Series overview and review of Expeditionary Forces by Craig Alanson

Narrated by: R.C. Bray

Story & Initial thoughts

Below is the official publisher’s summary, but before you read what the publisher says its about.. essentially – aliens, fighting for the human race, advanced technology, war strategies (to some extent), a bit of comedy, a few notable characters, and… I must say, excellent narration by R.C. Bray.

Also, know that the audible reviews were generally shouting high praise, which is what really got me to listen to this series.

If none of this sounds interesting… then stop reading now.  If you’re intrigued, then read the publisher’s official 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.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2016 Podium Publishing


I have given up mid-way through book 3.  The reason being, that while I enjoyed book 1 & 2, and the story was interesting enough… it was already starting to get stale.  And to be honest there’s many great books out there that I really WANT to read, not just find it so-so.

So… I stopped.  Also, I fell asleep somewhere in the 3rd book, and then I decided that I didn’t really care if I missed anything.  (There seemed to be a lot of repetition to be honest)

So that’s me, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be you.

If you are a sci-fi fan, and you’ve just come out of a fairly intense book and need a bit of a relaxer book series, then this might be for you.

Note. I’m not the only 1 that says the series starts to get stale.  You can find many reviews on audible for the books.

Starting from book 3, they hint at something similar.


The narration is great.

R.C. Bray also narrated a book called Hell Divers which I listened to, which I originally thought that he didn’t have much range in his voice acting.   However I eventually realised that as the story was set in a post-apocalyptic waste world, the gravelly voice that he’d chosen for most of his characters… actually made a lot of sense, as they were all suffering from some kind of cancer, and on death’s door etc. thus the voice choice .

In this series however, he clearly shows his range.  Many characters have wildly different ways of talking and different characters, and RC Bray manages to pull all of them off flawlessly.

Series overview book by book

Columbus Day, book 1 (16 hrs 23 mins) – The hamster-like aliens (that’s actually what the book refers to them as well) officially known as the Ruhar invade earth, human fight back, then the lizard-like Kristang arrive and chase them off.  Then make a deal with humans to join the galactic war and fight the hamsters off in space.  Thus creating the 1st ‘Expeditionary Force’.

Humans soon learn about the hierarchical species of both factions fighting the war, and slowly understand that they’ve been tricked, and are on the wrong side.  The main character, Joe Bishop, luckily comes across a sentient, ultra-intelligent Artificial Intelligence, looking a lot like a beer can, supposedly built by ‘the elders’ (a highly advanced super race that has long since disappeared) and who might be able to help Joe, and thus the humans out of their little predicament.

SpecOps, book 2 (15 hrs 49 mins)

  • The ragtag crew of the spaceship that Joe Bishop and the beer can AI (now known as Skippy) managed to capture has arrived back to earth, but is now being sent back out on a mission to properly ensure that Earth is cut off, and therefore safeguarded from attack by all fighting factions for which the human race want nothing to do with.

Special Operations teams are on board just in case a mission needs to be taken whilst back out in space.  For which of course, it does.

Paradise, book 3 (15 hrs 53 mins)

-The UN wants to find out the status of the humans left on Paradise (the human nick-named Planet that the original Expeditionary Force was sent to to fight against the hamsters for the lizard aliens)  Of course, this mission goal is likely to come into conflict with their 1st 2 goals being 1. Make sure that humans are not seen to having technology more than they do, therefore don’t endanger the earth.  & 2. Help Skippy (the A.I.) get in contact with ‘The Collective’ (AI collective of knowledge).

Trouble on Paradise, book 3.5 (5 hrs 48 mins)

  • A book that really should have been part of book 3 (as they are already on Paradise halfway through this book) This book tells the story of the humans left behind on the Alien planet they were originally sent to protect, but are now in the midst of changing allegiances between the 2 more advanced alien fighting factions.
  • Most reviewers on audible state this was a waste of a credit, so get this on a sale or from a different source or maybe not at all.

Black Ops, book 4 (16 hrs 44 mins)

  • The elite crew of the pirate ship UNS Flying Dutchmanhad a simple mission: determining whether the Thuranin (cyborg aliens which are directly above the lizard-like aliens in the faction that are fighting against the hamsters & which show jeapodary for humans)  are sending another star-ship to Earth. Along the way, they became sidetracked by securing a future for the UNEF troops on the planet Paradise. When asked whether Earth was now safe, their ancient alien AI responded “Not so much”…now they have to deal with the consequences.

(taken mainly from the official publishers summary ©2017 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing)

Zero Hour, book 5 (17 hrs 20 mins)

  • The Expeditionary Forces have somehow sparked an alien civil war, their trusty ship is falling apart, and their sarcastic AI, Skippy is apparently out of commission, maybe even dead… the crew have to either revive him, or find a way on their own.
  • Many reviewers on suggest that the series has gone way downhill by this point, and that this particular book could benefit from a lot of editing to cut out repetition.

All of this being said, if you’re interested, check out the series available on

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