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Publisher's Summary

Earth is not alone. There is a towering civilization out in the galaxy, far greater than anything we can imagine. But we are isolated from the galaxy...until now.

When a bunch of interstellar scavengers approach Earth intending to abduct a few dozen humans and sell them into slavery in the darkest, they make the mistake of picking on Steve Stuart and his friends, ex-military veterans all. Unprepared for humans who can actually fight, unaware of the true capabilities of their stolen starships, the scavengers rapidly lose control of the ship - and their lives.

To Steve the captured starship represents a great opportunity, one to establish a new civilization away from Earth and its increasingly oppressive bureaucracy. But with the aliens plotting their revenge and human factions suspicious of the new technology, it will be far from easy to create a whole new world....

©2014 Christopher G. Nuttall (P)2016 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    57
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Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    90
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    21
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    20

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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    65
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    72
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THE very beginning to Stocker's Empire's Corps

If you didn't get Nuttall's politics and opinions in The Empire's Corps, you can't miss it in this. Nuttal uses a 2x4 to get it into your head. By the end of the book, you will know where Col. Stalker (Stocker?)'s Empire came from. We sort of knew it anyway, but here's the tale to tell it.

You will learn how the usually exemplary Nuttall feels about politics and politicians, society, the military and U.S. actions in the Middle East, law and justice, and several other things. Even if you agree with him on every point, you will tire of the lectures.

Then there're the problematic literary aspects that detract from your reading enjoyment. Steve's death was absorbed, and they moved on. Later they name a ship after him, but that is about all the emotion invested there. There are some kids among the brothers, but we don't even remember their names, and they never figure into the story. Thank goodness there is tech to take care of them, since the parents are not around. The entire story took place in less than 2 months. Thank goodness the aliens are morons and could easily be overpowered by 3 of 'Murika's finest. And thank goodness the moronic aliens had neural interfacing headbands so our heroes could link to the computer system to run the ship and access all the tech that allows them to accomplish in 45 days what should have taken 10 years.

We who love this genre love references to all our other beloved works, but there are just too, too many references to Star Trek especially, but also Babylon 5, Harry Potter, Atlas Shrugged and more. Naming the moon base Heinlein should have been a grin for us, but it became just another eye roll.

This back story is so childish and amateurish that you'd think Nuttall had written it in high school after having read all the above literature. The only reason any of us will go on to the next volume is to get the history that led to the rise and fall of the Galactic Empire so we can get to the really good stuff in The Empire's Corps. And I guess we end up soundly defeating all the thousands of alien species mentioned in this book, since there are none by Ed Stocker's time.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Carrie
  • Dallas, TX, United States
  • 08-19-16

Mary Sue, we're so lucky we have you.

Luckily for the human race, Steve Protagonist is the one who encounters the aliens and is able to come up with a plan to save us all.

The main character at least does have a bit of an arc. The things that annoyed me the most about him in Chapter 1 are the self-revelations that change his way of thinking (a little) during a few of the Pivotal Conflicts at the end of the book.

Secondary characters change their personalities to fit the story, For example, the wife who is fierce and independent... except when suddenly she's not. The protagonist's children are also very convenient non-entities who disappear entirely for most of the book.

Events happen in far too short of a timeline to seem realistic. Spaceships and tech, sure. Unrealistic human interactions...? Nope.

Oh, well. It's a fun enough romp, I guess.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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Great concept / Hated the prosletyzing

What would have made A Learning Experience, Book 1 better?

I wanted to love it I really did, the concept is awesome. But the endless prosletyzing was exhausting. Everytime I was getting into the story, I was pulled out of it about by the author talking about the MSM, the uslessness of the government, and the rapaciousness of lawyers. Topics I at least sympathize with him on, but MAKE IT INTEGRAL TO THE STORY. Just mentioning the character hated working in medicine because (insert political viewpoint here) is jarring.<br/><br/>Whew. <br/><br/>Sorry about that.

What was most disappointing about Christopher G. Nuttall’s story?

the preaching

42 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Trying so hard to finish

well the whole idea of the story was awesome and I couldn't wait to dig in, then it became very clear very fast that Nuttell was instead of writing a great sci fi novel, he was writing his anti establishment, anti American,anti everything manifesto disguised in a sci-fi story. It just got worst and worst to the point that I could almost picture him just writing away with a pissed off look on his face & it completely took away from what could have been a really fun story. Also, the repetitive he said,she said,Steve said,she said,Steve said... geeze. I'm really dissapointed, I was really looking forward to this story. Do yourself a favor & skip to last chapter & the prologue literally sums up the book without Nuttall's personal gripes,hate & reasons why he lives on an island far from Western ideology. Overall I'm very dissapointed.

