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Publisher's Summary

We were fighting on the wrong side of a war we couldn't win. And that was the good news.

The Ruhar hit us on Columbus Day. There we were, innocently drifting along the cosmos on our little blue marble, like the Native Americans in 1492. Over the horizon came ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There went the good old days, when humans got killed only by each other. So, Columbus Day. It fits.

When the morning sky twinkled again, this time with Kristang starships jumping in to hammer the Ruhar, we thought we were saved. The UN Expeditionary Force hitched a ride on Kristang ships to fight the Ruhar wherever our new allies thought we could be useful. So, I went from fighting with the US Army in Nigeria to fighting in space. It was lies, all of it. We shouldn't even be fighting the Ruhar; they aren't our enemy. Our allies are.

I'd better start at the beginning.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2016 Podium Publishing

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Overall

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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    12,819
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    469
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Performance

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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    239
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    52
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Story

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
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Sci Fi I didn't know I wanted

I usually over analyze anything I read or watch, not wanting to waste my time on dribble or uninteresting content. After spending too much time sorting through different audio books, I settled on the Expeditionary Forces series as it appeared interesting and is, well, a series. If I enjoyed it, that would postpone the excruciating task of finding another book.
I am ecstatic that I made this choice. As much as the story is engaging, the narration is as good or better than any I've listened to. Even sound effects are not needed to add anything. Very well done.
A little more science fiction detail wouldn't hurt but does not detract from the enjoyment of this writing.
The humor throughout was unexpected but welcome and well done. Not found very often in well written Sci Fi.
Off to start the second book!

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • San Diego, CA
  • 06-29-17

Brilliant, Funny, Clever... a Sci Fi must have

It’s hard to know where to start when describing this instant modern classic. I’ve loved Sci Fi since I was yay high…I cut my teeth on space operas like the works of EE. Doc Smith. This is the next generation of space opera and it’s fabulous. It’s also quite funny in many places. It’s action packed but doesn’t feel silly like a lot of action fiction does. The plot includes dueling alien races of giant hamsters and lizards, faster than light travel and a snarky deus ex machina artificial Intelligence the size of a can of coke. Sounds ridiculous but is actually compelling, weirdly credible and wildly entertaining. I’m already most the way through book two which puts me close to a third of the way through a 50 hour epic. If you love hard Sci Fi, if you are a Trekki or a Star Wars fan you will lap this up.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT

CHEESEBURGERS
A few months ago I VOLUNTOLD you that BOB would have legions of fans. Now I am telling you this will be the next book to hit number one in Sci-Fi Contemporary. This book has science galore, comedy galore, aliens galore and space battles. To say I love it would be an IMPLIED DUH, but than OVERKILL IS UNDER RATED.

YOU GOT SOME SPLAINING TO DO LUCY
The book is over 16 hours long, and Jim The Impatient listened to all 16+ hours and was entertained all the way. Alanson has great timing and knows how to keep a story from going stale. For example, just when I thought the book was going to enter a shoot-em up phase and become boring, we are introduced to SKIPPY, an A-HOLE AI, who is witty and funny. There is something here for all Sci-Fi fans. Nothing is really new, but a lot of the good old stuff is used. For instance there are ELDERS, CLIENT RACES, PATRONS, ANCIENT ARIFACTS AND THE COLLECTIVE.

EMBRACE THE SUCK
I am not saying this is my favorite, just that it will hit number one. My favorites in the category and in order are, The Martian, Ready Player One, Bob and than this book. Some might roll their eyes at the serendipity of finding Skippy and all that he does to get them out of trouble, but if you can get past that you will love this.

SCREW ONE SHEEP
I have been listening to books since the cassette days. I have heard lots of great narrators. I don't believe I have ever heard one grow in their job as well as Bray. He started out good, with his great voice, but what he has put into the last couple of books, I have listened to has just blown my mind. Based on the last two books, he read for me, I would say he has to be my favorite.

ALPHA MIKE FOXTROT

445 of 497 people found this review helpful

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funniest series I've heard so far

anxiously waiting for 4th book to be released, 1st 2 chapters are boring, but the gut busting laughter is non-stop and worth the wait from then on

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Well...THAT was Certainly a Lot of Fun !!

