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Critical Mass

Expeditionary Force, Book 10
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 10
Length: 19 hrs and 25 mins
4.9 out of 5 stars (788 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Merry Band of Pirates are in desperate trouble after the end of their last mission, and the real danger to humanity is just getting started.

Hostile aliens have discovered there is something odd going on with wormholes in the galaxy, and their investigations could lead to finding a shortcut to Earth....

 PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2020 Craig Alanson (P)2020 Podium Audio

What listeners say about Critical Mass

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A veritable roller coaster of a Sci Fi series worthy of an Oscar at the very least.

I think this book series is by far the most enjoyable l have experienced in either reading or audible listening in almost 70 years. Engaging characters, great story lines, clever ,witty, funny and hilarious in parts. Ingenious cliff hangers and side stories with a satisfying finish. My thanks and praise to Craig Alanson for his enviable talent and R C Bray for his impressive readings.

2 people found this helpful

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another great instalment

loved the bloopers reel at the end. I always wait this series next book... but Craig, for the love of God, Margaret and Joe? come on.....pls. I'm sure I'm not the only one asking..... as always R.C. Bray does an outstanding performance.......keep up the AWESOME work boys👍👍

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surprises keep rolling

After listening to all 10 books, the author still keeps the suspense rolling. Book 10 Critical Mass has humanity continuing to fight for intergalatic survival. In thrilling scifi action with militaritic suspense the crazy band of human pirates and special forces, operating 2 starships seeks to protect humanity, whilst leading senoir species protagonist on a wild goose chase. With the help of an elder AI, humanity gains technology to even the playing field...but will it keep humanity safe?

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I did not see that coming!! F’ing brilliant!

Well done CA! I did not see they coming! Bloody brilliant. You have definitely set a high benchmark to top this! Best of luck. @RCBray - as always your talent is up there, with anyone that receives a lifetime achievement award! Haven’t spontaneously laughed and cried so hard recently. Thank you for choosing CA’s work!

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Awesome can't wait for the next instalment

I love the whole series, would be great to see this as a tv series

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fantastical adventures continue

Thankyou Craig Alanson for a wonderful sci fi journey and R C Bray for the brilliant voice acting! here's a cookie!

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When is the next one coming out?

Craig and RC have delivered as usual. Great story, great fun and great narration. Highly recommend to any reader who is looking for something both out of this world and out of the order. Skippy, Bishop and the Merry Band of Pirates continue to zoom across space trying to save the human race. A must read.

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Loved it all

This story line is fantastic it suits my non scientific brain. I enjoyed the continuation of getting to know and explore space through the characters.

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Yet another great read.

Yet again another great book by R.C & Craig. Lively, full of drama & suspense. Found it hard to stop listening. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

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fantastic series

A fantastic story with drama and suspense and a masterful voice actor, I highly recommend the whole series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-2020

Money Grabber.

Full of extremely boring conversation and pointless talk or description, page fillers. Half a chapter talks about how Bishop likes vegan food and the other half was trying to get me interested in buying the author's other series. Skips over important stuff but focuses on pointless events. Same old jokes are used and not much new materials are provided. Lazy writing and total money grabber. Disappointing. Last dime I spent on this author.

84 people found this helpful

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  • Greg
  • 05-08-2020

Well...that sucked

Its really hard to take a book plot seriously when 50% of the book is explaining why a certain path is the only way to do things....and then those explanations thrown to the wind on the next encounter. In the first/second books, this approach can be granted some measure of plausibility. By book 10....yeah, its just poor. I had skipped the first 4-5 chapters, because yeah it was that bad. The series has jumped the shark. We don't care who shot JR. He can neither confirm or deny that the book is good. Weapons of mass destruction have not been found. Take a pass.....unless you have completely forgotten the rest of the series....because maybe then its ok...maybe. The writing is ok.

74 people found this helpful

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  • Lauro
  • 04-08-2020

Narrator and Skippy rules

Awesome book :) but we need more books, currently the book requires more awesomenes , and Joe to get Laid.

55 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-08-2020

I finally had enough

the story was okay. but halfway it became the same rinse and repeat rutine from the the other books. (expect Armageddon) oh no.. earth will be attacked, save them, new threat again and again. still no character development. all the women in books could be very cool, but gets annoying. (raising an eyebrow, is disappointed, we will have words, uhh huh!!, suck it up) I finally had enough. Craig Alanson writes Joe and Skippy so good that you get to love the characters. the last 3-4 books the way the crew treated Skippy became too much. Very mean spirited. in the start of the books there was a good feeling in their banter. but the last 3-4 books it made me sick, that the only family Skippy ever had was constantly treating him like a thing they could all be cruel to. Basically a slave it disgusted me and destroyed the mood of the story totally for me R. C. Bray did a wonderful job as a voice actor.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Luke
  • 05-08-2020

Amazing

The last ten chapters, I couldn't stop listening. Thank Skippy this book didn't end on a cliffhanger as bad as the last one!!

