2. SpecOps

A Review of SpecOps, Book 2 of the Expeditionary Force

Episode 2 of The Fluffernutter reviews SpecOps, book two of the Expeditionary Force book series by Craig Alanson. Steve (AKA MidNite Shadow) and Nathan are joined by guest host, Stephanie Brooks to review this book and audiobook.

The Fluffernutter - An Expeditionary Force Podcast
The Fluffernutter - An Expeditionary Force Podcast
2. SpecOps


At the beginning of this episode, Steve announces the unforeseen circumstances that led to the release being nearly three years late.

Steve then mentions that the new plan for The Fluffernutter Podcast episode releases will be quarterly. We hope that the next instalment should be released in January 2024.

Introduction to SpecOps, Book 2 of the Expeditionary Force series

In episode two of The Fluffernutter Podcast, our hosts Steve and Nathan dove deep into the intricate world of science fiction penned by Craig Alanson and narrated by R.C. Bray.

Joined by special guest monkey Stephanie Brooks, they examined how women are portrayed in Craig’s works, the significance of women leaders in futuristic settings, food, and much more!

Joe Bishop’s Leadership

Some discussion noted how Joe Bishop has developed as a leader and grown into the role. Part of what makes the books so enjoyable is how they show what life is like aboard a ship, with all the routine and repetition of life and military life.

The trio also analysed how the book brings together the original crew and SpecOps teams. They discussed the evolving dynamics and mutual respect, noting how each crew valued the other’s strengths and contributions over their own.

Craig’s Representation of Women

Stephanie reflected on her initial thoughts about how women are represented in Craig’s books. She appreciated the multifaceted female characters introduced, such as Desai and Adams.

She acknowledged that most of Craig’s female characters are portrayed as strong, confident, and intelligent.

However, she did point out some stereotypical nuances, like women ordering lemon drop martinis or specific coffee drinks, which could have been diversified. Yet, overall, she felt that Craig did a commendable job crafting authentic and empowering female characters.

The Significance of Female Leadership

Steve highlighted an interesting point about Craig’s decision to make the President of the United States a female character.

Stephanie remarked that this portrayal isn’t just a nod to the current political climate but a forward-looking perspective common in sci-fi.

The consensus was that such a choice showcases a futuristic timeframe, reflecting the inevitable rise of female leaders on the global stage.

Estimating the Book’s Timeline

An intriguing debate was around the timeline of the story. Nathan mentioned that some readers estimate the setting to be around 2030, primarily due to technological advancements in the narrative.

Stephanie further contributed by stating that if the timeline were further ahead, we’d indeed have more advanced space technology, reflecting her desire for the promises of sci-fi to become a reality.


What is a discussion on The Expeditionary Force without talking about food?

From the tantalising descriptions of interstellar delicacies to the relatable Earth cuisines, the hosts dive deep into the foods described in the book.

They share their personal experiences of what they’ve tried and playfully debate what culinary choices are acceptable and not acceptable on Earth (or in space)!

Interwoven Themes and Planning

Stephanie praised Craig’s skill in subtly embedding foreshadows and links across books.

She hinted at Craig’s meticulous planning, possibly having a spreadsheet or flowchart that maps out each character’s journey, ensuring no surprises for the writer, only for the readers.

Concluding Thoughts

The podcast concluded with the hosts and Stephanie reflecting on the cohesive narrative and the character development in Craig’s Expeditionary Force books.

The trio’s discussion underscored the importance of representation, the need for authentic characterisations, and the art of intertwining intricate plot details across a series.

Episode Credits


  • Nathan Sweetman
  • Steve Roberts


  • Stephanie Brooks


  • Steve Roberts

Small Print

The Fluffernutter Podcast is a fan production. Craig Alanson owns the Expeditionary Force series, and all related marks, logos and characters.

This podcast uses clips from the Expeditionary Force series audiobooks under the fair use doctrine.

Audio used from the audiobooks is published through Podium Audio, distributed through Audible, and narrated by R.C. Bray.

Theme music is titled "Rescue Mission" by artist Lupus Nocte, licenced by Holosuite Media through Epidemic Sound. Remixed by Steve Roberts.

The Fluffernutter, Holosuite Media, the website, the promotion thereof and any exhibition of material created by The Fluffernutter, Holosuite Media, or The Fluffernutter team are not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with Craig Alanson.

All views made are that of the individual(s), and may not represent that of The Fluffernutter or the Holosuite Media network.

The Fluffernutter - An Expeditionary Force Podcast
The Fluffernutter - An Expeditionary Force Podcast
2. SpecOps