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The war had been going on for nearly a year and the Sirian Empire had a huge advantage in personnel and equipment. Earth needed an edge. Which was where James Mowry came in. If a small insect buzzing around in a car could so distract the driver as to cause that vehicle to crash, think what havoc one properly trained operative could wreak on an unuspecting enemy. Intensively trained, his appearance surgically altered, James Mowry is landed on Jaimec, the ninety-fourth planet of the Sirian Empire. His mission is simple: sap morale, cause mayhem, tie up resources, wage a one-man war on a planet of eighty million. In short, be a wasp. First published in 1957, WASP is generally regarded as Eric Frank Russell's best novel, a witty and exciting account of a covert war in the heart of enemy territory.

Topics: Aliens and Spies

Published: Summersdale Publishers Ltd an imprint of Vearsa Limited on Nov 10, 2007
ISBN: 9781848393202
List price: $13.99
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Under the right circumstances, totally innocent happenings can have effects far in excess of the original event. For instance, consider a prisoner escaping from jail. He will singlehandedly tie up hundreds of police and prison personnel, plus police cars, helicopters and who knows what else, for hours or days. Consider a wasp or bee. It flies into a car and, buzzing around, can cause the driver to lose control and crash. Taking things one step further, it is possible for one person to bring down a government.Human James Mowry is recruited to be such a person. Foe the previous 10 months, Earth has been at war with the Sirian Combine. It's pretty much of a stalemate; the war has yet to reach Earth. The Earth authorities know that such a state of affairs will not last forever, since the Combine outnumbers Earth in several vital areas. Mowry is one of a number of "wasps" placed on planets in the Combine, one per planet, to disrupt the Sirian war effort from the inside.The planet Jaimec is full of humanoids with purple skin. It helps that Mowry was actually born there, so he has the accent all set. It's also a police state, a place of informants, patrols and sudden police searches in public. Mowry must change identities, and locations, every few days, in order to keep away from the kaitempi, the interrogators. The only way to not give information to the kaitempi is to be dead. Mowry spends his time putting stickers all over the town in which he is staying, talking about the Sirian Freedom Party (which, of course, doesn't exist). There is the occasional political assassination; boxes are sent to various leading officials, containing inexpensive clocks and wires. The recipients are left with the unmistakable impression that it could very easily have been a bomb.As time goes on, Mowry begins to have an effect on the population. At first, he is ignored, then notices reach the official press about members and leaders of the Party being arrested and executed. Blurbs also reach the Jaimec press about this planet or that planet being abandoned for "strategic" reasons. Also, the enemy (Human) fleet is either severly damaged, decimated, or wiped out, seemingly every week (according to the official press). Then, Mowry gets the word that the official attack from Earth is coming, to end the war, once and for all.This book is pretty good. It has a very interesting central premise, it has plenty of action, and it will keep the reader entertained. It's worth reading.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
James Mowry, whose body structure kind of matches that of Sirians, an alien race humanity is waging war against, is sent to infiltrate the Sirian totalitarian society and cause trouble. He is a Wasp - a saboteur, who, like a tiny wasp that can harass a driver of a gigantic truck to make them drive off the road, can cause lots of damage with minimum effort. He achieves this by assassinating a few key people and attributing this to an entirely fictional anti-war terrorist organisation, "Dirac Angestun Gesept" or "Sirian Freedom Party", then just sowing other kinds of seeds of dissent while dodging the dreaded Kaitempi, the Sirian secret police.Wasp is a rousing, humorous 1950s scifi adventure, with *strangely* out of place and interesting psychological ponderings. Specifically, it's a great study of how masses of people *actually* behave when there's a great big looming terrorist threat out there. I always get the feeling that this book lacks some substance - it feels kind of short. It also feels that the book is just parodying the real-world totalitarianism while the topic was still current in post-war years - it's not exactly a remarkable book in scifi world-building sense, the story might have been as well set in Earth. But what it *has* is quite incredible. It's loads of fun. It really makes you think what makes people tick and why society fails to address all sorts of disruptive crimes when the authorities are claiming every possible step is being taken.[Originally posted by me to Goodreads. Edited a bit since.]read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A wonderful combination of science fiction and humour.Picture one man that is planted on a hostile planent, sent out to wreak havoc , like a wee wasp that might kill a car driver just by buzzing around his head.James Mowry has been chosen to be just such a wasp.His ingenuety eventually totally breaks down said hostile planet, and the process is hilarious to read.Yet another great Eric Frank Russell!!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

