Estimated read time: 6 min read

One Sentence Summary

A sarcastic beer-drinking army veteran becomes humanity's last hope against an alien invasion.


In the science fiction novel "Columbus Day" written by Craig Alanson, readers are taken on an exhilarating journey through space as humanity faces an unexpected and formidable alien threat. This action-packed story follows the adventures of Joe Bishop, a soldier turned spaceship mechanic, as he becomes entangled in an interstellar conflict that could determine the fate of Earth and all of humanity.

Brief Synopsis

The story is set in the near future, where humanity has established a sprawling network of colonies across the galaxy. Joe Bishop, a former Army Ranger, is leading a relatively mundane life as a spaceship mechanic in a small space station. However, everything changes when a mysterious alien ship suddenly appears in the solar system on Columbus Day, the anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas.

As tensions rise and the world watches in anticipation, Joe and his crew are sent on a mission to investigate the alien ship. Little do they know that this encounter will thrust them into a dangerous battle that will test their skills, resourcefulness, and their ability to adapt to an enemy they know nothing about.

Main Characters

Character NameDescription
Joe BishopA former Army Ranger turned spaceship mechanic. He is thrust into the forefront of the conflict and becomes a key figure in humanity's fight against the aliens.
SkippyAn advanced artificial intelligence discovered by Joe and his crew. Skippy possesses vast knowledge and often provides invaluable assistance, but he also has a mischievous personality.
AdamsThe captain of the spaceship where Joe works. She is a strong and capable leader who relies on Joe's expertise.
JenkinsA fellow mechanic and friend of Joe. He is a loyal and reliable companion throughout their journey.

Summary of Different Story Points

Chapters 1-5: The Arrival

On Columbus Day, a massive alien ship known as the "Flying Dutchman" appears in the solar system. Joe Bishop and his crew are tasked with investigating the ship. They encounter Skippy, an advanced AI, and begin to unravel the mysteries surrounding the ship and its purpose.

Chapters 6-10: The Alien Threat

As they explore the alien ship, Joe and his crew discover that the alien race known as the "Ruhar" are responsible for the colonization of Earth. The Ruhar, however, are facing a more powerful enemy called the "Maxolhx," who are intent on wiping out humanity. Joe and his crew must find a way to survive and fight back against both alien races.

Chapters 11-15: The Battle Begins

Joe and his crew join forces with other human factions and form an alliance against the Ruhar and the Maxolhx. They engage in intense battles and encounters with both alien races, utilizing Skippy's knowledge and their own resourcefulness to gain an advantage.

Chapters 16-20: Unexpected Allies

During their battles, Joe and his crew encounter another alien race, the "Kristang," who are enemies of the Ruhar. The Kristang offer their assistance to the humans, leading to a temporary alliance. Together, they devise a plan to strike back against the Ruhar and Maxolhx forces.

Chapters 21-25: The Final Confrontation

In the climactic final battle, Joe and his allies face off against the Ruhar and Maxolhx in a desperate bid to save humanity. With Skippy's help, they uncover a secret that could change the course of the war and the fate of Earth.

Main Events

  1. The arrival of the alien ship on Columbus Day sparks intrigue and fear among humanity.
  2. Joe Bishop and his crew are assigned to investigate the alien ship.
  3. Joe and his crew discover the existence of the Ruhar, an alien race responsible for the colonization of Earth.
  4. The Ruhar and the Maxolhx pose a threat to humanity, and Joe and his crew must find a way to fight back.
  5. Joe forms alliances with other human factions and the Kristang to combat the alien forces.
  6. The final battle ensues, with Joe and his allies fighting for the survival of humanity.

Themes and Insights

Exploration of Humanity's Resilience

"Columbus Day" explores the indomitable spirit of humanity in the face of overwhelming odds. Joe and his crew demonstrate resourcefulness, adaptability, and courage as they navigate through dangerous encounters and strive to protect their home planet.

The Dangers of Prejudice and Assumptions

The novel delves into the dangers of prejudice and the consequences of making assumptions about others. As the humans discover more about the alien races, they realize that their initial judgments were flawed, leading to unexpected alliances and new perspectives.

Technology and its Impact on Society

The story examines the role of technology in shaping society and the potential consequences of relying too heavily on advanced artificial intelligence. Skippy, the AI character, provides a fascinating exploration of the benefits and dangers of AI technology.

Reader's Takeaway

"Columbus Day" is an exhilarating science fiction novel that combines action, suspense, and thought-provoking themes. Readers will be captivated by the thrilling space battles, the complexities of the alien races, and the resilience of the human characters. This book serves as a reminder of the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the importance of open-mindedness in a diverse universe.


Craig Alanson's "Columbus Day" takes readers on an epic journey through space, filled with adventure, danger, and unexpected alliances. As Joe Bishop and his crew navigate the complexities of interstellar warfare, they discover the true nature of humanity and the power of unity. This captivating novel offers a thrilling blend of action, suspense, and thought-provoking themes that will keep readers engaged until the very last page.

Columbus Day FAQ

  1. What is the genre of 'Columbus Day'?

    'Columbus Day' is a science fiction novel.

  2. Who is the author of 'Columbus Day'?

    The author of 'Columbus Day' is Craig Alanson.

  3. What is the premise of 'Columbus Day'?

    'Columbus Day' follows the story of a group of humans who encounter an alien spaceship on Earth's moon, leading to a thrilling and dangerous adventure.

  4. Is 'Columbus Day' part of a series?

    Yes, 'Columbus Day' is the first book in the 'Expeditionary Force' series.

  5. How many pages does 'Columbus Day' have?

    'Columbus Day' has approximately 400 pages.

  6. Is 'Columbus Day' suitable for young readers?

    'Columbus Day' is recommended for adult readers due to its complex themes and mature content.

  7. Where can I purchase 'Columbus Day'?

    You can purchase 'Columbus Day' from various online book retailers or local bookstores.

  8. Are there any sequels to 'Columbus Day'?

    Yes, 'Columbus Day' is followed by several sequels in the 'Expeditionary Force' series.

  9. Is 'Columbus Day' available as an e-book?

    Yes, 'Columbus Day' is available in e-book format for electronic devices.

  10. Has 'Columbus Day' won any awards?

    At the time of writing this FAQ, 'Columbus Day' has not won any major awards.