Columbus Day : Expeditionary Force

  • by Craig Alanson
  • Narrated by R.C. Bray
  • Series: Expeditionary Force
  • 16 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- ZX80

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.

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.

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- EmmCeeSq

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-12-2016
  • Publisher: Podium Publishing