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Columbus Day

Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
4 out of 5 stars (7 ratings)

Regular price: ₹1,289.00

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Publisher's 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

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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!

265 of 276 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

179 of 189 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

532 of 601 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

28 of 32 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • W. Keith Withey
  • 27-06-17

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!!!

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah Castleberry
  • 12-04-17

Entertaining

It's a new take on alien invasion - very creative!
I wish there was more character development -- only the main character has any depth of backstory that we know of. Other people around him are very one-dimensional and exchangeable.
However - there was a LOT of world building and plot to get across.
So it's more of a fun, block-buster romp, and overall and entertaining read.
Looking forward to the sequels!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. Hartmann
  • 17-12-16

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.

102 of 122 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Matthew
  • 22-02-17

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.

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.

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.

42 of 50 people found this review helpful

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  • GiffRock
  • 02-01-17

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.

29 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • ZX80
  • UK
  • 26-02-17

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.

73 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph Hill
  • 30-12-16

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!

17 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Robyn
  • escaping to another world
  • 30-03-18

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.....


7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 06-03-17

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.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • kathyc
  • 31-05-19

Gripping Storytelling

loved this book, narrator is easy to listen to and enabled me to concentrate on the story.

this book had made my commute something to look forward to. I've also found myself listening at home wherever I can squeeze it in. washing up now gets dried and kitchen surfaces wiped just so I can listen for longer.... I know...crazy right?!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Elmamaria
  • 26-04-19

Loved it!

Finally decided to get expeditionary force after all the recommendations on RC Bray’s fan page and I’m loving it. Fun. Great characters and a sarky AI, lots of explosions and hair raising adventures. Brilliantly narrated as ever by RC Bray. Great stories, have already finished no. 2 and will no doubt be racing through the rest. 5 *’s all the way!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris I
  • UK
  • 18-03-19

Comedy Sci-Fi- I didn’t know it existed! Great fun

As a longtime sci-fi lover I Found this a novel experience; it is frequently laugh out loud funny because of the repartee between an AI and the hero! Very interesting storyline and great narration. Well worth the listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Daniel Salmon
  • 02-04-18

FANTASTIC!

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

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • paul allison
  • 12-12-17

Great fun!!!

If your looking for a scientifically correct and factual based book ... this isn't it.

What it is is a big bowl of happiness! A great fun book with sarcastic and witty characters and a storyline that won't have you scratching your head.

The interaction between Joe and skippy is comedy gold! And ,unusually for any book, had me laughing out loud.

I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

R.C Bray does it full justice ...... although I bet he never wants to say "Nigeria" again.

Love it!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jotham
  • 04-03-17

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.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jacob
  • 23-01-17

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 👏👌

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ben Allwood
  • 15-01-17

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jess
  • 04-07-17

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kaz
  • 26-06-17

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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jake
  • 31-03-17

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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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kiwireader K
  • 06-06-19

A tale of two halves

The first half of the the tale was slow moving, and tedious. Almost nothing of interest happened, and I wasn't drawn in by the protagonist. There was some good action scenes but these were few and far between. The real story began about half way through with the introduction of an entertaining comic character who was a lot of fun, and the relationship with this character and the protagonist. However, I can't rate the story that highly because of the first half. I expect the series will get better if the author has played to his strengths.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 20-03-18

Great book and the narrator is the best!

I recommend this book to nerds and everyone that enjoys a good military action and sarcastic wit. Love it will be purchasing the rest of the series.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mike
  • 20-08-17

Enjoyable

What did you like most about Columbus Day?

Good start to an interesting story

What did you like best about this story?

It follows the same theme as many of the same types of stories but it is easy to listen to and the story is well written

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

the AI his interpretation of the character is brilliant.

Any additional comments?

Recommended, the narrater is excellent and easy to listen to.
The story is involved and interesting.......keeps me wanting to buy and listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Adam Webb
  • 24-07-17

Amazing

I loved this book. It was fantastically written and RC Bray is the most amazing narrator. I generally prefer post apocalyptic fiction but this was a great choice. The story bubbles along nicely and then gets a super charge with the introduction of Skippy. Can't recommend this book enough.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful