The Hamfist Trilogy is a compilation of Three Books in a series about a Flight Lt. In Conflict-Era Viet Nam. Military/Adventure action type stuff. It was written by G. E. Nolly.
Why I Picked It Up
I saw it in a tweet by one of those twiddlers I follow (@IndieAuthorNews or @Indie_promotor–both great twiddlers to follow!) and it sounded different. I don’t read much military fiction, and I CERTAINLY don’t see much stuff about the Viet Nam Conflict, so I wanted to check it out.
What I Like About It
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s different from most things I read. The book opens with our MC, a pilot, noticing his ‘Engine Fire’ light is on—that’s a pretty good hook!—then we segue into life as a pilot and our next few hooks: Despite being the top of his class, he’s NOT getting a fighter assignment AND he is informed that, on his current non-fighter aircraft assignment, he WILL be captured by Charlie.
Ok, I’m reading it! It’s not edge of your seat stuff yet, but the thing I really like about it is the level of detail involved in the AirForce world of the late sixties—serveral models of actual planes are referenced and utilized (Our MC gets assigned an O-2A), in addition to the training, weapons, munitions, and etc. that make up this world—it’s clear our author knows of these things firsthand.
What Could Be Better, If Anything
The book’s big on worldbuilding and the plot moves quickly, but it’s light in two areas: Imagery and character. We have a good MC who’s relatable, likeable, and fun to root for. But that’s pretty much it—most of the action is inside his head. There are a few other characters, but he leaves them behind early on in the story. I’m hoping there will be a few more later.
Moving on, the single most noticeable “could be better” of this book is the TELL v. SHOW of the narration.
Now granted, to be SHOWN the level of detail of 60’s AirForce life Nolly gives us would be incredibly boring and time consuming, and ultimately detract from the narrative. At the same time, a happy balance should be striven for in all literary pursuits and so far Hamfist is about 97% TOLD and I’m already several chapters in.
But I’m still reading it. And I think the answer is thus: the level of TELLING narrative makes it read like an old man’s war-story. And those are awesome! Who doesn’t like listening to Great-Grandad’s WWII tales, huh? Because of the ‘oral war tale’ vibe the narrative style lends, I think Hamfist wierdly makes it work—it creates an atmosphere and we could never have had that level of worldbuilding in such a short space with a more SHOW-y narrative.
So as always, check it out for yourself! It’s about five bucks on Smashwords. If I read to the end, I’ll post a follow up, so keep checking back!
Have you read, wanted to read (or written) Hamfist? Then leave me a comment!