Monday, April 4, 2011
One man leaves earth in search of hope and peace, and instead finds a planet that is populated by intelligent apes. As for mankind? They're no better than apes were on earth, occasionally grunting or asking for a banana.
This is the problem Ulysse Merou encounters in Pierre Boulle's brilliant novel, Planet of the Apes. Ulysse is stranded on a faraway planet ruled by apes who act like humans. But, when it becomes painfully clear that he is an intelligent creature, he must plan his escape with the help of two friendly chimpanzees.
Pros and Cons
It's hard to find cons with this novel! Although translated from French, the dialogue is fast and interesting, the story quick and the end satisfying - as well as shocking. You'll find valuable food for thought about what being human really means, as well as a startling plausibility factors that will make you look at monkeys differently.
The Bottom Line
If you're looking for a classic science fiction novel that's entertaining, well-written and fun, then Planet of the Apes is right for you. There have been countless film adaptations of this original classic, as well as a television series. It's definitely worth your time.
Friday, April 1, 2011
The book centers around a boy named Jebel, who is disgraced when his father does not offer him a chance to compete for the most coveted position on the planet: Executioner. Determined to win back his honor - and the girl he wants to marry - he sets off on a quest with his slave, Tel Hesani, to reach a mountain that is said to obtain a god who can give you invincibility - if you succeed in surviving the quest. From Jebel's point of view, this is a sure way to impress his potential employer, but there's a catch. He must sacrifice Tel Hesani to gain this power.
Pros and Cons
What ensues is a book filled with many adventures. Shan's dialogue is quick and oftentimes witty. Tel Hesani is a character you begin to feel sympathetic with. Jebel, on the other hand, is a little tiring. It's sometimes very hard to root for a protagonist who's okay with sacrificing his slave's life to obtain honor and glory.
It's a very entertaining book. Once it starts, it never stops. Jebel's adventures begin from Chapter One and stretch to the very last page. The prose flows well, the quest storyline is appealing and you'll enjoy a satisfying - albeit a bit predictable - ending.
The Thin Executioner