original movie had an iconic ending, but honestly the ending of the book is even better. The writing is clever and the story line unique. The characters are interesting and well developed. The narrator does an outstanding job. It is just an excellent book, if you enjoy science fiction I would highly recommend this book. The ending is a complete surprise, very different from the movie.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Eusorph
  • 18-07-17

So so

I expected a much smarter book and instead the author manages to be very old school French: racist, mysoginist, anthropocentric, pompous. The "science" is extremely bad and in many points plainly dumb. Only the idea remains which is very good and for a good reason has been adapted in several movies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 05-08-16

ORANGUTANS ARE OFFICIAL SCIENCE

GORILLAS ARE MEAT EATERS
This is a great intelligent read. If you pick this up looking forward to the campy war like gorillas in the movie, you will be disappointed. Gorillas are the physical ones, they do hunt and kill humans, but instead of wearing leather, they wear the clothes of gentlemen.

ORANGUTANS
They are the stogy heads of science. THEY READ BOOKS, THAN WRITE BOOKS, REPEATING WHAT THEY READ. They have little imagination, but lots of power. I am wondering if Boulle was making a statement about a certain group of scientists?

The Chimps
All science advancements come from this group. They are they opened minded ones with imagination.

The story
This is more of an intellectual read with discussions on evolution, devolution, treatment of animals in labs and much more than the movies. The movies are good, but they went they way of more violence to get the ratings. I like the book, much better. The book has it's own twists and turns, that goes one better than the movie. Writing is superb, with plenty of story and intensity.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-12-20

Satire:

It’s the same as here but there’s animals in it. Five more words are required.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jason
  • 20-09-21

Refreshing revisit of required reading material.

This absolutely captivating audiobook was a forgotten gem from my youth. Flashes of memories and emotion in every chapter. Planet of the Apes is a wonderful work of science fiction that everyone should read.

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  • Kaiyaque
  • 05-08-21

Jules Verne wannabe, but ain't.

Don't usually say this, but the original movie with Charleton Heston, for all its faults, was far better than the book. For one thing, the book's premise that two perfectly parallel worlds developed light years apart is ludicrous. In the movie, the astronauts return to a planet that turns out to be Earth all along, so there are no scientifically impossible barriers to get over.
Also, the French do not have separate words for "ape" and "monkey," and the translator has chosen to use "monkey" throughout, which is irritating and inaccurate. To remain consistent, the book title should have been translated "Planet of the Monkeys."
Also, there are enough logical faults to irk the intelligent reader. For instance, one presumes that the "humans" of the planet would have been unwashed and very smelly, with uncut hair and beards, but they are presented as beautiful models. Also, unless the earthlings did not wash or trim their hair or beards during their voyage, the difference between them and the wild humans should have been instantly obvious to the hunting party.
Finally, the protagonist is irritatingly emotional.

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  • Craig specht
  • 04-08-21

intrigued

this was really interesting. different from the movie back in 1968. I have always said the book is better. the apes in the book seemed more civilized than the ones in the movies. the narrator was good.