37 of 46 people found this review helpful

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Lost Oppertunity

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Mr Nuttall is a powerful storyteller. The narrator has a strong alpha male delivery and I am normally a big fan.The storyline had the opportunity to be insightful on a wide range of current and relevant social, political and science issues. It passed on those opportunities.I would actually like to see this book(series?) researched and rewritten with some depth that would add credibility and dimension to the story. The characters must have real struggles and more complex emotions than are expressed. The science for what they are doing has a lot of interesting nuance, drama and history. The backdrop of a citizenry defined by a long series of wars in foreign lands would be compelling. Those intrigues combined with the exploration of the wide disparities in experience between rural and urban America would make this book award winning. That dichotomy of urban versus rural or the impacts of culture and politics in a dense population(like in space) or a dispersed population seems to particular relevant for this work of fiction.

Any additional comments?

If this book was a dinner it was boiled with no seasoning, herbs or spices... Since I like meat and potato I would eat it but be looking for the salt the whole time.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

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Had to return it. Could not finish.

What would have made A Learning Experience, Book 1 better?

This was just so mixed with political and government hate that it got ridiculous. It was just so over the top.

Has A Learning Experience, Book 1 turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. I actually like many of Nuttall books.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

It felt like he was in a race to finish. Not a presentation I could listen to for long.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I felt the under lying story was a decent concept.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Almost a good start on a new series

If you don't want to listen to propaganda on how all conservative and libertarian ideas are good and all liberal and progressive ideas are bad made up by little sexless assholes, don't buy this one. I have listened to all of his books on Audible and I like all of them, solid 4.5s, but the presidential election year must have filled his brain. I do have to say my eye's are at full fitness from all the eye-rolls at the bursts of self contradictory crap.

Once you get by the self-important insights into philosophy, he does a good job of developing his characters and the overall setting. It's easy to accept and follow. It is about the Earth at the very door step of interstellar flight and the choices and the precipice before us with aliens all around us and a slippery road ahead. In this case there are some not-so-diabolical crab aliens, but they are well drawn if a bit sketchy, too.

I plan to listen to the next one, too. I am just hoping he has his tv off and does explode with a conservative/libertarian orgasm of words. (Okay, I stole that last bit from this book.) Nuttall lke Heinlein are at their worst when they are preachy. On the other hand, if he doesn't get bogged down he writes well craft, fast paced books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Politics in Space (Libertarian style)

This book was not what I was expecting, I am used to a conservative viewpoint with a Libertarian bend in military Sci Fi. From Heinlein to Ringo (nice Maple syrup reference in the book) even L. Neil Smith, This book read more like world building with a few characters thrown in for fun. An occasional political rant is expected, but the space battles are described in a paragraph with pages and pages going to establishing the underlying politics. Bring on the Space Battles! They appear with the space marines in the second book. Hang in there it gets more space opera.

On the positive, the world is interesting and the with a few interesting characters, and the exploration of the problems in implementing a libertarian world is fascinating. Whenever I find myself talking back to the book I know that I am engaged.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Libertarians take over the universe

What did you like best about A Learning Experience, Book 1? What did you like least?

It was interesting to see a sci-fi story told from such an extreme libertarian point of view. Though I found many viewpoints grating ("ethnic" entitlement, women studies, health care), preposterous (collusion between environmentalist and oil producers), and condescending (gun rights, Edward Snowden, muslim countries is general), they weren't actually a big part of the story and the author seems to be socially liberal (gay marriage), and in spite of enormous moral blind spots, could actually hold balanced opinions on many issues.<br/><br/>So what happens if a bunch of ex-servicemen find all the technology to actually create their libertarian utopia? Certainly not a whole bunch of realistic stuff. Nevertheless, I wanted to know the end and, perversely, wanted to see if human reality would knock some sense into them.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

I wish the author had delved a little deeper about the social and political issues that would be big problems in such a gun-totting libertarian society. Every one was a little too agreeable. There was one "right" point of view and anyone with "common sense" agreed with it. Unavoidable, I guess, otherwise the whole society would have collapsed half-way through the book.<br/><br/>There's also the fact that they get a machine that can almost instantly heal anything at apparently no cost, but then set-up a system that only rich people can afford, 'cause, you know, socialism is bad.

What about Christian Rummel’s performance did you like?

I liked his strong American accent. Completely appropriate for the characters.

11 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Surprisingly good story and narration

At first, I thought the book was going to suck, as the opening read like a bad episode of star trek next generation, but then it got good, and kept getting better as it went along. I really liked the libertatian bent in style, and the homage to Heinlein!

I will definitely pick up the next in the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim Fitzgerald
  • 09-06-16

Moroninc, red neck dross.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different book.

What was most disappointing about Christopher G. Nuttall’s story?

