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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
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,325 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Nominee, Audie Awards - Audiobook of the Year, 2018

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 come ships of a technologically advanced, aggressive culture, and BAM! There go the good old days, when humans only got killed 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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What listeners say about Columbus Day

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Easily one of the better books I've read..

Book starts off excellent and consistent, plot moves forward with no gaps in quality, I was ready to rate the book an easy 4 or 5, and had decided to buy the second book within the first hour of listening.

It wasn't until the final third of the book when.. 'an additional character' is added that then flips the entire book on its ear, suddenly the story went from cruising along at a good clip to hyperdrive, never leaving me with the opinion that the author didn't give everything the detail and breadth of story that it deserved as it happens.

The addition of the new character has provided me with some of the best laughs I've had in a very long time, the writing and character building is out of this world and deserves all of the awards it has garnered.

RC Bray's ability to convey different characters through voice acting and accents/imitation had me genuinely stopping and thinking several times throughout the experience if I'd even enjoy the book as much as I had been if I had been left to imagine the characters in my head while reading the book to myself on paper.

Bray brings the main character, and every other, alive in a way that is distinct and detailed in such a way that it's rarely necessary to read aloud the portions of the text that say "Bob said"/"Steve shouted" or any such description. If direction from the author wasn't given on how each character's mood, tone of voice, and attitude was meant to be conveyed, I would be genuinely surprised, because he emulates each one so accurately, it's impossible to imagine the author intended any other way for the characters to be portrayed.


The first half of this book is excellent, earning it an easy 4, the second half earns it such a solid and unwavering 5 out of 5 that I may have to go back and edit all of the reviews for books I've read prior to now, retroactively.

It's that good.

35 people found this helpful

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Awesine book

#Audible1 great book , great narration . loved the plot , as well as the rest of the series

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Steller writing and great characters.

So glad I purchased this book, looking forward to the rest of the series. I hope that the rest has the same chemistry that this book has. The main character and Skippy are a hoot to listen to. RC Bray again knocks it out of the park with this audio book, the conversations between Skippy and other characters had me laughing out loud.. Well worth the purchase ..

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Hard to get into but worth it

If you’re like me and loved The Exapnse series and wanted more, you probably stumbled on this one like I did. It’s good, but hard to get into, there’s a lot of military slang and stuff, it’s not hard science, the aliens are pretty cliche (hamsters, lizards, beetles etc.) and the first book has got a lot of building to do to set way for the following books and building the world, once you get through that though it gets quite entertaining and enjoyable, especially once’s Skippy gets introduced! So give it a go! I promise it gets better!

7 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable and fun Sci-Fi

It's not really serious, it's not ridiculous either. It's entertaining, fun, light and exciting. I burned through this book fast and bough the next in the series as soon I finished it. I'm currently enjoying SPECOPS just as much.

There a few military jargon bits that are not necessary near the beginning but it's not bad. Also RC Bray does a great job with the accents especially Bishop.

#Audible1

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Good story, love the humour, must read!

Can't wait to start on the next one, very entertaining, never boring. Well written and good sf. You want to spend your time on this one.

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great Entertainment!

The story doesn't really move sci-fi genre forward much and borrows heavily from a lot of other sources, but this is a prime example of why it pays to have a really good narrator perform these books. Yes, most of the female characters sound like hairy gruff men but at least you can tell the difference between ALL characters and the narrator switches easily between various American accents, British and other foreign accents, and then throws in some computer generated and alien vocalizations in the mix.

Story was good at first but then Skippy comes along and made it great.

Good humor and superb vocal performance has made this one of my favorite Audibles yet and looking forward to the whole series.

5 people found this helpful

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It is a rough start, but soooo worth it

To begin, I mus say that this is one of the few audiobooks sagas which I have listened to over and over again.

As it is the first book the Exforce epic tales, it's not yet reaching up to it's full potential. More than half of it isn't representative of the tones it'll pick up later on. If you can get through it, there's an amazing reward in the form of an arrogant beer can, which will steal your heart forever! I cannot recommend this serie enough! To me, it's up there with other space dramas such as The Expanse and Red Rising, but much sillier!

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Took a bit, but now I'm ready for the second

Skippy and Joe's dynamic makes this book totally worth it. Once Skippy is introduced, this book gets sooooo mivjpre fun.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow start but worth the wait

Slow start but worth the wait its not until like 8 and a half hours in dose it start getting good but the setup was needed for future books im sure.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2017-01-04

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

624 people found this helpful

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  • Gary Glenn
  • 2017-06-27

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!

