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SpecOps

Expeditionary Force, Book 2
Narrated by: R.C. Bray
Series: Expeditionary Force, Book 2
Length: 15 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,048 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Colonel Joe Bishop made a promise, and he's going to keep it: taking the captured alien starship Flying Dutchman back out. He doesn't agree when the UN decides to send almost 70 elite Special Operations troops, hotshot pilots, and scientists with him; the mission is a fool's errand he doesn't expect to ever return from. At least this time, the Earth is safe, right?

Not so much.

©2016 Craig Alanson (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not as good as book one but still interesting

There is only so many times you can follow the formula of Skippy the Macguffin mocks human crew as dumb. Ship gets in trouble. Joe thinks of a cunning plan to get them out of trouble. AI has a tantrum because he didn’t think of it.

I truely hope the author has that out of his system now as I continue the series.

Once again though, the narration by RC Bray is brilliant

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

not as good as the first book

a decent story but a little repetitive, formulaic at times. having skippy be annoyed that he didn't think of an idea got old after the first time. by the end it was grating.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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I actually enjoyed this better than the first book

Love it! Skippy sure is an A-Hole though ;) just the right balance of adventure, suspense and humor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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excellent series

really enjoying this series...
R.C Bray really brings to life all of the writers characters and makes the whole audio book experience even better.
I usually look for this narrator for this reason....

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Sublime! A true master piece

Craig Alanson has a gift! Logic, suspense, technical knowledge, social awareness and an enlightening sense of humour. A gift to produce a magnificent story stitched together with a majestic and fluid style of writing.
And hats of to RC bray for bringing the words , story and Characters to life. I love the relationship Joe and Skippy have - priceless!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Dan
  • 09-04-2019

Good but not so good

It’s a good continuation of the story and the law is building well but this book was far slower than the first and started to get slightly repetitive. I will buy the next one and hope that it’s a bit faster. Would recommend.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant just brilliant!

A good story made great by humour and brilliant naration. Cant wait for the next book

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed the first book

This book became very repetitive, basically recycling the same situation and banter through the book. Didn't enjoy this nearly as much.

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Great audiobook

Good continuation of the story opening plots for things to come. I lobe Bishop and Skipy interaction. Always makes me laugh

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awesome

Awesome narration and shoreline, kept me interested and laughing the whole way. wo u of highly recommend to all.

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  • Daniel
  • 26-04-2017

Repetitive and watered-down

The story seemed forced and less important then book 1. What really started to bother me was the same 2 or 3 scenerios kept playing out over and over. Skippy has no plan, Joe comes up with plan, Skippy cant believe a monkey came up with a plan. Tbat happend about 5 times i swear. Even phrases and information was repeateded. The performance was top notch, the writing was lazy.

96 of 110 people found this review helpful

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  • DMITRY
  • 28-03-2017

Sadly repetitive

What disappointed you about SpecOps?

Book 2 takes a few elements that worked fairly well in Book 1 and repeats them ad naseum to fill the pages. Did the publisher require a specific page count from the author? The plot is basically a loose collection of randomly appearing, insurmountable problems that end up being resolved by (1) Skippy, using another one of his god-like, deus ex machina powers that aren't mentioned until he explains the solution or (2) Joe's "brilliant" idea that Skippy for some reason could not foresee despite his superpowers, followed by Skippy's grudging acknowledgement of monkeys being smarter than he thought and "I hate my life and monkeys" screams.... Rinse and repeat N times to fill the book.

The rest is filler without much character or plot development. We don't get much in terms of world building, interactions with various aliens or Elders, but we get a ton of pages about Newark. The constant banter between Joe and Skippy worked well in the first book, but eventually became really repetitive and formulaic. Also, Joe's constant inner monologue is cringe-worthy - we get it, you have a strong sense of duty to save everyone and also don't feel like you deserve the promotion to colonel, but how many times does it need to be mentioned???

Would you ever listen to anything by Craig Alanson again?

No, if Book 3 in this series is like Book 2. I liked the first book, but this is just lazy.

What about R.C. Bray’s performance did you like?

Excellent narration.

45 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Lloyd
  • 19-02-2018

excellent world/universe... terrible writing

What did you like best about SpecOps? What did you like least?

I really liked the first book despite instances of poor dialog. The universe Alanson has built and the plot itself is engaging.

I picked up the second book thinking that these issues would be resolved after the first, but I was wrong. They only became worse.

a) So much repetitive language. The author seems reticent to use pronouns instead of repeating the same noun within a 1-3 sentence span.
b) All conversations with Skippy just get more and more annoying. The same jokes are used on repeat and they were only marginally funny the first time.
c) besides the main plot line and the universe the characters inhabit, this reads like a sub-par fan fiction. the protagonist is self-indulgent; it sounds like the internal dialog of someone in middle school.
d) the jokes are awful. a lot of 3-stooges physical comedy and repetitive interplay with Skippy about humans being monkeys.

Alanson's world has a lot of potential, but this material is in need of a good editor. This novel and the last should be re-written into a single volume with at least half of the dialogue removed.

I will probably finish this one out as i'm already 5 hours in, but much of it is painful and don't think I can handle another one.

