The Wasp Factory

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Author: Iain Banks
Publisher: Grand Central Pub (1986)
Binding: Paperback, pages

I've given this 5 stars because though its content at times is stomach churning, sick making and repulsive, it is nevertheless an exceptional book. It is the story of Frank who lives with his father on a small island in Scotland. Living according to his self created mythology of protection which includes the regular sacrifice of small animals in imaginatively cruel and vile ways. Several times I put the book down, resolving not to read any further. The attack on the rabbits with a flame thrower and the burning dogs were the worst parts for me.

However, Banks drip feeds the story in such a way that I simply had to know how and what murders Frank had committed. I needed to know what had happened to Eric, Frank's brother to drive him insane, what was Frank's 'little accident' and what was the Wasp Factory?

Frank tells his story in a straightforward and honest way and gives his reasons for his actions, all of which do have a form of logic behind them. He's not just a nasty boy pulling legs off a spider. He's altogether more complicated.

Fortunately, the horror isn't unrelenting and the breaks which can be darkly funny and interesting give the reader a chance to recover and regroup before the next onslaught.

I'm glad to say that the book delivers answers to all those questions which kept me reading and the ending is a complete bombshell well worth waiting for. I'm loath to say I enjoyed it. I'm glad I read it, though I don't think I'll be reading it again.

Comments

Re: The Wasp Factory

"Ill conceived and done better by many more before and made into geat films, of that genre, after."

Can you give us some specific examples?

Re: The Wasp Factory

A Pile Of Shite! Ill conceived and done better by many more before and made into geat films, of that genre, after.
The shock value is outpaced by Orwell and out messed up by Alan Moore.
If I'd watched Erasor Head, which I did, I could have wrritten the montage of Kafka and Lynch that you so adore! So passionate about this pretentious display of pulp literature am I that I put too many consonants in 'written' and missed one out in 'great'! Don't even go there with the appalling punctuation!

Re: Ahh but "State of the Art"

I do know the difference between the names and the Bridge is a bit close to home though I have glanced through it, have Whit and the The Algebraist and a couple others just not got round to reading them yet but his Whisky one is rather informative.

Ahh but "State of the Art"

Ahh but "State of the Art" is an "M" book. In my opinion they are all good. Have you read the early/mid non"M"s? "The Bridge" & "Walking on Glass" are especially good, "Complicity" & "Whit" are great too.

As for "M" non-Culture books. "Feersum Endjinn" is brilliant, I also enjoyed "The Algebraist". "State of the Art" as short stories I found a bit hit & miss.

___________
Just have fun

State of the Art

State of the Art, not into the Culture ones too much, I don't think the Business is controversial just a good story.

"The Business" really?

"The Business" really? Controvertial choice of later era Banks there. Have you read his early ones too?

___________
Just have fun

Iain's books

My favorite of his fiction is "The Business" where it even owned the Roman Empire for a short while.

5 Stars

I'm glad you gave The Wasp Factory 5 Stars Nurse. Iain Banks is one of my favorite authors (2nd only behind RR himself).

If you enjoyed The Wasp Factory I'd defiantly recommend you try some more Banks (if your only gripe was the general slaughter, his other books aren't quite as twisted, so you'll be fine). His early / mid period books are the best ones, with The Bridge being my favorite. He also writes SF books as Iain "M" Banks, which are all excellent.

The Wasp Factory has just had it's 25th anniversary (which incidently is also the same date as Iain's birthday, he had his 1st book published exactly on his 30th)

The Banksoniain is an excellent little online fanzine, issue #14 looks at the Wasp Factory 25th anniversary, & issue 1 also looked at it. http://www.banksoniain.netfirms.com/

Ohh & here's a map of Frank's Island drawn by Iain himself http://www.djhaddock.plus.com/IMB/TWF-Island-Map.jpg