410 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 2017-06-29

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.

258 people found this helpful

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  • C. Hartmann
  • 2016-12-17

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.

110 people found this helpful

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  • Christine D.
  • 2017-07-07

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.

61 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • melissa
  • 2019-07-19

Mind numbing !

This book lacks style and substance . I have no interest in any of the characters as the story seems rushed. The main character goes from one impossible situation after the other , after the other , after the other. But you never really get the feeling like he is in any danger.
The narration is poorly done. He seems to drone on and on, like one of those movies where the mobster is narrating the movie. He is probably thinking “ If i just talk faster with a Brooklyn accent that will be entertaining enough.” Maybe they should have listened to Ready Player One for an example of narration perfection. Will Weaton sold the show!!!
The editor could have chopped this book in half and it would have been better.

51 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Boysmom
  • 2016-12-31

This book is SO MUCH FUN!!i

Where does Columbus Day rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've listened to a lot of really excellent books and this book is excellent in it's category. I was totally enjoying a well written piece of entertainment, narrated by the perfect narrator for the book and bam! It got even so much better!!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Columbus Day?

I don't like this question because it's asking for spoilers, but I think I can say when Skippy and Joe got together, without giving too much away.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, yes, yes! And I want the next book. NOW!!!

Any additional comments?

This is a 100% entertaining book. Not believable, but that was no way a goal of the writers. Entertaining, fun, exciting. If you like sci-if fun, go for it. You will not be disappointed.

51 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Eileen
  • 2018-01-30

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!

50 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Striker
  • 2017-01-20

An Excellent Sci-Fi Adventure

This was a really excellent book that kept me wanting to listen straight through... It was just about everything I could want in a good sci-fi book, and more!

The story begins with an alien invasion that takes the world by surprise. Power plants and critical infrastructure across the planet are targeted and Earth's military forces are no match for their overwhelming force. A military reservist and his buddies manage to capture one of the alien soldiers after their ship crash lands in their hometown. The main character treats him well and eventually releases him, bringing him to the attention of the military's top brass and winning the appreciation of the alien race.
The aliens are soon driven away by another superior alien force. Pegging the new aliens as the saviors of the planet, Earth governments are all too happy to send hundreds of thousands of soldiers off planet to fight along-side their technologically superior allies. However, their new "allies" may not be all that they appear to be, and a great deal of our military might is now off planet... Do they really have humanity's best interest in mind? Are our attackers and enemies really out to harm or destroy humanity?
The main character goes from a small town enlisted reservist to one of the last, best hopes for humanity. Can he, a single powerful ally, and a rag-tag group of soldiers protect the planet from the vastly superior technology of the other alien races in the galaxy? Can they pull Earth off of the front lines of a millennia-long proxy war?

This book was good for the first half but was positively outstanding by the last few chapters. Not only was it good, but it was actually full of great humor. I laughed out loud on multiple occasions. The writing really was excellent. I was actually pretty surprised at the direction it went, but that was a good thing! I can't wait to listen to the next book.

The narrator was top-notch. He's narrated several other books I've listened to and I couldn't be happier.

This book will be enjoyed by any fans of military or space sci-fi. It has everything from alien tech, land battles, space battles, and all of the characters are very realistic and believable. All of the military slang and jargon were straight out of your choice of military service. 5 stars all-around!

49 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Matthew
  • 2017-02-22

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.

48 people found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 2017-07-25

A lot of fun

A good pace, plenty of action, comedy, and a bit of drama. Physics were a little off, but hey, it's sci fi. A great read/performance none the less.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean-Michel P.
  • 2022-09-29

If you like space operas you gonna love this one

I don't wanna spoil anything so I keep it vague... It's starts like a bleak sci fi space opera that looks kinda realistic just to have a sudden plottwist and starts having a few very good laughs in it! But overall a really decent book if you like space operas! Narration is top notch!

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  • Ma mère est vielle
  • 2022-08-04

Dad jokes wayyy too heavy

I feel like I have a back seat on the story and I am not involved in it.
And the main character does not help..

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lewis Down
  • 2019-04-10

High-sci-fi through the eyes of an army grunt

amazing story, full of subverted expectations, heart-wrenching humanity, and deep moral choices. I wish I could say more without spoiling anything.