Which character – as performed by R.C. Bray – was your favorite?

The narrator did the best that could be expected with the material he had to work with.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Scott F.
  • 03-02-2018

Repetitive

The same plot from the first book is repeated time and again. I liked the first book, but like so many series the second book brings nothing novel to the story line.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Aaron M. Benzing
  • 15-11-2017

Welcome to an outer space version of Groundhog Day, but boring.

After the twists and turns of the first book, this sequel was a huge disappointment. I kept listening hoping that it would get better, it did not. Here, I will save you 8 hours... Skippy is really smart, Joe is a dumb monkey but comes up with a good plan, Skippy is mad that Joe had a better idea than him, the plan works, bananas for everyone, repeat. Your Welcome!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 18-03-2017

WE HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY by NO PATIENCE MAN

BREAKING IT DOWN BARNEY STYLE
I wanted to BLUFF IT, but it is your money. I liked this book and will continue the series, but I did not love it. The book is very funny and that is what saves it. It does have some SCIENCY STUFF to the point of over my head. We are talking lots of physics with wormholes and flat universes. I like the main character Joe. I like the fact that he shows humility, but yet is in charge. It is entertaining 90% of the time. I liked the planet of the week, which this week is an Ice Planet.

BONUS OR BONE US
Keep in mind, I said I like the book and I am going to continue the series. When I listen to book 3, I will wear my lucky underwear. YEA, LUCKY UNDERWEAR IS A REAL THING. For the first hour or two, the sarcastic SKIPPY almost becomes too much. Almost every line is a sarcastic remark by him. I love this type of humor, but the first hour was annoying. The jokes are repeated so many times, that I found myself giving the sarcastic remark before Joe or Skippy did. You always know that Joe is going to think up something Skippy does not think up. You know that Skippy will get upset over that fact. You know that the solution will almost always involve Skippy listening in on the enemy's communications and often manipulating them to make the enemy see or hear something different than the truth. When it is not that, it will have something to do with Skippy making a small worm hole. After a while it became SEMPER TEDIUM. With all that, there is still some LOL moments towards the end and of course the love that is growing between Skippy and Joe.

THAT'S ARE STORY AND WE'RE STICKING TO IT
I am also very interested in the mystery of the Elders, along with a new mystery, involving an unknown race that is using Elder technology for evil uses.

IT IS BETTER TO BE SILENT AND BE THOUGHT AN IDIOT, THAN TO SPEAK AND REMOVE ALL DOUBT

R.C. Bray is no idiot and I will always listen to him speak.

221 of 265 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Noon At Midnight
  • 15-02-2018

Repetitive. Hesitant to Buy the Third Book

I love the fact that it's 15 hours and it's something to keep my mind from going numb when I am on the treadmill, but just barely. The reader has a dynamic voice, which makes up for what the writing lacks. Characters don't develop so who they are on page 10 is who they are on page 1000 --- basically which part of the galaxy they replay the same skit over and over again changes but the book ends where it begins with character and plot development a good author could have accomplished in 3 paragraphs. I am heading to the gym, so I guess I use another credit and get the 3rd....oh well....here's to hoping.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mickey
  • 20-11-2017

Painfully Repetitive

From Chapter 14 on it's like reading/ listening to the same chapter over and over again. In book one, the saving grace was Skippy, now he's become... just ... annoying. With the same "stupid monkey" or "masturbation" joke over and over again. It was honestly hard to get through. So much so that I don't think I'll continue to book 3.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jenna Keefe
  • 12-04-2017

Rinse and repeat

This book takes the same joke from the first book and repeats it over and over and over and over and over...get the picture? I'm not sure why people think it's funny because there is nothing clever about this book. While book one was somewhat original and fun this book is just boring. The characters are flat and the main character is made into a god-like perfect human who can do no wrong and is infinitely humble even when he didn't do anything wrong. Skippy gets really old really fast. certainly won't continue with this series.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • B. Phillips
  • 16-12-2017

Too much Bromance!

The budding bromance between Joe and Skippy is way overboard in this book. That and the repetitive crisis that stumps Skippy but Joe is able, with his monkey brain, come up with an technically ingenious solution - every time. It was a good formula in Book 1 but there is no need to beat readers over the head with it. This book is like a modern action movie; there is no fear of impending doom concerning the good guys, they easily defeat the super villains every time.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • 08-03-2017

Take my money and give me book 3

Well book two was just as amazing as book one can't wait for book 3
R C brey has done a outstanding job again.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • james smith
  • 09-03-2017

Great!

really enjoyable, just as good as the first book! I can't wait for the third book in the series.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Rockgoby
  • 12-03-2017

Excellent SciFi Silliness

What did you like most about SpecOps?

This audiobook is just a lot of fun.

What was one of the most memorable moments of SpecOps?

The whole adventure was enjoyable from start to finish.

Which character – as performed by R.C. Bray – was your favourite?

Skippy - the AI character is a bit of a one trick pony on the joke front, but somehow the joke always remains amusing.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes - definately. It was a virtual page turner...

Any additional comments?

