Planet of the Apes

Cover to the 1966 Penguin edition | isfdb.org

Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle
Translated from the French by Xan Fielding
Vanguard Press, 1963
Price I paid: none

“I am confiding the manuscript to space, not with the intention of saving myself, but to help, perhaps, to avert the appalling scourge that is menacing the human race. Lord have pity on us!”

With these words, Pierre Boulle hurtles the reader onto the Planet of the Apes. In this simian world, civilization is turned upside down: apes are men and men are apes; apes rule and men run wild; apes think, speak, produce, wear clothes, and men are speechless, naked, exhibited at fairs, used for biological research. On the planet of the apes, man, having reached the apotheosis of his genius, has become inert.

To this planet come a journalist and a scientist. The scientist is put into a zoo, the journalist into a laboratory. Only the journalist retains the spiritual strength and creative intelligence to try to save himself, to fight the appalling scourge, to remain a man.

Out of this situation, Pierre Boulle has woven a tale as harrowing, bizarre, and meaningful as any in the brilliant roster of this master storyteller. With his customary wit, irony, and disciplined intellect and style, the author of The Bridge Over the River Kwai tells a swiftly moving story dealing with man’s conflicts, and takes the reader into a suspenseful and strangely fascinating orbit.

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Saga of Lost Earths

Saga of Lost EarthsSaga of Lost Earths by Emil Petaja
DAW Books, 1979 (Original copyright 1966)
Price I paid: 75¢

“The Force is from outside our time and space, from outside anything we can humanly comprehend. I conceive of a great machine somewhere—alien beyond human thought—sending out tendrils like electric impulses…In the days of the Kalevalan heroes, actually before our present cycle of civilization began, the Force was thrust in on Earth….”

Such is the theme of the first novel of Emil Petaja’s classic science fiction series based on the brilliant epic of Finnish lore, the Kalevala. A mighty saga of heroes and witches, of beings from the stars and beyond the stars, of powers that came to Earth and shaped humanity.

A student of the Kalevala, Petaja has created from its mind-stunning material a cycle of four novels—science fiction fantasy adventure of the highest order—retelling in the eyes of modern scientific conjecture the great worlds-shaking events that may be concealed by the folklore of an ancient and mysterious people.

SAGA OF LOST EARTHS, with which is included a complete second novel, THE STAR MILL, brings two of these unique sf classics back to today’s modern sf readers.

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Starmasters’ Gambit

Starmasters’ Gambit by Gerard KleinStarmaster's Gambit front
DAW Books, 1973 (Original French edition published 1958)
Price I paid: 90¢

As colonists penetrated the galaxy, a series of strange legends accumulated about the worlds just beyond the rim of our exploration.

These legends told of vast black citadels built by pre-human intelligences that dominated certain deserted planets. And the legends agreed that these colossal structures were not only impenetrable to explorers—but were still in some mysterious way activated.

This is the story of Jerg Algan, into whose restless hands fell the key to the citadels.

This is the story of Jerg Algan whose fate it was to be a “knight” on a cosmic chessboard, leaping to planet to planet as a gambit—a chess sacrifice move—to check the dark monarch who ruled the farther half of the Milky Way.

This is the novel that established Gerard Klein as the leading modern science fiction novelist of Jules Verne’s homeland.

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