Columbus Day - excellent humorous sci-fi
I have a pretty poor track record when it comes to humorous Sci-Fi books. It is not uncommon for me to get my hopes up by reading reviews that claim a book is hilarious only to be disappointed when I discover that the humor just doesn't resonate with me. In fact, I have been disappointed enough times that I usually steer clear of this sub genre, so I am glad that I took a chance on this one. Perhaps my past experiences kept my expectations low, but this book managed to not only keep me interested but it also had me laughing out loud at times. Kudos to Craig Alanson for finding a nice balance between serious sci-fi topics and irreverent humor that kept me interested for more than just the laughs.
This one starts the way many a sci-fi book does, with an attack on Earth out of nowhere by an alien race with vastly superior technology. Of course, those aliens may have power armor and advanced weaponry but are they really ready for the likes of Army Specialist Joe Bishop? Probably not and that is where the fun starts. Bishop always finds himself in the right place at the wrong time and it seems the universe always has a way of ensuring that something bizarre is in store for him. Right from the beginning Bishop's sense of humor endeared him to me as a main character and I happily went along for the wild ride that was in store for him the rest of the way.
At times, the story is deeper than one would expect for a book with this kind of humor and that is both a blessing and a curse that keeps you on your toes. Just when you think things have gotten pretty serious and you are starting to consider what it actually means to be human, a new character gets introduced that dials up the nonsense to 11. This is likely the make or break point for every reader and you will either find it funny enough to continue or walk away in disgust for having wasted your time. I did not bounce off this one at all and I enjoyed it enough to continue on with the series.
For audiobook fans, R. C. Bray just knocks this one out of the park. Having listened to other books by Bray I would not have pegged him for having the ability to handle the range required to pull this off but I could not have been more wrong in my thinking. His performance is perfect and I am certain he makes the experience much better than just reading.