This book, in literary terms, probably does not stack up against the best scifi - but that is missing the point. It is great escapist fun and a thoroughly enjoyable listen. It sounded like Mr. Bray enjoyed reading it - and he did another great job. Please hurry with No. 3!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SBRAL
  • 10-03-2017

Damn monkeys...

Yet another awesome instalment. Excellent book, once again well read by R C Bray and I really can't wait for the next part. 5/5

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rob
  • 10-03-2017

THAT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME

Next please.........
More more more more more more more more more more more I need more.


Gimme MOAR.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 09-03-2017

Forget Siri, We Need More Skippy!

I think there's a very simple way to review this book. If you've read the first book and want some more, then get this book because the adventure just takes off in the same way. There's more Barney, more Skippy, more irreverent monkey insults and more great action.

RC Bary the microphone maestro continues to do his thing and I grow more in awe of his talents as a narrator with every passing word I hear from him. He's on top form with this performance and I really get the impression that he has particularly enjoyed reading this series so far.

Even though this really is space opera and the kind of thing to give plot hole pedants nightmares Alanson creates a universe with a little depth, has interesting sci-fi ideas and gives his books a sense of action and adventure.

Maybe I should grow up more but it had me both laughing out loud and rooting for Joe and his merry band of pirates the whole way through. So, when's the next one out?

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • S. Morris
  • 25-03-2017

More Cunning Monkeys and Skippy Magic

After reading the first book in this series, I was eager to get right into
the second one. I was so pleased that the second book had only just been
released on Audible and so no waiting time and as anyone who has read a
fantastic book knows, it's the waiting for the next instalment which is the
killer.

So, I fed on Spec Ops, the second instalment of the Expeditionary Force
series with a voracious appetite and I am thrilled to report that it is
every bit as good as the first. So often one can find an excellent opener to
a series only to find that the next book is somewhat of an anti-climax.
Remarkably, Craig Alanson has maintained beautiful consistency here and
every bit of the Bishop and Skippy interactions you came to love in the
first book are here in the second. Just perfect continuity of character and
plot.

One of the key elements in this and the first book that I have come to love
is the often hilarious conversations between Joe Bishop and the A.I known as
Skippy. Alanson has come up with such great characters in both Skippy and
Bishop that the interactions between the two are wonderful. This and the
last book have probably been the only science fiction novels I've actually
laughed out loud while listening too. Alanson has created the perfect real
world balance between humour and serious storyline. His writing genius is
that he has created a balance which feels just so natural as if he
transcribed the conversations from real incarnations of his creations and
put them into his book. I have read quite a bit of science fiction and
although I have many more authors to read in this genre, I can say that so
far I've found this series from Craig Alanson rank in my top 5 books of all
time. That top five includes both his first and second book so, as you can
see, I am pretty enamoured with this writer and his superb story.

The other thing Alanson does so amazingly well is to come up with really
dire situations and then between Skippy and Bishop, come up with a truly
ingenious response. All this wonderful characterization and engrossing plot
is woven together into a naturally flowing narrative. It's as if the author
has sat you down and is telling you the story himself as if it really
happened.

Now, having said all of the above, what really compliments this wonderful
series of books so superbly is the totally excellent narration provided by
R.C Bray. It's true to say that a good book can be destroyed by a poor
narrator but it's also true that an excellent story is elevated even further
by a great narrator. The essence of the story and the characters Alanson has
written are perfectly realized by Bray's wonderful reading of this book. I
am so pleased that Bray was the one selected for this project as I can think
of no other, bar none I have listened to, that could do this book more
justice.

As I am a reader that notices tiny inconsistencies, I have to make mention
of two small such examples I noticed. At the end of book 1 we are told that
the expedition about to go forth will have 14 scientists aboard. By the
opener of the second book which resumes right after the first, this number
has reduced to 12. The crew compliment of a Thorranin star carrier as
specified by Skippy was 87. In book 2 it was mentioned that the crew
compliment was 78. Perhaps simple typos but, really, who cares?

When I reached the end of the book I wasn't even sure if a third instalment
was in the offing but was thrilled to find that a sample of the next
instalment, Paradise, was provided and it was read by R.C Bray. This book
hints at the story taking on a parallel timeline as Bishop's old friends
"Corn Pone" and "Ski" are featured as they adapt to life under the Ruhar.
This is another very promising thing that Alanson has shown in his story
development and I look forward to the release of this title with great
anticipation.

Spec Ops is another superb story from Craig Alanson and if you liked the
first book then you will love this one too. These two books are the best
reads I've had in a long while in this and any other genre for that matter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Rich88
  • 11-03-2017

awesome

it was awesome R C Bray really brought Skippy to life and have the story a whole lot more depth it was very entertaining

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Patrick Buckland
  • 10-03-2017

Chrome Beer Can of excellence

Any additional comments?

I love this book. The banter between Joe and Skippy is hilarious and those hateful lizards have no chance. R.C Bray delivers a spectacular performance, can't wait for book three

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • David
  • 09-03-2017

A good listen

I normally listen to a book over a week or so, this one I could not put down. Can not wait for the next one

4 of 5 people found this review helpful