Mack Maloney’s Wingman kicks off a post-apocalyptic fighter pilot series that is pure undistilled, full-strength, high-dose 80s ridiculous fun. I was reminded of everything from Iron Eagle to Area 88 to just goofing off in the Command: Modern Air/Naval Operations scenario editor.
Who and What
Wingman is the story of Hawker Hunter (the name is not a coincidence), a fighter pilot who flies in the shattered remnants of the US after an apocalyptic third world war. It is the story of his super F-16. It is the story of Hunter fighting lots and lots and lots of stock 1980s Post-Apocalyptic Bandits and enemy fighter aircraft of both western and eastern design. It is the story of Hunter bedding beautiful woman after beautiful woman. It is the story of Hunter going to various theme park apocalypse cities and places.
It moves very well and has all the characterization you’d expect from a cheap thriller. And that’s all it needs.
DEEP HISTORY OF TEM
The infodumps are there, but they don’t really feel like that much of a burden. The book flows very breezily, and it feels like everything is part of the fun. I feel obligated to say that a lot of technical description is (brace yourself) not the most realistically accurate.
If you have strenuous objections to this, please do not read the book. Otherwise, enjoy how an F-16 equipped with six 20mm Vulcans and ship-busting Sidewinders can blast its way through the competition.
It would be easier to say “what did the zombie sorceresses not have to set up?” when describing the plot of this book. Most of the aircraft in this book have the same names as historical ones, and that’s about it.
It’s crazy. But it’s a good type of crazy.
With the exception of a clunky out-of-the-cockpit action scene in the middle of the book, the action is ridiculously over the top and well-done. Yes, it’s as out-there as everything else, but it’s fast and novel.
The Only Score That Really Matters
This is one of the most fun cheap thrillers I’ve read in a while. I highly, highly, highly recommend it.