Columbus Day – Expeditionary Force # 1

I was recommended┬áthe Expeditionary Force series┬áby my buddy and I really enjoyed it. The author has an interesting story according to my buddy. He couldn’t find a publisher or an agent and so decided to self publish using Amazon. Now I don’t know if this is true (I couldn’t find a blog post or biography to corroborate) or how effective it was but I do know that this series and author is definitely worthy of a big fat book deal. I listened to the audio book, which was narrated by R. C. Bray, who is just fantastic. Bray does such a great job with all the different voices and I’m intrigued to check out more audio books with him as the narrator.

Columbus day follows Joe Bishop, a Mainer who is on some shore leave from his post in the Army. I love the way Bray does the Maine accent, it’s fantastic. I say ayuh a lot from my reading of Stephen King as a lot of his characters are Mainers as well. Joe Bishop and his accent felt familiar to me. It’s Columbus day in America and the sky and stars start sparkling strangely. Turns out it’s an alien invasion by these Hamster like creatures called the Ruhar. Craziness ensues and Earth is introduced to the wider milky way galaxy and it’s variety of alien inhabitants. A different species called the Kristang show up and kick the Ruhar off of Earth and form an alliance with humans. Having somehow capturing one of the hamsters that has shown up in Bishop’s little town in Maine he becomes infamous and dedicates himself to kicking some Ruhar ass however he possibly can.

The United Nations Expeditionary Force is formed and head out with the lizard like Kristang to learn how to fight and prove themselves. Bishop signs up and is accepted into UNEF of course. After some training with sort of new technology that the lizards allow us to have, the UNEF is given its first assignment on a Ruhar planet that is slowly being evacuated. Turns out the lizards are more like space Nazi’s than allies and the Ruhar aren’t so bad after all. The hierarchy of species and how the seemingly never ending war is fought was interesting but I still don’t have all the names and such down so I won’t go into the details of that.

At this point I was actually starting to get sick of Joe Bishop a little bit. It just seemed so damn obvious to me that the Kristang were space Nazi’s but Bishop doesn’t finally take the leap and believe they are the bad guys until a decent way into the book. Everything changes when the Ruhar take the planet back and then Joe finds an Elder AI that he dubs Skippy. I got super back into the book and Joe started annoying me way less once Skippy showed up. Their interactions are seriously hilarious and they are actually able to get some shit accomplished like getting the hell of the Ruhar world that humans have dubbed Paradise. Crazy space adventures ensue and Joe and a band of merry pirates, as they dub themselves, return to Earth and save the day.

I honestly can’t wait to listen to more Expeditionary Force. The world and characters that Alanson have created are really fantastic. It also helps that the main character has the same name as me.