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Has anyone read the novel version of the cult-classic movie?  I had heard that Arthur Clarke wrote the novel alongside the movie. I wonder if the novel version is any different from the movie? 
 

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I did.  I did back in high school.  From what I remember, it does follow the movie, but much of the ending that just appears as weird and strange in the film, is explained in the book.  It's not a particularly long book, either. He also wrote 2010, and two other sequels.  In the third or fourth sequel the character of Frank (he gets shot off into space by HAL in the movie) is actually found in deep space and revived. 

Clarke has some very interesting theories about technology and some of them I hear are still being considered.  One of the books has the earth building these giant towers that extend into space and people take these giant elevators to top levels and there are tubes that connect each tower...a man-made Saturn ring...
 
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2001 explains a lot of the ending and is rather clearer than the film. Although the plot remains the same, a lot of extra information is provided. I liked 2001 and 2010 but didn't really enjoy the books after that (2061 and 3001).
 

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It's been a long time since I read it, but I thought it was worthwhile. I saw the movie in a theater when it was first released. I was blown away by it, but I wasn't exactly sure what I had just watched. Then I got a copy of the book, read it, and finally understood what had happened. Then I went to see the movie again and enjoyed it in a different way. It may be a very rare instance of the book and the movie being mutually supportive and a case where it is better to have partaken of both rather than just one or the other.

There are some minor story differences as I recall, though more just in the amount of detail that can be provided in a book versus a movie. The only thing that stands out in my mind (unless it got changed in later editions?) is that HAL et al go to a moon of Saturn in the book instead of Jupiter as in the movie.
 

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I read it sometime in the early 2000's. As I have yet to see the film in its entirety (I keep falling asleep) I really enjoyed the novel. It explained the section where I keep dozing off quite well. :) Now that I understand what its supposed to be, I might stay awake next time I try to watch it. I even went ahead and read 2010. I attempted 2061, but didn't enjoy it as much.

That got me on a big movies vs novels kick. I then read Planet of the Apes, wow, did Hollywood Americanize that! I love the movie, but the original novel has so much more going for it. If you're a Star Wars fan, the episode 3 novelization does a fantastic job at showing Anakin's inner turmoil. Something not reflected on the screen, so I didn't buy his eventual downfall.
 

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$7.99 for Kindle edition

Amazon.com Review
If you've seen the progressively cheesier Planet of the Apes movies of 1968-1973, you may be shocked to learn the first movie was adapted from an intelligent, ironic, and literate novel. You'll be less surprised when you learn the original novel Planet of the Apes was written by Pierre Boulle, author of The Bridge over the River Kwai.
In the novel Planet of the Apes, the three Frenchmen making the first interstellar journey discover a remarkably Earth-like world orbiting Betelgeuse--Earth-like, with one crucial difference: The humans are dumb beasts, and the apes are intelligent. Captured during a terrifying manhunt, locked in a cage, and ignorant of the simian language, Ulysse Merou struggles to convince the apes that he possesses intelligence and reason. But if he proves he is not an animal, he may seal his own doom.

Like the first movie, the novel Planet of the Apes has a twist ending, but a twist of a different--yet equally shocking--sort. --Cynthia Ward

From Booklist
Boulle's classic 1963 novel differs in several ways from the 1968 movie and its various spinoffs. While the bare-bones story is familiar-astronaut travels to a planet populated by intelligent apes, is captured, fights to prove that he is a thinking creature-the novel is richer in detail and parallels to human culture. Boulle's apes live in cities, wear human-style clothing, drive automobiles. Technologically, they are in pre-spaceflight mode (although they have sent vessels into orbit, with humans as pilots-just like we did with monkeys, back in the 1950s and '60s). As in the '68 movie, Boulle's humans are essentially wild animals, unclothed and uncivilized-which is why our hero, French journalist Ulysse Mérou, poses such a problem for his captors: intelligent humans, capable of speech and advanced thought, are not supposed to exist. Many familiar ape characters are here-Zira, Cornelius, Nova, Zaius-but they are subtly different: for example Zaius, the orangutan scientist, is less buffoonish, and more menacing, than you might be expecting. The novel is paced more slowly than the movie, too: the film is a sci-fi movie with philosophical undertones, but the novel is more like a fable, an overt morality tale posing as science fiction, weighted more toward dialogue than action. It should be considered essential reading not just for fans of the movie, but for all science-fiction readers. --David Pitt
*Actually I didn't realise that the author also wrote Bridge over the River Kwai.
 