At 16 hours, this is actually like reading two separate books -- the first is a pretty well done military "grunts in space" story. It is a notch above the usual because of the narration which is just great. But at about the halfway point, it transforms to a space opera-type of tongue-in-cheek story that is somewhere between Redshirts and Ready Player One -- inside jokes, clever asides and a much more self-aware story....and did I mention the narrator???? I'm not going to give away the story -- which is not really rocket science (sorry) -- but I think you will very much enjoy.

91 of 111 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • Little Rock, AR, United States
  • 02-22-17

A Book to Lighten Up the Mood

Any additional comments?

This is one of those shallow, entertaining on-the-rails rollercoaster books I love. The whole point is escapism and laughs. Sorry, but there isn't any real character development, giant allegories, or any of that silly "literature" stuff here.<br/><br/>What we do have is one poor combat grunt that keeps ending up in the worst possible place at the worst possible times. Each time he ends up there good ol' Lady Luck comes around and beats him with a baseball bat filled with love and barbwire. Plucky plans against different enemy alien shenanigans and a fateful meeting with a uproarious lonely male (weird right?) AI ensues. The AI even admits that he's a jerk.<br/><br/>So if you want a hilarious adventure romp on easy mode, pick this book up, I mean it is like Old Man's War or Willful Child. If not, go pick up I dunno, 2001 or something.

32 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • Victor
  • Williamsville, NY, United States
  • 05-07-17

Think "Farscape" not "Star Trek"

What made the experience of listening to Columbus Day the most enjoyable?

Great story of a young soldier from rural Maine that who's life is changed radically when aliens show up in his little home town. The story becomes a little ridiculous when he meets an super-intelligent alien AI but its well written and fun so it's easily forgiven. However, by book two, it starts to get a little redundant. Regardless, I am very much looking forward to book 3 and beyond.

What other book might you compare Columbus Day to and why?

I would compare it to the TV show "Farscape" the sometimes ridiculous and some times funny sci-fi show. It even includes wormholes...

Which character – as performed by R.C. Bray – was your favorite?

Sippy is my favorite character... He's an "a**hole". lol

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This book is SO MUCH FUN!!i

Where does Columbus Day rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've listened to a lot of really excellent books and this book is excellent in it's category. I was totally enjoying a well written piece of entertainment, narrated by the perfect narrator for the book and bam! It got even so much better!!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Columbus Day?

I don't like this question because it's asking for spoilers, but I think I can say when Skippy and Joe got together, without giving too much away.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, yes, yes! And I want the next book. NOW!!!

Any additional comments?

This is a 100% entertaining book. Not believable, but that was no way a goal of the writers. Entertaining, fun, exciting. If you like sci-if fun, go for it. You will not be disappointed.

44 of 55 people found this review helpful

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Fun SciFi best since "Hitchhikers Guide...."

Serious but fun and Joe's encounter with "Skippy" the AI made me laugh out loud! Clever writing by Craig Alanson, and Joes character is brilliant and funny yet dead serious. Brings me back to the tough, wisecracking characters in WWII movies. Joe is smarter than he gives himself credit for, and is masterfully narrated by R.C. Bray. What a hoot!!!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicole
  • Portland, OR USA
  • 06-22-17

Started a little slow...then I was hooked

There's a lot of background information and explaining in the beginning for the storyline to make sense. It started a little slow for me, but then I couldn't stop.

If you like plausible sci-fi mixed with adventure this is a great choice.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • ZX80
  • 02-26-17

Clearly I'm in a minority but...

Don't get this review wrong, I did generally enjoy this book but I don't think it is the 5 star gem other reviewers seem to agree on. The idea is great and the mix of humour is fairly unique given that this is not the focus of the book, this is a really difficult balance to achieve, so the author deserves kudos for the attempt. However the characters are shallow and the plot is simplistic; motivation for uber-intelligent species to be conducting a galaxy encompassing war is never explored and the aforementioned humour is school-boy at best. Coupled with a overly large dollop of American jingoism and you're left with a basic if enjoyable yarn to waste a few hours on but not a 5 star listen. I doubt I'll continue with the series.