40 people found this helpful

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  • Tony E.
  • 06-08-2020

Restoration of Awesomeness

After the numbness that we were left with at the end of book 9, book 10 starts with the customary unraveling of what seemed inevitable to an unexpected exit. It all turns out okay. I have to admit, I had a hard time getting through Mavericks, Book 2. It was a drag at times and I had to force myself to get through it. I did not have that problem with this book. The difference is Joe Bishop. Joe brings an energy through the narrative that is missing in any other part of the story with which he isn't involved. I found myself once again engaged, excited, and involved. There were some emotional parts in this story. I shed some tears of joy when we learned we could truly trust the friendship when the awesomeness was in doubt (stolen from someone else's review.) I laughed out loud several times in the last few chapters when what we've all been waiting for came around in the nature we were hoping it would. Fan service? Maybe, but it sure made up for the pain at the last book and I loved it. This book is high energy and it starting to tie up some of the loose ends that have been built in the previous 9 books, as well as the 3 side adventures. You can see a huge finale coming up in the next few books that will be extremely satisfying.

30 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-08-2020

Not worth it anymore

It's unfortunate to 2 star performance to make sure this is rated properly because RC Bray is great as always. I had 1 credit left on audible for months and after losing my job due to Covid and being unable to put money towards something like an audio book, I made sure to hold on to that last credit for months for this Book 10 because I was so looking forward to it and wanted to make sure I got to experience it. Book 9's cliffhanger was great. I was in a state of shock and "WTF" after what happened in Book 9. Within a couple of chapters of Book 10 I was disappointed. It completely wasted the awe and story that the series FINALLY built up to, and made it an extremely lazy way to rinse and repeat AGAIN. This series has been 80% rinse and repeat but had enough to keep me interested. Until now. Now, it's just insulting. Book 10 is a waste and clear sign the series is over. Any books coming out now are purely for a money grab. I don't say this as an upset reader. I loved the series, I respect the writer, and love RC Bray's work, but book 10 was 100% nothing more than previous books mashed into it but at an extremely slower pace and absolutely pointless chatter. Introduction of new characters, which should have been interesting, was an absolute slap to the reader with assumption we are stupid (Billy and Bob was just pathetic - I cringed when RC Bray had to read parts).

29 people found this helpful

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  • smb
  • 06-08-2020

Too much situation and not enough plot

I guess when you write so many books it must be difficult to write plot vs. situation. And there's the profit motive as well. The author wants to sell more books. My husband likes this series but I think that there's only enough plot in ten books to make about two or three books. End the series already.

28 people found this helpful

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  • James M.
  • 05-08-2020

Survive the first two chapters and you'll love it

I was going to go for a refund, but I loved the previous books so much that I would give it another shot. I have in fact given it 6 shots. By the middle of chapter 2, I am completely lost. Understand that through chapter 2 the story is not composed of full scenes, but tiny snippets. After chapter 3, the book was absolutely awesome.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Richard Lawrence
  • 05-08-2020

Excellent start to finish...

no spoilers.... you can trust the friendship, even if you can't always trust the awesomeness.

25 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-08-2020

The best series I have listened too

This is book 10,in an amazing series. My wife is having a baby (august 18th 2020) and I was just as excited to get critical mass on release the same month. I needed answers and this book delivered. I can only hope that this series continues as out of all the 100’s of audio books I have listened too this is by far the best sci fi

10 people found this helpful

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  • Sam
  • 13-08-2020

Best syfy ever

This must become an epic TV or movie series. When it happens RC Bray must be the voice of skippy. Imho

7 people found this helpful

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  • Bev carmody
  • 07-08-2020

Sooo Good, read it you greasy little monkeys.

Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant. So depressed after the last book, this make up for it by sooo much. Excellent writing and excellent narration . Listening to the outtakes at the end while typing, I'm crying with laughter. I can not recommend this series enough. Just don't drink hot beverages while listening to it. So many well written characters, so many different narrations with each one. The humour is catchy, the kids keep telling me a must stop calling them monkeys and laughing. Read the darn thing, you will get it.

5 people found this helpful

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  • STEVEN BAKER
  • 14-08-2020

Same Sh*t Different Book - RC Bray saved it for me

Well the cliff hanger of the last book was wasted. Most of the book is just filler and the story only continues in the last few chapters and then its great again. It was hard to get that far though. Saying that this may (fingers crossed) end up opening the story arc for future books with out the contraints of the story so far. It could do with being half the length without all the filler about vegan meals, kids, karen quotes and surfer dude as that was just stupid - should have stuck with the killer AI as he was a more interesting character. If the next one is as bad i am giving up.

