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"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 (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".
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.
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
_Wasp_ (1957) is the sort of novel that John W. Campbell, Jr. loved to publish and which Eric frank Russell wrote so well, though it never actually appeared in the pages of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Paul Camp
I read this book first, when I was a cheerfully antisocial 14 year old. Loved it.This yarn about a single man in the far future,
bringing down the government of a planet is... Read more
I read this a long time ago and just re-read it again. I enjoyed more when I was younger, dated.Published 1 month ago by Brian
A repurchase of a book I read long ago, loved the first time, enjoyed again.Published 2 months ago by J. Hill
This is possibly the first book delving into Government operated Terrorism as a tool of war!Published 3 months ago by Harold Huff
MY FAVORITE BOOK OF ALL EVEN THOUGH YOU'RE ROOTING FOR A TERRORIST.Published 3 months ago by Thomas H. Cole