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Wasp Paperback – Bargain Price, November 30, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0575070951
  • ASIN: B000I5YUMG
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.8 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,555,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Eric Frank Russell (1905-1978) was the first British writer to contribute regularly to Astounding and his first story, 'The Saga of Pelican West' appeared in that magazine in 1937. His novels include Sentinels from Space, Sinister Barrier and Three to Conquer and his short fiction has appeared in a number of collections. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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I read this book, in paperback, over 50 years ago.
alan casanova
Basically one WASP will simulate an entire subversive underground, thereby diverting the Sirians from fighting Earth to fighting a phantom underground army.
Roger J. Buffington
It is the first science fiction book I ever read and I have been addicted ever since.
Kirk Laird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Donald O. Capstick on November 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
As a teenaged devotee of Sci-Fi in the late 50's, this was one of the first of a select list of books of any genre that impacted my life. I didn't fully understand why this was so then; I only knew it was special, even tremendously relevant at some fundamental level. At the time, yes, it completely entertained me with its action and its sardonic and irreverent narrative. Beyond that, the precepts of this novel created an unease in my mind that remained with me over the years. Full comprehension followed with a little more life experience and a better understanding of humanity and our history. Now this book not only entertains and intrigues, but frightens as well
"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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh on July 24, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Since I first read it (and Russell's other brilliant books such as Men, Martians and Machines and Three to Conquer) in my early teens, I have regarded Wasp as one of the true SF classics. It ranks with Bester's The Demolished Man and Tiger! Tiger!, as well as the best of Clarke and Heinlein, although its sardonic tone has more in common with Robert Sheckley.

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 (as stereotyped by many Americans in the immediate aftermath of WW2), while the noble Earthmen are essentially 1950s Americans (as stereotyped by themselves). 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. Some of the dialog stays with you for life, such as this immortal parody of a government communique: "For months we have been making triumphant retreats before a demoralised enemy who is advancing in utter disorder".
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on August 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read WASP years and years ago. Bought a copy and every so often I reread it. It is a simple book, simply written but I do feel it is one of the best SiFi books to come along in the past 30 years. Sometimes simple is simply the best. The entire book can easly be read in one setting and it is a delight. I do hope that the next generation of readers discover this one as they will be missing something quite delightful if they don't.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Harrison on August 15, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a classic in the sense that it is timeless. If you wnat to know how to disrupt a society, then this book is a text book. If you want to know how not to respond to such an attack, which is in many ways remarkably similar to that that took place in New York City on 9/11/01, then this is your book.
The idea of such warfare is to provoke a disporportionate reaction, wildly disproportionate if at all possible.
It is also a very fun read. Great book. Very perceptive.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 10, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book when I was eleven or so and have spent the rest of my reading life in search of something that fascinated me more. Tolkien's was the only fiction that may have done so, but it is, of course, nothing like Wasp.
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.
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