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Publisher's Summary

United Nations Special Operations Command sent an elite expeditionary force of soldiers and pilots out on a simple recon mission, and somehow along the way they sparked an alien civil war. Now the not-at-all-merry band of pirates is in desperate trouble, again. Their stolen alien starship is falling apart, thousands of light years from home. The ancient alien AI they nicknamed Skippy is apparently dead, and even if they can by some miracle revive him, he might never be the same.

©2017 Craig Alanson; 2018 Podium Publishing

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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  • KM
  • 02-14-18

The middle sags with repetition

Another great performance from RC Bray, and Alanson gives him plenty of characters to play with.

However, the story really becomes tedious with repetitive situations that prevent the story from building any momentum. Here's the pattern: The crew faces an insurmountable problem, Skippy apologizes, at the last minute Bishop comes up with an idea, Skippy says it's stupid, Skippy realizes it can work, Skippy complains about being outsmarted by meatsacks, the solution works, almost immediately a new problem is presented. Repeat a couple dozen times. At no point do we wonder if they will be successful. The big picture can never form because we spend 10 - 20 minutes listening to the details about the problem, along with nearly identical dialog. This has been a signature part of previous books in the series, but this book seems to be especially over-written.

It is frustrating because there are some potentially great plot lines. It feels like the author is deliberately stretching the story, so it feels watered-down. Like the boy who cried wolf one too many times, the repeated use of the same story mechanics has erased all emotion from this book.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • Glendale, AZ, United States
  • 02-17-18

Forced Continuity, I Think a Ghostwriter Could

do as well.
You know how a girl breaking up with a guy will say, "It's not you, it's me." Well I seriously think the author is bored with this, but likes the money too much. It is you, cuz it sure ain't me. Skippy deserves better, maybe it's time to get Bishop laid.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Slow progress

first of all, book one and five are the best in the series so far. but it's the same old things. Somehow mission must happen, things go wrong Joe gives an idea Skippy gets angry. The story doesn't progress much at all. There was so much possibility but went nowhere. the worm arc totally underplayed. this is what happens, Skippy gets better finds fancy USB port now his ok. and that was half the book. it's book 3 or 4 all over again. And what about the elder arc? goes nowhere. you only find out an sentinal was destroyed. litterly that arc went nowhere at all. hints at a romance between Adams and Joe, nothing happens. honestly that's the book summed up. There were so many possibilities in this book that honestly goe to waste. The theranin lovers, 5 min are before they got killed. accidentally capturing a maxult, dies after 5 min. and count chocula, seriously just kill him off already, he has had no character development, nobody has actually and that is why I am giving the story a two. If you want a book with allot more progress go read acended from the same writer. much better, book 1 and 2 are world's apart and book three is setup to be amazing. allot more character development.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Old formula gets old quickly

Great performance as usual by R. C. Bray. Every single character has their own voice and easily distinguishable from one another. But unfortunately formula of Joe coming up with crazy ideas becomes stale, because it's just the only way this book handles character's problems. Suspense is basically gone. I personally don't feel the stakes any more. Otherwise, great book

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Let’s Be Honest

Oh yeah, still an entertaining series w/ lovable and snarky characters, but the least of the series, and the overall progression of story arc seems to be stuck in the mud.... Imo still fun and an absolutely excellent listen, and I’ll continue w/ the series, but would like to see a little more in the upcoming...

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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This is hands down my favorite sci-fi series.

The author is brilliant and RC Bray is a master at his trade. I can't wait until the next book. If you like to run the gambit of emotions and are looking for characters to fall in love with, then this merry band of pirates is the series for you. Bravo Craig Alenson.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Very Poor

What would have made Zero Hour better?

I love the story line but come on, we know the characters, you could of cut 8 hours off and had a better story.

What could Craig Alanson have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

story line cut to the last 6 hours and go forward.

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

Great

What character would you cut from Zero Hour?

none

Any additional comments?

I will continue to listen to the story but come on at this point we know everything we need to know just write a better story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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hire an editor

so much repetition and boring details.
I'm a sucker for the plot and idea but golly, just use a red pen and get rid of a few paragraphs and internal dialogue. we get it! there lots of internal thought process about keeping humanity's space flights on the DL but u don't need to bring it up Every timeeee.

otherwise a lovely book idea.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 02-08-18

Returning - needs more 3-D people and plot

About 3.5 hours in, and been bored all the way. Not one laugh yet. So much talking and a battle scene that just dragged on and on and nothing new or inventive.

This has been a fun series, I've put about $50 into it and a lot of time, but by now there should be some very fleshed out people in the series. Banter is fun, but there have been fewer fun cultural reference jokes than before. And, if there's a plot here, there should have been some interesting twists and turns by now. Nada.

Checking the iPod, there's 13+ hours left to go, and I am not willing to spend more time on this. Or money.

It's been fun.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Monkeys kick A**, but......

I love this series, but the story is getting bogged down in the usual rinse and repeat cycle. Skippy and Joe's relationship is still as engaging as ever (it even gets a bit emotional), but I wish some of the other characters had time to flex their wings, in particular the no nonsense Sgt Adams. The "Roach Motel" was a wasted opportunity to get some long overdue answers to questions brought up in the other books.