41 of 48 people found this review helpful

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  • EmmCeeSq
  • 07-12-17

Heinlein or Adams? Maybe pick one and run with it

What disappointed you about Columbus Day?

The book is written from the perspective of a Sergeant in the US Army. So far, so Heinlein (Starship Troopers). Indeed, the book contains all the gung-ho Americana you want, if that's your thing (it's not my thing). There's very little hard sci-fi here - by limiting us to our Sergeant's perspective we're never allowed/invited to grasp any of the mind-blowing changes that alien contact might have initiated, and I was left dissapointed by the limiting of perspective. <br/><br/>However, the abrupt shift in tone halfway through the book (the character 'Skippy' is introduced) is jarring. Suddenly we're in Douglas Adams territory - being invited to laugh at ourselves as a species. Humour is really difficult to pull off (Adams was a master) and Alanson frankly isn't all that funny - obvious gags about Facebook and Cat videos don't really cut it. However, it's not really either element of the book that really bothered me, it was the rather crude splicing of what felt like two different ideas together. Write a serious book about a soliders' experience of cutting edge war in space, or a lighthearted satire of humanity when shown to be idiotic in the face of greater intelligence. I think it takes more skill than Alanson has to splice the two, if it were even possible.

Has Columbus Day put you off other books in this genre?

There are usually compromises to be made when reading sci-fi, which is frustrating but it wouldn't put me off entirely.

What about R.C. Bray’s performance did you like?

The narration is really good. I totally bought R.C Bray's characterisation of Col. Joe. Bray really brought our narrator to life. In fact, I think he rescued what is a pretty poor book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Columbus Day?

Honestly, I would have suggested to Alanson that he decided what sort of book he wanted to write and stick with it. There are two interesting ideas for books here - one hard-boiled military tale in the tradition of Heinlein et al, and another in the tradition of Adams etc. This book is a great illustration of why a consistent tone is so vital.

Any additional comments?

I'm genuinely baffled by the glowing reviews of this book.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • GiffRock
  • 01-02-17

Fantastic start to what I hope is a great series

This was an impulse buy and I was a little worried at first. I needn't be though as it was gripping from the start. It's well written and easy to listen to, R.C Bray was as usual, a spot on choice for the narrator. The book has a great change part way through that really sent the story in another direction that was very well delivered. Overall it's a great easy listen. There's some obvious ideas liberated from other sci-fi greats, both written and televised but it works really well.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Adrian N.
  • 06-25-17

Mildly amusing but not really my kind of si-fi .

I prefer a little less conversation....a little more action. I probably won't go onto book 2

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert Wheatley
  • 04-23-17

Give it time...

Any additional comments?

I almost gave up on this book. I found the first part to be very linear and rather dull. But along came 'Skippy' and everything changed for me. Not only do I love the character, but the narrator does a super-fine job bringing him to life.<br/>

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph Hill
  • 12-30-16

Excellent, original and narrated by a master

RC Bray is reason enough to buy an audiobook. Brilliant performance of an original and entertaining book. Need the next book now!

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • stig1875
  • 02-01-17

I Highly Recommend this book and Author

What made the experience of listening to Columbus Day the most enjoyable?

The story line, the narrator and contents of the book, Skippy and the Sergeant/ Colonel's banter backward and forward and the down to earth language between them and the rest of the high-racy in all of the armed services and government. being ex military I can relate to his moans and groans.

What other book might you compare Columbus Day to, and why?

Quite a few books that have the same M O the earth gets invaded, governments topple and the hero of the book once again saves the day, but this book is a fresh look at the subject.

What about R.C. Bray’s performance did you like?

Mr Bray's contribution to making this book a great Listen, is paramount to this Authors book storytelling, he match's the character perfectly and I hope when the next book is released he is the one telling the story.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

first was when the rag tag band of merry troops bring down the two Elephant transport planes while they were under the plasma tube/tunnel and when they sent the Lizards battle group into the sun, I could feel through Mr Brays telling up to these points that the satisfaction the Colonel was feeling for the loss of his men and women and the whole of humanity up to that point, then again when he slammed his fist down onto the Red Button on the counsel, as they approached the earth which put and end to the occupation of the Lizards.

