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Columbus Day

Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,574 ratings)

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Summary

Nominee, 2018 Audie Awards — Audiobook of the Year

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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Fun in a can

The story trots along quite nicely at the beginning but when the intelligent beer can cracks open this story gallops into a whole new level. Excellent fun.

5 people found this helpful

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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.

116 people found this helpful

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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.

31 people found this helpful

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Good fun

Think Independence Day meets Star Trek.

Of course, when an alien star ship turns up in earth's atmosphere, followed closely by a second alien race, you just know it's all not going to work out in Earth's favour. Our little earth-weapons clearly aren't up to the task! Naturally, the cunning humans' plan is to simply nick the other lots' ships, weapons etc et.... I've totally overly simplified the plot with that statement - but that's the feel of the book.

It's good fun, great narration, and I've downloaded the next book in the series for when I need some light relief. The adjective "jaunty" seems to fit the bill. Onwards then, for a merry jaunt through the universe.....


8 people found this helpful

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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.

17 people found this helpful

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FANTASTIC!

Great start to an amazing series! R.C Bray is amazing as usual!!!!
Love it and want more!!!!!

4 people found this helpful

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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!

17 people found this helpful

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Just a whole lotta fun.

This in not heavy SciFi like Peter F. This is fun.
Craig C. Has managed to take some form of serious adventure and also make it humerus. This isn’t slapstick as some reviews imply but it’s also not overly serious and deep like a Iain B. It’s really funny and a darn good adventure too. Some have complained it too formulaic, but so is a drink, and who doesn’t need a drink from time to time just to relax and enjoy. Just like this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Unsubscribe from Netflix.

I am half way through book four of the series and I feel obligated to go back and rate every book so far.
This is one of the best series that I have ever come across. I have not watched a TV series since I started listening to this first book of the series.
I really hope they make a series of movies out of this.

1 person found this helpful

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slow to start, worth the wait.

took awhile for me to get into this book, as it starts in the middle or an already established situation. however I stuck with it and I'm glad i did, I laughed so much. the characters really grow on you and their development is brilliant. a truly good listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Guernica
  • 08-07-19

Overrated

The reviews on this are overwhelmingly good which means this review will likely get drowned but I really thought this product was badly overrated.

The performer RC Bray does a fine enough job making the mediocre story line flow as best as he can but there's only so much you can do with a bad story.

The story itself was the main problem. It drags. Horribly slowly. Much of the chapters delve deep into the life of Joe Bishop as he evolves into a space marine. This will include daily recaps of what he eats for each meal, when he decides to go play basketball, hitting the pool, and shooting the breeze with other soldiers.

The plot advances too slow and is predictable. Much of the first 25% of the book could have been told in 2-3 chapters.

I really wanted to like this product based on the overwhelmingly positive reviews but I'm afraid either I don't have the same taste, or there are a lot of bots or fanbois pumping up the stars.

95 people found this helpful

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  • Jake
  • 14-04-19

Not an Expanse stand-in

Cardboard characters that do nothing but bro talk. Was suggested this book after completing the Expanse, and I couldn't disagree with that rec more.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Gary Glenn
  • 27-06-17

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!

349 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 29-06-17

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.

222 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-07-19

Entirely unbelievable

I'll try not to give much away, but the first half of this book is pretty good and an interesting take on our first exposure to alien species. Then it takes a turn and magically every single problem that does or could ever exist is solved.

It's fun to listen to but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone that appreciates realistic scenarios.

10 people found this helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 04-01-17

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

587 people found this helpful

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  • Christine D.
  • 07-07-17

Slapstick Meets Sci-Fi

Would you consider the audio edition of Columbus Day to be better than the print version?

Yes, the reader gave a fantastic performance.

What was most disappointing about Craig Alanson’s story?

Skippy....just....Skippy. And how everything after that worked out conveniently fine for our heroes. Hardly any real conflicts because the soda can went behind the scenes and magically solved the issues they were having. Roses and rainbows after that.

Which scene was your favorite?

Some of the interactions between Skippy and Joe were entertaining; Skippy discovers the internet.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Chuckles, but nothing extreme.

Any additional comments?

The story stopped being good after Skippy showed up....think, Jar Jar Binks with a brain. After that, it felt like a comedy sitcom like "Alf", goofy alien saves the day. And the condescending nature of the beer can reminded me of the little green alien that showed up once in an episode of the Flintstones..."dumb dumb"... I likely won't be buying the next book in the series as long as Skippy's around to conveniently fix everything before anyone gets hurt. The story becomes predictable...oh no, lizards!..oh, wait...never mind, Skippy will just blow up their ship from the inside and 100 light years away. No need to panic. Rinse, repeat.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Eileen
  • 30-01-18

Alanson and Bray ROCK!!!

This audible book is the perfect union between author and narrator, really, it doesn’t get better! I loved this book, sci-fi with humor, you can’t go wrong! R.C. Bray is freaking awesome, I don’t think anyone could have done a better job, he’s totally a gifted narrator! I’m already through to book 4 and waiting on book 5 if that tells you how much I like this series so jump on this train, it’s a great ride!

26 people found this helpful

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  • Klaumbaz
  • 02-08-17

fun listen

maybe my monkey brain can't understand the innumerable forces at work to allow Joe the ability be at the right place at the wrong time. very tropish ( that means you need to understand all of the science fiction theories out there, or you're going to get lost) but it goes from mediocre to entertaining when you find Skippy

5 people found this helpful

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  • Victor
  • 07-05-17

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

23 people found this helpful