Tor.com Goes Ape!

Missing Links: 5 Cinematic Simians in Science Fiction

Though the Planet of the Apes series dominates in the category of sci-fi simians, there are of course a whole shrewdness of apes and barrel of monkeys in other science fictional films. And because there is also cartload of chimpanzees, a band of gorillas, and a buffoonery of orangutans out there, I decided to pick my personal top 5. Please chime in with your own favorite science fiction simians!

King Kong

If you haven’t seen the original Kong in awhile, do so now. The meta-fictional aspect of a movie being made within this movie makes the narrative so much smarter than a casual viewer might realize. Is Kong science fiction? You bet. Anybody who occupies a lost island full of dinosaurs is science fiction in my book.

Amy the Gorilla and the carnivorous gorillas from Congo

Most people hate this movie, but I sort of like it. The idea of straight up killing, carnivorous gorillas is actually pretty terrifying if you view this as a horror/sci-fi movie. Plus the talking ape Amy who communicates through a Stephen Hawking device is actually pretty cute. A controversial choice, I know, but there it is.

Monkeys from 2001

Though these guys aren’t intelligent, they do jump around in what is perhaps the most famous opening to a science fiction film ever. I mean what would you do if you were putting a giant black space monolith in the opening sequences of your movie? Obviously, surround it with monkeys.

Mona from Robinson Crusoe on Mars

 

As a child, my father was constantly telling me what constituted a “real” science fiction film, and frequently he would cite Robinson Crusoe on Mars as the standard. The fact that Adam West is in the movie does it nothing but favors, but Mona the Monkey is the true star of this film. What is it about primates in space suits that we love so much?

Curious George Goes to Space

 

What is science fictional about Curious George you ask? Is it the fact that he went into space at some point? Yes, but more about something else. It’s all about the man with the yellow hat. Come on, do you think he could actually exist in real society? What’s under the yellow hat? Obviously it’s some kind of brain antenna that Curious George is linked to telepathically that gets the man in the yellow hat to do his bidding. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it empowered the monkey.

All right readers. What about you? Tell us your favorite science fiction primates!


Ryan Britt is a staff writer for Tor.com. He is typing the post with his feet.

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