Any additional comments?

I was looking for a New Author to listen to, because I am running out of good books by my favourit authors and the waiting for them to be added to Audible is agonizingley slow to say the least, then I saw this book and all of the Five Star ratings so I took the plunge and now I cannot wait for the next installment, come on Audible get your finger out

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • justin ford
  • 01-01-17

Fantastic Blend of humor and satire !

Where does Columbus Day rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The A.I Skippy<br/>

What about R.C. Bray’s performance did you like?

One of the best narations i have heard for an audio book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No

Any additional comments?

Cant wait for the second book !!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 03-06-17

The Star Trek Spirit

If you're hankering for the old spirit of Star Trek, well at least the more humorous episodes, with perhaps a little Starship Troopers blended in then freshly seasoned with some Blake's 7 then this is the place to come! Alanson strikes an excellent balance between injecting plentiful humour and making the story serious enough and the action tough enough to make you care. If, on the other hand you are looking for a modern-day Heinlein then you can stop reading now, these aren't the pages you're looking for.

There are lots of hi-lites in this book including a classic choice of vehicle early on to conduct an attack and some genuinely original sci-fi gags. There are of course some "classics" in there but what steals the show is the relationship between Joe and "Mr Skippy" (think Oracs with huge upgrades especially in the personality department) which had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

The narration? Well I've Spent a lot of time in the company of Mr RC Bray recently and I love him doing his thing in books like the Arisen and Mountain Man series. He injects great tension and drama into the situations and action scenes. But who would ever have guessed from that he could really do comedy too?? Well it seems he can, he sounded like he was genuinely having a blast at times reading this one.

I always try to avoid spoilers but this book ends by setting up a real Star Trek exploring the universe against the backdrop of warring factions scenario. I am very much looking forwards to where the remaining crew will boldly go.

9 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Atticman
  • 12-30-16

Sci-Fi with a sense of humour

Wonderfully humorous dialogue combined with a great story. Brought to life wonderfully by RC Bray.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • 10-02-17

Seppo garbage

MERICA ! MERICA ! MERICA ! MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA MERICA !!! Yawn !!!! 🙄 do Americans really carry on like this ??

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacob
  • 01-23-17

Epic!

the story progressed more quickly than i wanted meaning i was always left wanting more. I really liked this,quite a few scifis a very drawn out not this one.I enjoyed it from start to finish well done to both Alanson and Bray 👏👌

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jotham
  • 03-04-17

Beer cans are all the rage

started a little slow, the story moved quickly but it took time to get over the intro and setup but once there .... oh my, could not stop listening. Give it a shot, it's well worth it. This better turn into a long running series.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Jake
  • 03-31-17

fun and funny, with some trek references

This was great. R.C Bray does another great performance and the story is really interesting. it's somewhat believable as far as sci fi goes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Justin
  • 03-25-17

Very entertaining

Great performance as always
New story line which was surprisingly both entertaining and funny. I'm certainly looking forward to more from Skippy

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben Allwood
  • 01-15-17

loved it - great story and great narrative

intresting exciting innovative fun hilarious performance of a great story. highly recommended. has the same flavour of the fear saga but is completely different at the same time.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • j
  • 07-04-17

Bang Bang Boom

I must admit that a first I found the narrator slightly annoying but now I can't imagine it being performed by anyone else. I loved the first book and have binge read the next books of the series. Loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-17

The can makes me laugh

When I first started this book I decided it was just going to be another 'war' story book and put it down. I went back to it when I had nothing else and WOW. I can't put it dow. I find myself chuckling at Skippy and just love Bishops personality. A must read (or listen to). The narrator is fantastic.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-26-17

A must!

The story line hooked me, and the humour had me laughing out loud. The narrator was excellent and fitting for the book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig
  • 06-26-17

great @ $ ?f /

brilliant great book made amazing by brilliant narration would recommend to any shift fan brilliant

1 of 1 people found this review helpful