No Spoiler Book Review: Planet of the Apes

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Today’s Review: Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

Perhaps with my childhood innocence gone, and now replaced by a more realistic view of the world we live it, this book just seems even more powerful.

Kwapi Vengesayi

This was a title I always loved but had forgotten about until 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox) brought it back to the epicenter of pop-culture with its Planet of the Apes Trilogy. This trilogy served as a reboot or prequel (depending who you ask), and was beyond successful.

It was great revisiting this book after having read it in high school over two decades ago. But I guess when you encounter such works at a young age, some of the nuances and complexities of such works are lost. But as you get older and experience the world we live in, the layers of social commentary are even more apparent and poignant today than they were then.

But to understand this literary work and start to immerse in its themes and messages, one has to look at the person that wrote it and the era they wrote it in. In short, this book was written in 1963 during the tense environment of Cold War, at the height of the Civil Rights and African liberation movements, by a man who had served as a French spy and was a prisoner sentenced to hard labor during World War 2.

This explains the themes in Planet of the Apes: humanity’s lust for war and the consequences of it, race and our flawed notions of superiority based on it and our treatment of those we consider inferior (and how it feels when the tables are turned). Add gender roles and conversations of Animal Rights and this book becomes a very interesting exploration of humanity.

And by the way, this book is also funny. Its not meant to beat you over the head with a guilt trip and introspection, but rather, wittingly and satirically inspire you to engage with such complex themes in a very mellow way.

A great read and highly recommended.

Book Description: First published more than fifty years ago, Pierre Boulle’s chilling novel launched one of the greatest science fiction sagas in motion picture history.

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.


Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon bestselling author whose books explore captivating musings and thought-provoking conversations about love, relationships, life and our human experience. You can find his book on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter @kwapiv or subscribe to his blog at