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Top Customer Reviews
When things military come into Russell's tales, they tend to draw upon his personal experience from WW2, and "Wasp" is no exception. Based on proposals from Russell's time with British Intelligence in the Pacific theatre, it is the story of one man against an Empire - a solitary agent sent into the heart of enemy territory to cause chaos and mayhem out of all proportion to his resources.
James Mowry is the typical Russell hero, a solitary type not over-fond of authority, but who would, in his own words "rather walk into something than be frogmarched into it" and will, if absolutely cornered, acknowledge that some kinds of authority are a good deal nastier than others. He finds himself cordially invited to take part in just such a conflict to "defend the bad against the worse", between Terra and the Sirian Combine, a futuristic version of the Japanese Empire of 1942, which it resembles right down to the name of its secret police. He is dropped in (surgically disguised to resemble a Sirian) entirely on his ownsome, his assignment being to create, single-handed, the appearance of a powerful resistance movement. This he does to spectacular effect, causing the enemy to tie up whole shiploads of troops and agents to suppress a movement that in fact is only one man.
There is room for a quibble or two.Read more ›
"Wasp" is a portrayal of how devastating a single, well-equipped terrorist can be to a society (especially a technology-based one). Though the society targeted in this novel is (humanoid) alien and the terrorist a human patriot (albeit not entirely willing) passing as an alien with the help of some surgical modifications, it is entirely believable that the author drew upon human social conditions, especially our foibles and weaknesses, as the basis for this alien society.
Using an insidious "monkey wrench" approach, one individual (suborning marginal elements of the enemy society for use as unwitting accomplices) spreads dissention and disinformation and fear, and so distracts the enemy police and military that the result is the creation of an environment in which the society can be more easily subdued with an overt military invasion.Read more ›
Although set in a future a few centuries ahead, when Earth is at war with the Sirian Combine, Wasp is directly transplanted from conventional warfare of the Second World War era. Indeed, I don't know why it took so long to dawn on me that the Sirians are analogues of the Japanese, while the noble Earthmen are essentially 1950s Americans. Oh sure, the Sirians are purple instead of yellow - but they are short, bandy-legged, and fanatical. To clinch it, their dreaded secret police is called the Kaitempi: compare the actual Japanese Kampeitei.
The Sirians have a great advantage in numbers, but the Earthmen are smarter. How to make the most of their quicker wits and superior technology? One way is to drop secret agents behind enemy lines to sow confusion, dissension and destruction. The result is dramatic, convincing and (in parts) riotously funny.
WASP is a short, simply written book, but it has some quality that makes people mad for it. I think it is the sardonic omniscient voice that adds so much to the flavor of WASP: the voice of the Author himself.
A new edition was published not long ago that was completely unabridged. I felt the slightly abridged version read better (It's always good to cut out the fancy talk.). But I may just be used to the same slightly shorter edition most people have read.
If you want a guaranteed fascinating read (and be swept away on wings of reading enjoyment!), buy this book now. Be forewarned, however, that some might say it kind of glorifies terrorism.
Most recent customer reviews
One of my all-time favourite stories. Guerrilla warfare at its finest!Published 4 months ago by Dale Marcellus
I read this book way back when I was a teenager. I loved it then and it is just as well written and exciting as it was then. Read morePublished on Dec 4 2013 by pipersnakis
This book is a classic, quite old but an exciting well told story never goes out of style. This is dubbed science fiction but it does not resemble most science fiction, just a good... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2011 by lookingforgoodbooks
Basically he gave the idea, of 1 man making a difference, through non-violent means.
The concept of the Wasp, is to annoy the enemy to the point of distraction. Read more
WASP was probably my first SF novel read, and it along with MISSION OF GRAVITY by Hal Clement hooked me for life. Read morePublished on July 27 2000 by Mike Farris
Really, this underrated classic is more of a spy story than sci-fi. It deals with Earth having to fight a protracted interstellar war with a humanoid civilization in the Sirian... Read morePublished on July 17 2000 by R. L. MILLER
I read this book in the early 60's. I promised myself I would never forget the title so as to read it again as soon as I found a copy. I'm still waiting . Read morePublished on Jan. 30 2000 by Alfonso Ruiz-Fernandez
I first read this book in early 60s and have reread it a few times since. It is a timeless story of how one man, with some essential supplies, can disrupt a whole world. Read morePublished on Nov. 8 1999 by Lawrence J. Murray
This rather hard to find little book is a true classic. You'll need to get past the first few paragraphs where it seems that the author is in fact a 14 year-old... Read morePublished on June 30 1999