Boulle, Pierre

Tagged: Author

(1912-1994) French author who trained as an electrical engineer and spent eight years in Malaysia as a planter and soldier. His experience of the Orient permeated much of his early work, which was generally not sf; Le pont sur la rivière Kwaï (1952; trans Xan Fielding as The Bridge on the River Kwai 1954) remains his best-known novel. Boulle uses moral fable to pinpoint human absurdities, and his relatively large body of work in the sf genre is a good illustration of this method. La planète des singes (1963; trans Xan Fielding as Planet of the Apes 1963; vt Monkey Planet 1964) is a witty, philosophical tale à la Voltaire, full of irony and compassion, quite unlike the later film adaptation, Planet of the Apes (1968), which used only the book's initial premise and lost its Satirical point, which is most effectively conveyed when the astronaut protagonists of the tale, who reminisce about the events portrayed, turn out themselves to be apes, in a reversal of the implications of the usual Apes as Human narrative. The late Le malheur des uns (1990) is a slight but science-fictional fable about a man who discovers a cure for AIDS. [MJ/AR]

see also: Computers; Devolution; France; Moon; Rockets; Scientists.

Pierre Francois Marie-Louis Boulle

born Avignon, France: 20 February 1912

died Paris: 30 January 1994

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