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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

  • 4.9 out of 5.0
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    19
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Story

  • 4.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
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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.

22 of 23 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.

6 of 6 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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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.

3 of 3 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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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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  • Tose
  • Norhtern California
  • 02-12-18

Getting Repetative

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I really enjoy these books but the author has to build some additional & unique plot lines into the stories.

This book suffered from 1) impossible situation 2) stupid monkeys/etc 3) sad moments/introspection 4) stupid monkey idea 5) fabricated supertech fix. Repeat for 10 hour narrative.

I like the characters, I think the narrator is perfect for the material but the author needs to stretch and present a better storyline. I WANT him to do better.

Another like this and I wont bother to buy/read the next.

Would you ever listen to anything by Craig Alanson again?

yes

Have you listened to any of R. C. Bray’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Good

Was Zero Hour worth the listening time?

Meh

Any additional comments?

Awesome opportunity to do some great things with this universe and cast of characters.

5 of 6 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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  • 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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  • himupnorth
  • 02-23-18

Pure escapism

The continuing saga of Skippy The Magnificent and the merry band of pirates just keeps getting better and better. Yes, it’s formulaic but who cares. The characters are strong and so are the stories. It’s pure escapism.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-22-18

Dancing cats, trust the ignorance and aliens film quotes

That’s another one down and it didn’t disappoint.

I love your work mr Alanson and mr bray.

Can’t wait for the next instalment. Please hurry up.

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  • Vytautas Liesis
  • 02-22-18

when is the next?

wow! I could not imagine that I would like it so much. this series is just great!!! wow!!! I want more! MORE!!!

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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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  • 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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  • Jan
  • 02-22-18

Scared of it getting stale..

OK so not knocking the book because I enjoyed it. Great story, interesting ending and wonderful performance as always by RC Bray! But like some others here, I'm started to wonder where it's gonna lead... Will it be another 30 books or will it end in book 6-7?

Not because I don't enjoy the characters, but more that it's starting to remind me of how I felt about the TV show Lost. So many mysteries, and it was so awesome at the start but then it was like hey keep following these breadcrumbs until next season and then next season until you have the last season which was ok but the mystery got too big for one season to explain. Ok I'm starting to rant here..

Basic jist, if you liked the other books you'll like this one but I hope the writer starts moving the overarching series story forward with a bit with more pace..

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  • Matt Parkinson
  • 02-22-18

!

Bring on Alien Legion!!! Craig, write write write! I implore you! I cannot wait until R C Bray narrates!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-22-18

great!

please make more, I need to know what happens to all of them. im not a reviewer but audible makes me write about 15 words so now im rambling.

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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