Review: Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson

Book Details and Links

Author: Craig Alanson
Publisher: Indie Publication
Release Date: 11th Jan 2016
Page Count: 303



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….

Columbus Day by Craig Alanson


An amazing military sci-fi that I didn’t know existed.

It wasn’t until recently that I found out about the existence of the Expeditionary Force series by Craig Alanson. The reason I mention this is that book 1, Columbus Day, was released in 2016 and there are literally thousands of raving reviews for the book already out there in all the usual places. How have I not heard about this book before?? Not only are there a crap load of reviews but there is also 11 books already in existence which is fantastic news as the first book was easily one of the best sci-fi I have ever read. And here is why…

I’m not too sure if the author is ex-military or if he immersed himself in military culture but Craig Alanson has hit the mark with the humour in Columbus Day. Not just any humour but in the specific type of humour that tickles the funny bone of soldiers. Now as a veteran of the British Army I can tell you that the humour in this book connected with me straight away and I almost felt like I was back in the Army serving alongside some great mates once again. Hats off to Alanson for this one. If you ever want to know the type of things soldiers talk and laugh about then pick up a copy of Columbus Day as it covers a huge spectrum of what goes through a soldiers head most of the time.

Now while I was listening to the audiobook I realised that I could listen to it while I worked out. This was fantastic at first because I could hit two birds with one stone but a word of warning… don’t be lifting heavy weights while you do listen. The humour in this book will hamper your progress. I would be halfway through a rep when some witty remark would be made and my body would just give up. Oh and FYI the audiobook if great. The narrator, R.C. Bray, has a voice that fits the main character Joe Bishop perfectly. A better match is not possible.

The setting of Columbus Day as many in science fiction is deep space and Alanson does a great job creating the settings throughout the book be it on Earth, an alien planet or on a spaceship. The descriptions are good and to the point. There is no endless droning on about places for the sake of it. If you are a regular reader of my reviews then you will know just how serious I am about world building and I can say that I really enjoyed what Alanson has done in Columbus Day.

I feel like it is worth mentioning that Columbus Day is what I would consider a soft sci-fi. By that I mean that all the elements of space travel, alien weapons and technology etc. are explained to you during the read. You are not expected to know anything going into Columbus Day. I know some people may be turned off by heavy sci-fi so I just wanted to point that out.

I would also like to mention that although nothing in this book is offensive there are times when the certain issues are raised. The main one I think worth mentioning are references to slavery and inferior species. Again it is nothing that is meant to cause offence but it is talked about and is a major factor in the book.

Okay so overall if you like a good dose of humour, a good splash of action, interplanetary travel all while standing in the shoes of a soldier then Columbus Day is for you. Definitely. Pick up a copy or if you can then I would highly recommend listening to the audiobook as the narrator really brings Joe Bishop and Skippy to life.

Professional Reader

3 thoughts on “Review: Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force #1) by Craig Alanson

Add yours

  1. I am a huge fan of MilSF, and yet, I’ve never heard of this one before now. Maybe because it’s self pubbed, but still, not going to miss out. Will see if I can track down a copy up here in the frozen north! Thanks for the great review, Dean.

    Liked by 1 person

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