Authors: Michael Avallone
BENEATH THE PLANET
OF THE APES
. . . in the buried ruins of what was once New York City, lived an incredible race of men, mutated beyond belief by the effects of the ancient Holocaust.
. . . in the ashes of atomic dust, chimpanzees picketed for peace while their gorilla leaders prepared for war.
. . . where a great church once shone in the sunlight, dark religious ceremonies paid tribute to the Great Bomb, bringer of life and death.
This is the Earth, thousands of years from now, and this the story of two men from the 20th century who somersaulted through a time warp into the most plausible and yet most fantastic adventure ever conceived.
20th Century-Fox Presents
An Arthur P. Jacobs Production
BENEATH THE PLANET
OF THE APES
JAMES FRANCISCUS • KIM HUNTER
MAURICE EVANS • LINDA HARRISON
PAUL RICHARDS • VICTOR BUONO
JAMES GREGORY • JEFF COREY
NATALIE TRUNDY • THOMAS GOMEZ
PAUL DEHN and
Based upon Characters Created by
BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES
A Bantam Book / published July 1970
All rights reserved
Copyright © 1970 by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation.
This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part by
mimeograph or any other means, without permission.
For information address: Bantam Books, Inc.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
For Pierre Boulle
for his two very important
contributions to the arts of
Literature and Film—
The Bridge Over The River Kwai
Planet Of The Apes.
Total, glaring, absolute.
Ageless, perpetual silence. Eternal solitude. Only the piercing whine of the dry nameless wind blowing in from a distantly heard sea.
Desolation. A universe of nakedness and nil.
Utter, supreme. Everlasting.
Nothing of Life. Only the unrelenting deathly stillness. The infinity of zero, emptiness, nothingness.
This is the planet where Man has lost his supreme position in the scheme of things. Listen to the Wind.
If it could speak, it would tell you of Taylor. The man, the scientist, the space-explorer. The scorching, chilling breath of the wind’s passage would carry the terrible tale to the walls of Infinity, down the endless corridors of that vast timelessness which seems to be the core of the land itself . . .
Listen, the Wind . . .
“This is the truth eternal: whatever thinks, can speak, And whatever speaks can murder,
“But what is there to murder in this dead place?”
There is no answer for the Wind.
“When the astronaut, Taylor, came first among us from a voyage in outermost space, he perceived that his ship had passed through a fold in the Fourth Dimension, which is Time. And Taylor knew that he was older than when his journey had begun . . . by two thousand years and ten.”
The Wind whines higher and louder, scoring eerily over a dead landscape. Weird lambent lights suffuse the terrain. There is a vast unearthly brilliance invested in a panorama of Nothingness.
“But in the first days he did not know the name of the planet on which he had set foot—where Apes, risen to great estate, had acquired the power of tongues, while Man, fallen from his zenith to become a beast of the earth, had lost the means of speech, and was dumb . . .”
The dead sands remained unmoving, the wind prowled over the monolithic expanse of desert-like desolation. And isolation. The unknown lights bathed the wasteland with a dull, inflexible glow.
“Now Taylor hated war. And since Man had made war upon himself—murdered himself—over and over again, ever since the first town was built and burned and bloodied—Taylor believed that the race of Man was hopeless
A Dead Sea. Dead like the Dead Land.
The wind stole quietly over the still, stagnant, murky waters.
“Yet the great Apes were hardly better. They put Taylor in a cage as they had once been caged. When he and his woman escaped from the City of the Apes into the wilderness called the Forbidden Zone . . . he found a desert land of rock and stone. Barren, unfruitful, devoid of life and eternally laid waste by Man’s vilest war in Man’s history. And in this wilderness, Taylor set eyes upon the Statue . . .”
A statue with spikes.
A stone lady, gazing out over the limitless endless acres of sand. Oblivious to the mean waves lapping at her copper-lined bosom. A Colossus, with upstretched arm, bearing aloft a torch that had lost all its meaning. All its truth. All its light.
A long-dead lady of stone eyes, stone ears and stone senses—whose only companion for an eon had been—
“. . .
and Taylor knew he was back on Earth . . . an Earth defiled and destroyed by the hand of Man. Set this down: whatever speaks, can murder
And Taylor, sliding down from the back of his horse, with the savage woman Nova also dismounting, staggered toward the gigantic spikes upthrusting from the cruel sand and blurted his cry of agony to the unheeding skies all around them: “
Goddamn you all to hell!”