This is a cringe worthy crawl through a red neck teenager's mind.<br/>Let me count the offences it caused me.<br/>1. It’s full of anti gun control crap.<br/>2. Every leader in the book is male, even the sodding aliens are patriarchal.<br/>3. Brothels seem to be an acceptable solution to calm male troops. Quote "there are plenty of desperate women on Earth" oh that's ok then!<br/>4. Being Islamic or from a country where Islam is predominant is, out of hand, grounds for suspicion.<br/>5. The idiotic idea that all politicians are liars and full of self interest is, again out of hand, bounded about.<br/>6. The idea that all lawyers are evil is given the same childish treatment.<br/>7. The biggest female character is a doctor but not really because all doctors are so terrified of being sued (by the evil lawyers and the evil families of the deceased) that they hate their jobs, so she decided to become a vet! I'm not joking it's really in the book.<br/>8. Anyone who dares to protest about anything is a whiner.<br/>9. The idea of political correctness is made out to be some kind of great evil, dividing society.<br/>10. All forms of law enforcement are nothing but a hindrance to the gun totting good ol boys who make up the main characters.<br/>I could go on, and there is a lot more, but what's the point.<br/>

Which character – as performed by Christian Rummel – was your favourite?

Does it matter, the fact that he managed to keep his voice straight was quite an achievement, unless he came from the same special community as the author. But he did manage to make them all sound a bit stupid which was, in hindsight, genius.

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The actual story wasn't terrible, it got 2 stars for a reason.

Any additional comments?

Please listen to something intelligent, or just take this as the comedy, red-neck, self congratulatory, rubbish it really is.

13 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • C Dunkley
  • 09-21-16

Rednecks in space!

I found the opening scene of country guys from Montana being abducted by aliens initially amusing and initially thought that the story was being told with a heavy dose of irony. It dawned on me that the libertarian and reactionary views being espoused were meant in all seriousness! The narrative took on ridiculous proportions when we were asked to believe that a small group of gung-ho gun-toting guys could capture space ships, establish colonies on the Moon and Mars, defeat the Taliban and contact other galactic species all within the space of a year! I only persisted to the end ( increasingly irritated) because I'd paid for it! I shall not be purchasing the sequel!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • andrew bentley
  • 09-14-16

A morons book.

Couldn't finish it, clearly written by an pro gun American nutter with a limited imagination.

Poorly narrated by a gentleman with a droning voice and difficulties with his pronunciation.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Alexander
  • 10-19-17

Ron Swanson in space but not funny

An interesting idea initially but just far too politically preachy. Very white/male/western orientated with few interesting characters. The main characters are so sure that they are right politically (pun) and their closed minded pro gun, anti middle eastern, right wing politics annoyed the flip out of me.

Mostly I am disappointed because the tech stuff and start point for the adventure were really interesting.

Listen to Expeditionary Force instead and just YouTube best Rob Swanson quotes for the politics.

Narration was good. Everything else disappointing/irritating.

-Smythe

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 09-15-16

Bit too right wing for my taste

Didn't actually finish this because, frankly, I found its obviously right-wing, gung-ho, gun loving attitude offensive.

Story was pretty weak too, but maybe that picks up later on. Couldn't stomach it myself though and returned it. Not for me.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jan
  • 07-26-16

Another disappointment

I was hoping for escapism with this book but it was not going to happen. I put up with the glaring lack of depth of character for the protagonists and kept hoping things would improve. Unfortunately when the story started involving the Taliban and Afghanistan I lost the will to listen. I wanted escapism not realism mixed with a badly written story. I listened for nearly five hours before giving up so I think I gave it a good try before deciding it was rubbish.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Douglas Hallam
  • 10-11-16

Strange and incongruous usage of words.

While I am aware that the work is a piece of fiction, it does often seem difficult to find it believable.
Good performance, although a wee tad strong on the Silvester Stallone impression.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • L. O. Shea
  • 08-01-16

rampant libertarianisn<br /><br />

the heavy handed pulpit thumping against all things government added to the complete lack of even a vague scientific framework made this a perfect Trump manifesto.. only finished it to have the chance to review it and warn the unsuspecting away.. stay away!!!!

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Linda
  • 07-08-16

Good fun

A few massive plot holes gleefully ignored, and you have to like libertarianism Montana-style, but an enjoyable and rather addictive listen based on wish fulfilment if nothing else! Will buy the second instalment, just to see if the main characters grow a little depth now that they are effectively immortal...or are they?

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • mazzz
  • 08-16-16

Ant bodied aliens and right wing Americans ... NO!

I didn't read further than 1st chapter as characters were right wing. I don't know whether it improves but I didn't want to listen to silliness

3 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Harrison
  • 10-19-16

Intresting book

Really liked it
The storyline was well made to make me want to keep listening
The narator was exellent too

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  • Daniel
  • 09-24-16

someone get this guy a science book

nothing against the narration that was sweet, the story however is easily rednecks in space and not like firefly more.like swamp people

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-14-16

Basic story is fine but lots of politics

Found the premise of the story to be fine but at times the book felt like a vehicle to present right wing politics. Very simple solutions to complex world problems. I found this distracting from what the story was. Enough here to get me on to the next in the series though.

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  • james olive
  • 09-06-16

cliche but original

a book about every space cowboys dream of alien technology making life better. great listen. a number of typical ideas but mostly original in ways. Although lacks details about the technology itself. Book just says "its a laser rifle" and thats it...
otherwise its great fun listening to. A big space strategy game in book form.