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If you saw "2010" you may recall the Roy Schieder character listening to an audio recording, over and over again, of Dave Bowman saying "My God, it's full of stars!"  While recently re-watching 2001 I was surprised that it was not in the film.  It was, however, in the book, as I recall.
 

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Reading the book will give you a lot more information on what the obelisk is, where it came from, why it is there, and where the astronaut ends up at the end. The book was written I think after the screen play was written, and all of it was based on a short story written by Clark.
 

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Patrick Skelton said:
Wow! I did not know that Planet of the Apes was a novel before a movie.
It's a French novel, by Pierre Boulez, if I am remembering that name right. I read the English translation when I was young. I remember very little except the ending, which was very different than the movie.
 

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This brings back memories. I like both the book and the movie, but they are quite different.

I saw the movie first. I remember renting it on VHS and I was watching the first ten minutes thinking they had mixed up the tapes. I actually had to take it out and check the sticker.

After another five minutes of these monkey men running around, I was convinced they had put the right sticker on the wrong tape. I decided to watch it anyway, I had nothing else to do.

Boy, was I surprised when the cut to the guy waiting in the space station. I remember just thinking "cool". And the voice of HAL. I can hear it right now in my head (I am called Dave too).

The book is great too though, and it's always fun to spot the bits they changed or left out. It was originally a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called "The Sentinel".

He wrote it in 1948, but couldn't get it published until 1951. It wasn't until 1964 that he first spoke with Kubrick about making it into movie. They co-wrote the script, but at one stage Kubrick insisted they write it as a novel first then base the movie on that.

They actually worked on both the novel and the movie simultaneously. Scenes from the novel would be filmed and then altered, then Clarke would go back and rewrite sections of the novel.

The plan was to publish the novel in 1965 and release the movie in 1966, but after huge delays with the film, it was released in 1968, ahead of the novel. Clarke was pissed that his book would be seen as a novelisation of the movie, and was so upset with changes Kubrick had made that he left the premiere in tears, during the intermission.
 

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dgaughran said:
The book is great too though, and it's always fun to spot the bits they changed or left out. It was originally a short story by Arthur C. Clarke called "The Sentinel".

He wrote it in 1948, but couldn't get it published until 1951. ...

They actually worked on both the novel and the movie simultaneously. Scenes from the novel would be filmed and then altered, then Clarke would go back and rewrite sections of the novel.

The plan was to publish the novel in 1965 and release the movie in 1966, but after huge delays with the film, it was released in 1968, ahead of the novel. Clarke was p*ssed that his book would be seen as a novelisation of the movie, and was so upset with changes Kubrick had made that he left the premiere in tears, during the intermission.
Thanks for sharing that, David. I didn't know about the way Clarke/ Kubrick worked together. But it does sound awfully familiar! I'm friends with another British Sci Fi author who worked with Kubrick: Ian Watson who worked with him on the film AI. Ian sometimes talks about that strange time working with Kubrick. In fact, he wrote a post about it here: http://www.ianwatson.info/kubrick.htm

BTW: I read The Sentinel years ago. I can't say I enjoyed it much. There was a very extended sequence at the end where Clarke describes a journey through an alien landscape. I remember that much. Clarke was a great author but the Sentinel wasn't one of his best.

Tim
 

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People often complain that the ending of the movie was confusing, but I think that's exactly the effect Kubrick intended. He was trying to convey that the events Bowman was experiencing were simply not comprehensible to the human mind.

It's been at least 30 years since I read the book, but I seem to recall that
the Star Child destroyed the Earth at the end.
Since there were a couple of sequels, evidently my memory is faulty or Clarke pulled a rabbit out of his hat.
 

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Straker said:
People often complain that the ending of the movie was confusing, but I think that's exactly the effect Kubrick intended. He was trying to convey that the events Bowman was experiencing were simply not comprehensible to the human mind.

It's been at least 30 years since I read the book, but I seem to recall that
the Star Child destroyed the Earth at the end.
Since there were a couple of sequels, evidently my memory is faulty or Clarke pulled a rabbit out of his hat.
My recollection is more or less the opposite: that he arrived
just as a nuclear war was beginning, with the suggestion that he would somehow stop it
. Guess I might have to re-read it. (I watched the BluRay not too long ago. :) )
 
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