Review: Columbus Day

Columbus Day
Columbus Day by Craig Alanson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are days when a good shoot-em-up, escapist sci-fi exactly fits the bill. Alanson’s ‘Columbus Day’ is exactly that. There’s something to be said for the Wisdom of Crowds (by Surowiecki, look it up), as the recommendation engine tells me that I’d like this book if I liked ‘We Are Legion’ (see my recent review). Commuting to and from work, I find that a good fiction story takes me out of my work-day stresses and gives me a smile, and sometimes an out-loud guffaw. Fortunately my vocal shenanigans are unnoticed during my windows-up commute.

The narrator is just perfect for this story; I can’t imagine reading this book silently, now that I’ve been through the performance. The accents, the voices, seem impossible to be coming from one narrator. Of course, the star character, a millennia-old artificial intelligence with the petulance and temperament of a small child is pitch-perfect and the source of endless amusement.

The Expeditionary Force is Earth’s last hope, as two separate alien species land on earth in quick succession, and we end up sending our best soldiers out, piggy-back-ing on the star carriers of one of the species, and entering into a galactic conflict that is way beyond our experience and imagination. All we can do is hang on … until Skippy the Magnificent enters the picture.

Then, hang on to your hat. An enjoyable, rollercoaster ride. It’s always a good sign when I arrive at my destination and have to sit in the driveway to finish a scene or a chapter.

(UPDATE: the sequel: Expeditionary Force is out, and also an enjoyable listen. The ragtag crew and the always-potty-mouthed AI land on a planet and high adventure and further shenanigans ensue).

CMIO’s take? Life balance. Work hard at work (or don’t), but don’t bring it home. Sometimes a fun book with a potty-humored AI is just the ticket to get over yourself, clear your head and emotions, and walk in at home with a smile on your face.

View all my reviews

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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