I was a big fan of the science fiction Expeditionary Force book series written by Craig Alanson. Unfortunately, I’ve reached the point where I have to call it quits on the series.
I began reading the series shortly after the first book was available on Kindle. With nearly every book after that, I listened to it through Audible.
Before the eighth book in the series, Armageddon came out on August 8, I pre-purchased the Kindle version. The Audible version will not be available until sometime later next month. I didn’t want to wait for the Audible version.
As soon as I began reading it, I felt lost. There were things going on that made no sense to me. It was as though I had missed a book in the series. The thing is, I hadn’t. I listened to the seventh book in the series, Renegades. Why then was I reading about events that somehow took place between book 7 and book 8? I was a member of the Expeditionary Force By Craig Alanson Facebook group. I began scrolling down in the group’s posts and discovered I needed to first listen to Homefront, an audio drama based on the Expeditionary Force universe.
This was news to me. When the audio drama was announced, it was implied this was a stand-alone story. I inferred I would not have to listen to the audio drama to keep up with the story. I was wrong. The audio drama was now described as book 7.5 in the series.
To begin with, I didn’t want to use one of my Audible credits to buy a six-hour story. Almost all of the books I buy on Audible are at least ten hours in length. Most are much longer than that. Secondly, I didn’t want to partake of the audio drama because it didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t want to hear actors portray the characters I loved by anyone other than the great R.C. Bray. He’s the narrator of all the Audible books in the series. Although he’s voicing some of the characters, former Star Trek actors are voicing many of the other characters in Homefront.
Discovering I needed to get the audio drama to continue with the series, I felt I had no choice. I bit the bullet and used an Audible credit on Homefront.
I immediately regretted my purchase. The quality of the audio was so bad, I found it unlistenable. The voice actors sounded as though they were speaking their lines with empty toilet paper tubes over their mouths. If I had to guess, a sound engineer recorded one of the voice actors with the wrong settings. Instead of re-recording all of their lines, they went in and downgraded all of the other voice actor’s recordings to match. Compounding the problem was the fact low-fi music was playing in the background along with random, low-quality sound effects.
One of the great things about Audible is that you can always get a refund if you don’t like a book you’ve purchased. So that’s what I did. No matter how crucial Homefront was to the ongoing story, I could not listen to it. As much as I love the ongoing story created by Craig Alanson, I find myself in the inescapable position of having to tap out on the series.
I’m done with Expeditionary Force. It’s time to move on from the series.