reviews from Goodreads

Planet of the Apes

Planet of the ApesPlanet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Why is it that alien sentient species are either in direct or indirect opposition to us humans? Are we so tribal that we can’t accept anyone who is different from us? Well, considering the situation in the world today, the answer is a resounding YES! In fact there was an incident recently where football fans chanted, in public, “We’re racist and we like it!” or something to that effect. They actually blocked a man from entering a train. So why do we bother to have space programmes? Because we want to prove our superiority. In space science fiction, we are either the most prolific species in the galaxy and in charge or we are the struggling heroes in a human-led rebellion (or both). In Planet of the Apes, the premise seemed to be that apes (or monkeys as they were still popularly called) have the ability to imitate anything that a human can do. Taking that to its natural conclusion, you have apes in charge of civilisation. This meant that humans had somehow regressed because of course no other race can have sentience with us, humans large and in charge.
Somehow, I don’t think that will be possible. Even if apes gained sentience as we, humans have, a situation as shown in the recent remake, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is more likely. Actually, the problem I had with the fate of the humans of Soror was in the way they lost their reason. Being apathetic and lazy is not a way to lose sentience. Neither is being focussed on one thing to the exclusion of all else otherwise there would be large swathes of the human population today that we would have to treat like animals. I guess this was simply a case of science marches on which is why it didn’t jibe with me. However, the thought did occur to me that if a drug or disease could be created that could produce such an effect (i.e. make a human lose sentience) well…

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