The Wasp Factory

I have in the last few days finished reading Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory, and find myself itching to talk about it. This deeply demented little novel was published nearly 20 years ago, but just fell into my path recently. I need advice from Banks fans — where to from here?

I’m also sort of wondering whether I’m a complete idiot for not having seen the ending coming. I mean, I knew something was up — it was all just a little too pointedly odd — but I didn’t know what. And once I read the end, it all seemed so obvious that I was stunned I hadn’t been painfully aware of the truth about Frank all along.

For those of you who haven’t read the novel, I’m working really hard here on not giving it away. But go read it, quick, and come back and talk to me. I’ll be waiting.


  1. What a great, strange little read. I found it a couple of years ago just browsing in a bookstore.

    But I haven’t read anything else by the guy either.

  2. I love his SciFi, personally. “Against A Dark Background” has that same kind of WHAM! ending, I think, at least. Most of the rest of his SciFi is in the “Culture Universe” and it’s very left leaning, militantly utopian Space Opera. Quite good.

    For his more “mainstream” fiction, read the Business, or the Bridge. Most of his fiction fiction still uses ideas or techniques taken from SciFi, just it’s not so nearly overt.

    Great author. The Wasp Factory turned my mind inside out.

  3. arrggh, this book is horrific and disgusting, and a mans book really. But it was so compelling all the same, even when it was at it’s most disgusting, and I wanted to give up, something made me laugh, so I didn’t give up. Eric seems a really likeable character, and Frank . . . well, without him there would be no book.

  4. i think this book rocks i was told 2 read it by my grandad and fell in love whith it i just love the way he can talk about death and killing people whith out any emotion at all and how hes always in his own little world

    p.s i do not find the book scary just really cool

  5. i’m currently studying the wasp factory for a’level coursework. i think the book id fascinating although obviously unpleasant to say the least. if anyone has any intelligent comments about it for me 😀

  6. I studied this last year for my AS english lang lit and so i could help you with a few things.

    one of the main themes of the book is of course death, but you’ll need to decide your opinion of how the book handles death and how frank sees death. Another interesting point is the relation between man and nature and franks views on this, is frank against nature? Does he/she see it as there enemy, rival, better or equal. Plus the book is very contradictive of itself which can be argued as because it is written in the first person and people as a whole are very contradictive.

    Hope that makes sense, i’m taking an exam on this tomorrow so i hope i know it fairly well!!

  7. this is a great novel.i found it, tattered and torn, discarded in the back of a closet and literally read it in 2 days as i found it so compelling.The chapter with what happened to Eric was particularly disturbing and put me off food for like a week-loved every sentence and now reading another classic,notorious novel-the catcher in the rye

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