Under the right circumstances, totally innocent happenings can have effects far in excess of the original event. For instance, consider a prisoner escaping from jail. He will singlehandedly tie up hundreds of police and prison personnel, plus police cars, helicopters and who knows what else, for hours or days. Consider a wasp or bee. It flies into a car and, buzzing around, can cause the driver to lose control and crash. Taking things one step further, it is possible for one person to bring down a government.Human James Mowry is recruited to be such a person. Foe the previous 10 months, Earth has been at war with the Sirian Combine. It's pretty much of a stalemate; the war has yet to reach Earth. The Earth authorities know that such a state of affairs will not last forever, since the Combine outnumbers Earth in several vital areas. Mowry is one of a number of "wasps" placed on planets in the Combine, one per planet, to disrupt the Sirian war effort from the inside.The planet Jaimec is full of humanoids with purple skin. It helps that Mowry was actually born there, so he has the accent all set. It's also a police state, a place of informants, patrols and sudden police searches in public. Mowry must change identities, and locations, every few days, in order to keep away from the kaitempi, the interrogators. The only way to not give information to the kaitempi is to be dead. Mowry spends his time putting stickers all over the town in which he is staying, talking about the Sirian Freedom Party (which, of course, doesn't exist). There is the occasional political assassination; boxes are sent to various leading officials, containing inexpensive clocks and wires. The recipients are left with the unmistakable impression that it could very easily have been a bomb.As time goes on, Mowry begins to have an effect on the population. At first, he is ignored, then notices reach the official press about members and leaders of the Party being arrested and executed. Blurbs also reach the Jaimec press about this planet or that planet being abandoned for "strategic" reasons. Also, the enemy (Human) fleet is either severly damaged, decimated, or wiped out, seemingly every week (according to the official press). Then, Mowry gets the word that the official attack from Earth is coming, to end the war, once and for all.This book is pretty good. It has a very interesting central premise, it has plenty of action, and it will keep the reader entertained. It's worth reading.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
James Mowry, whose body structure kind of matches that of Sirians, an alien race humanity is waging war against, is sent to infiltrate the Sirian totalitarian society and cause trouble. He is a Wasp - a saboteur, who, like a tiny wasp that can harass a driver of a gigantic truck to make them drive off the road, can cause lots of damage with minimum effort. He achieves this by assassinating a few key people and attributing this to an entirely fictional anti-war terrorist organisation, "Dirac Angestun Gesept" or "Sirian Freedom Party", then just sowing other kinds of seeds of dissent while dodging the dreaded Kaitempi, the Sirian secret police.Wasp is a rousing, humorous 1950s scifi adventure, with *strangely* out of place and interesting psychological ponderings. Specifically, it's a great study of how masses of people *actually* behave when there's a great big looming terrorist threat out there. I always get the feeling that this book lacks some substance - it feels kind of short. It also feels that the book is just parodying the real-world totalitarianism while the topic was still current in post-war years - it's not exactly a remarkable book in scifi world-building sense, the story might have been as well set in Earth. But what it *has* is quite incredible. It's loads of fun. It really makes you think what makes people tick and why society fails to address all sorts of disruptive crimes when the authorities are claiming every possible step is being taken.[Originally posted by me to Goodreads. Edited a bit since.]
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A wonderful combination of science fiction and humour.Picture one man that is planted on a hostile planent, sent out to wreak havoc , like a wee wasp that might kill a car driver just by buzzing around his head.James Mowry has been chosen to be just such a wasp.His ingenuety eventually totally breaks down said hostile planet, and the process is hilarious to read.Yet another great Eric Frank Russell!!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Read this book in HS. Fantastic! Clever and complex plot, ingenious trickery from the secret agent, and the humans win in the end. What more could you ask for?
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One of the all time fun books to read. Why has this never been made into a movie? It would be perfect.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
A classic tale of spy and counter spy set against the backdrop of a galatic war. The protagonist is sent to work under cover on an alien planet. Using all techniques of psychological terrorism, he strikes at the heart of the enemy
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