4 people found this helpful

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  • joe sims
  • 06-08-2020

meh, okay, good, awesome. in that order

the 1st half felt dull and generally unnecessary but 2nd half made up for it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • S. Smith
  • 12-08-2020

Wow

I love this series and book 10 blew away my expectations! Thank you R.C. Bray for doing your awesome work with the voices that brings Craig Alanson’s story to life. Can’t wait until December for book 11. Oh really cool pictures (look at the PDF)

3 people found this helpful

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  • S. Morris
  • 03-09-2020

It's Like Some Sandwiches I've had

Let me start by saying that I love Craig Alanson's work, I'm going to say that right off the bat here. I was hooked on this series right from the first book, Columbus Day, and have eagerly looked forward to all the subsequent instalments. Critical Mass was no exception. In fact, I'd forgotten the brilliant cliffhanger we were left with after the previous book and only remembered when listening to the opening paragraphs in this book. Note to publishers: Why not give us a sort of "Last time" type recap by way of a preface or something? The time between books and the fact I've often read many other stories in the interim mean that I am usually scrabbling to play catch up when starting the next instalment of a long running saga. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, After much thought having recently finish the book, I've come to the conclusion that this story was a bit like some sandwiches I've had. It looks on the outside to be big and juicy, with plenty of filling. However, once you start to eat it, you find out that the biggest parts are actually the bread that encapsulate the-filling and that, disappointingly, their is little actual substance inside. In other words, the most substantial parts are either side of the main body and what lies within is rather thin. Alas, as much as I love these stories, Critical Mass suffers from a lack of what its title implies. The first part of this story, perhaps the first few chapters or so, are interesting and kept the plot and pace moving nicely. Then, rather than building on this, we then slow down quite a bit and more or less spend the majority of the "filling" of the book not doing very much to be honest. There is too much padding in terms of the jibing going on between Skippy and Joe and, as much fun as this can be at times, it is over used here I'm sorry to say. Given the book's 19 odd hour runtime, I found a significant part of this book really saw very little going on. We did get a brief spike in interest levels when the band of merry pirates get themselves stuck for a while, but this appears in hindsight to be a morsel, a small piece of chicken we discover in our sparse sandwich filling and then we revert to lots of not a lot until the final act where things kick off again. The book could perhaps have been halved in length and we would have gotten all the important parts we needed for this story. I hate to use the phrase, but it felt as if this story suffered from style over content much of the time. Don't get me wrong, I am all for the "slow burner" type story, but really this was a bit too much. As I was reading this, I had to wonder if Alanson, now a full time writer as I understand it and likely subject to publisher deadlines and minimum page counts etc, has forced the author to extend this story out artificially in order to both produce something within the expected time scales and to the required length. Of course, I could be very wrong on this, but this is how this story struck me as I reflect upon it afterwards. If this is so, then slaving oneself to a publisher for the mighty Dollar can sometimes lead to a loss of quality as they lack the time to really do their best work. I hope this isn't the case, I really do. This series as a whole has been spectacular and maybe Alanson has simply done what a lot of writers have and written themselves into a bit of a corner. In other words, they have an end point they want to reach and the trick is how to get there. In my view this story suffers from that as we find ourselves in another dire situation towards the end of the book, one where I thought the book was going to leave us hanging on for the next instalment. There seemed no way out, no clever solution and just when you thought our heroes were done, Skippy gets them out by ... umm ... just getting really angry? To me, that smacks of just not being able to come up with something more plausible in the time he had or just not able to come up with his usual clever escape, so as the plot required the rescue of our heroes, just getting really mad was the easy answer in that case. The other difficulty I had with this book was the complex threads regarding worm holes, their locations and relevance to Earth and other places. These plot points were all built over a long series of books and trying to keep this stuff in your head in order to comprehend this plot element was too much for me. I was confused as to what worm hole was what, why it was important etc. I hate to put a negative spin on this review. As I've said, I love these books, Alanson's writing and R.C Brays' superb narration, but I have to call it as I see it. Reading the final stages of this book, I got the impression that this story arc was coming to an end, that Allanson had basically exhausted the possibilities and was wrapping things up. His handling of it also meant that the spin off series of stories, The Mavericks, also was thrown into doubt as to how that might continue. Sure, there was some dialogue right near the end that perhaps hinted at possible unrest that will likely lead to another book, but I kind of felt the main thrust of the series had now run its course. In conclusion, you still must get this book if you've read the series to date, that goes without saying. However, this 'sandwich' sadly left me somewhat disappointed.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 13-08-2020

why are there not more of these?

The combination of Craig and Lord Bray is again a winning one. If you like science fiction and have a sense of humour, you have to listen to this. Begin with Columbus Day though. these books are Epic.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mohamed Alibi
  • 07-08-2020

Good book like all the previous in the series

Good story but at a certain point I thought this will be my last book I thought the book will just keep on talking about side stories, but then it got really good. Can't wait for the next book December seems like along time.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Byron Correia
  • 12-08-2020

Hey Joe! ha ha.

love this series! oncore, oncore. Just not in the form of an opera and no singing.

1 person found this helpful