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Columbus Day

Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Written by: Craig Alanson
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 1
Length: 16 hrs and 23 mins
4.6 out of 5 stars (847 ratings)

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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 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.

23 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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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 ..

6 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

5 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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!

4 people found this helpful

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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Skippy makes it all worth it

The beginning is a bit boring, but after that the awesomeness begins and it's awesome!

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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  • Guernica
  • 2019-07-08

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.

139 people found this helpful

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  • Jake
  • 2019-04-14

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.

38 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-05

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.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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!

359 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.

228 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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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

598 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!

30 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.

51 people found this helpful

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  • Klaumbaz
  • 2017-08-02

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

6 people found this helpful

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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.

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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.