Falling to his torn knees, he buried his head in his hands. Sobs racked his tall, magnificent figure. Nova watched and listened in dumb incomprehension. The dead landscape remained mute.
The Statue of Liberty could not hear Taylor weeping.
Stone has no heart.
It does not even hear the wind.
Taylor and the girl, Nova, departed wearily from the staggering spectacle before them. Behind them, the half-buried statue of Miss Liberty beckoned mutely from her sandy grave. The dead waters lapped pitifully at her stone shoulders and obsidian face.
Taylor’s mind reeled.
He was rendered incapable of any thought but that of the greatest wonder.
The scientist in him was mocked.
The space-explorer in him was confounded.
The man in him was brutally stunned.
The nameless planet, ruled by a hierarchy of intelligent apes was
This Planet Earth!
Or rather, more bizarrely, more fittingly, what was left of it.
His own imagination, his own instincts and senses, boggled before the import of what he had seen. What he now knew for an unalterable fact. The world as he had known it, when he had left Earth for outer space with his three fellow scientists, was now a madhouse. A mathematical equation of unequivocal madness and nonsense.
Even as he wandered futilely across the arid desert stretches of this monumental Nowhere, with Nova limply and stickily plastered to his back astride the poor, tired horse, he tried to sort out the memories and experiences of the most recent past.
How long ago had it been that he and the three others, one of them a woman, had lost their way in limitless space and come down on this alien soil in their ailing spacecraft? Time and torture at the hands of the militant apes had robbed Taylor of his ability to think. Now he could not even remember the names of his space comrades. All he could recall was the terrible incident of landing. The woman had been dead, on first contact with the terrain. It was not the physical hardship of a crash landing but the inherent qualities of the flight itself. All four astronauts, through some intricate process aboard the spacecraft, had aged eighteen months in a time lapse of 2000 years from Earth. Being female, the woman had not survived the flight. Taylor and the two men had swum for shore, reaching a wasteland of Arizona-like proportions. All brown dry earth and long shelves of rock stretching as far as the eye could see. It was then that the men from Earth reached some form of vegetation in their aimless wanderings and encountered the horde of filthy, unkempt, savage, barbaric humans who had lost the power of speech—if they had ever had it. Nova had been one of them. A long-haired, wild-eyed beauty who could do no more than look at you with her eyes to convey her meaning. Someone you had to teach how to smile!
Then, sweeping down through the bushes and the trees, had come the cavalry of apes. Leather-jacketed, truncheon-wielding, rifle-shooting gorillas. The barbaric whites had tried to run; Taylor and his two comrades among them. Terrified, speechless with horror. With whips, nets and hooks, the militia of gorillas had rounded them all up, killing those who dared to fight back. One of Taylor’s crew died in the attack. But the worst part of the whole bloody nightmare was what followed.
Taylor found himself led to a complex. An area of stone warrens, of houses and cages, where the ape was the ruler of all that was left of the civilization on this planet. It was a simian state, ruled by a kingdom of gorillas, with chimpanzees and orangutans serving as medical men. Of the remaining two astronauts, one was lobotomized and converted into an unthinking vegetable. For Taylor, the simian rulers decreed emasculation and a brainwashing which would eradicate his memory. But with the help of chimpanzee scientists, who felt the ape autocracy was far from a benevolent one, Taylor had made his escape. With Nova. A doglike, mute love had sprung up between them because the girl could not speak. Might never speak though Taylor had tried to teach her.
And now that he had found his way into the Forbidden Zone, leaving his tormentors God knew how far behind, Taylor could still remember the unbelievable aura and reality of the Ape Kingdom. The signs all over the place: THE ALMIGHTY CREATED THE APE IN HIS OWN IMAGE—ONLY HUMANS KILL FOR SPORT, LUST OR GREED . . . HUMAN SEE, HUMAN DO . . . and all those incredible statues and artifacts of ape culture: the hear-no-evil-see-no-evil-speak-no-evil symbol; the mother gorilla holding a baby ape in her arms like Michelangelo’s
the whole abominable concept of Ape as Human Being!
Yes, Taylor remembered that much.
The shock might never wear off.
With humans in cages, people being whipped and driven, the race of mankind lorded and ruled by a panel of intellectual apes who had revised the entire scheme of the order of heredity and nature. It was something that would haunt whatever was left of his own life . . .