There is still a few laugh out loud moments and it was a enjoyable listen.

I hope things come to a head in the next book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • T. M. Brooks
  • 02-14-18

Second best EF book so far, but too much padding

I am a huge fan of the Expeditionary Force books, and this is the best one since the original. My only issue is that sometimes it feels like the author is padding the story out to make the series last longer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris
  • 02-14-18

love it.

This is by far the best in this series good plot great characters well read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • STEVEN BAKER
  • 02-13-18

Good enjoyable story, RC Bray is the best

very good book which moves the band on and introduces another foe. Skippy is getting a tad silly but I enjoyed it. Recommended

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • michael
  • 02-13-18

Getting dragged out.

This Saga is overdue an ending!! Getting tedious and the story doesn't move forward enough

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 02-08-18

There Ain't No Stopping Us Now!

I'm not quite sure how he does it but this is another one that's fallen off of Craig Alanson's production line and for anyone that can't get enough of Skippy the Magnificent then just pile in because there's plenty more here. And apparently this book is a long, long way from the end of the series too so those with Skippy addiction have no need to panic yet!

Alanson once again sends his Merry Band of Pirates careering through a universe full of bizarre alien races as they try to dodge all of them with them alone holding the fate of our species in their hands. Of course behind the microphone, there really is no other choice for this series now, RC Bray is put through his paces by this author's zany brand of humour.

I think it would be reasonable to suggest that some of this is repetitive and there are structural problems such as some gags being repeated very close together and I'm not convinced this book represents a logical section of the overall story line.

At the end of the day though these books are fun and imaginative. The pseudo science fiction leads through a series of dire situations met with no little ingenuity. The star of the show is inevitably sci-fi's greatest ever beer can though even he doesn't get it all his own way in this one . . .

I'm in for the long haul, these books never fail to make me smile and that is after all what really matters!

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • david
  • 02-21-18

still a good read

great to have the story continue, but there was way too much of kernel and skippy show. way too much back and forth from them two

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  • Principatus
  • 02-21-18

Brilliant

Can’t wait for the next installment. Captivating and thoroughly enjoyable. Possibly one of the best of the series

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  • Mr J A Smith
  • 02-21-18

Classic Skippy and Joe

This was probably my favourite in the series so far, some very different creative twists. Yes the series is not classic literature, but these books have me bent over double laughing uncontrollably at times (usually in very embarrassing public places)... Mr Craigson is a prolific writer, but he can’t write fast enough, damn monkey!! I’m living in Skippy time waiting for the next book. Trust in the awesomeness and buy this series.

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  • Steve A
  • 02-21-18

Skippy and the Merry Band at their finest

This series keeps getting better and better.

Funny writing coupled with one of the best narrators I’ve heard, this is probably my all time favourite series of books and I am looking forward to following the merry band of pirates on more adventures with Skippy.

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  • Josh
  • 02-21-18

Great audio book! Skippy the meh ftw!

Great audio book! I can't wait till the next book! Skippy the meh ftw! :)

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  • Jenny Macmillan
  • 02-08-18

Getting Bored

Love the story and the characters but am starting to get a bit bored.
We have 5 books in the series now and am wondering what book 6 will bring - will it be more of the same or will it climax. I hope book six is the last otherwise this adventure is starting to drag out.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • alain
  • 02-08-18

Enjoyable!

good book, looking forward to the next in the series. wonder storyline is cool and has potential to keep going g without getting dull

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alejandro Amarillo
  • 02-20-18

RC Bray is a genius!!!

His readings of this series has been phenomenal. He brings the characters to life and I never stop laughing when a chapter focuses on Joe and Skippy the Magnificent.

I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

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  • Kael
  • 02-19-18

I'm addicted.

The series is magnificently special and this book is no exception. The narration is perfect as usual.

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  • James Mifsud
  • 02-18-18

Get ready for an adventure of a life time

The Merry Band of Pirates keep finding themselves in more daring and risky missions as time aboard to Flying Dutchman creeks and rattles though space.

Hold on to your helmets and strap in because.,. Heh heh, you’re very much not going to like this... but we are going in Barney Style.

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  • Ilan Nachman
  • 02-16-18

Recommended books

Loved it, great series of books, mostly recommended, great preform on audio book.
Waiting for the next book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-16-18

EXPERDITIONARY FORCE

MONKEYS KICK ASS SHOULD BE THERE NEW MOTO THIS IS A GOOD SERIES BU HAS NOT ENDED I LOOK FORARD TO BOOK 6

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  • Jason
  • 02-15-18

Bring it on!

I am completely hooked on this series. Laughs, intensity, plot twists and an absent minded beer can, what more could you ask for!

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  • Andres
  • 02-13-18

best book of all 5 books

when are we having the 6 book?? please we need the 6 book!!!! noww. please

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  • Jaco
  • 02-13-18

Can't wait to or the next book

Just simply cannot wait for the next book. The story is creative. The characters are funny and the concept is brilliant. Then you have RC Bray narrating. What a legend!