Space marine

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For other uses, see Space marine (disambiguation).
Amazing Stories December 1936, an early illustration of space marines.

The space marine, an archetype of military science fiction, is a kind of soldier that operates in outer space or on alien worlds.[1] Historical marines fulfill multiple roles: ship defence, landing parties, and general-purpose high-mobility land deployments that operate within a fixed distance of shore. By analogy, hypothetical space marines would defend spaceships, land on planets and moons, and satisfy rapid-deployment needs throughout space.

History[edit]

The earliest known use of the term "space marine" was by Bob Olsen in his short story "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" (Amazing Stories, Volume 7, Number 8, November 1932), a light-hearted work whose title is a play on the song "Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines", and in which the protagonists were marines of the "Earth Republic Space Navy" on mission to rescue celebrity twins from aliens on Titan. Olsen published a novella sequel four years later, "The Space Marines and the Slavers" (Amazing Stories, Volume 10, Number 13, December 1936), featuring the same characters using a spaceship with active camouflage to free hostages from Martian space pirates on Ganymede.[2]

A more widely known early example was E. E. Smith's Lensman series. While the first story, Triplanetary and most later sequels (Second Stage Lensmen, Children of the Lens and The Vortex Blaster) do not mention them, passing mentions of marines are made in Galactic Patrol[a] (Astounding Stories, September 1937–February 1938) and Gray Lensman[b][c] (Astounding Stories, October 1939–January 1940), and a more direct mention is made in First Lensman (1950): "Dronvire of Rigel Four in the lead, closely followed by Costigan, Northrop, Kinnison the Younger, and a platoon of armed and armored Space Marines!".

The phrase "space marines" appears in Robert A. Heinlein's "Misfit"[d] (1939) and is again used in "The Long Watch"[e] (1941) which is referenced in his later novel Space Cadet (1948), in all cases before Smith had used the phrase. Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1959) is considered the defining work for the concept, although it does not use the term "space marine". The actors playing the Colonial Marines in Aliens (1986) were required to read Starship Troopers as part of their training prior to filming.[3] Heinlein intended for the capsule troopers of the Mobile Infantry to be an amalgam of the shipborne aspect of the US Marine Corps relocated to space and coupled with the battlefield delivery and mission profile of US Army paratroopers.

As a gaming concept, space marines play a major role in the Warhammer 40,000 miniatures wargame, in which they are genetically altered super-soldiers and the most powerful fighting forces available to the Imperium of Man. In computer games, playing a space marine in action games was popularized by id Software's Doom series, first published in 1993. It is a convenient game back-story as it excuses the presence of the character on a hostile alien world with little support and heavy weaponry. Some critics have suggested it has been overused to the point of being an action game cliché.[4]

Trademark controversy[edit]

In December 2012, online retailer Amazon.com removed the e-book Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth at the request of games company Games Workshop. They claimed the use of the phrase "space marine" infringed on their trademark of the term for their game Warhammer 40,000.[5] In February 2013, the row received a lot of publicity, with authors such as Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross and John Scalzi supporting Hogarth, and Amazon.com then restored the e-book for sale.[6][7]

Characteristics[edit]

In film and television space marines often appear in squads, while in video games the protagonist Marine is usually alone or in very small squads[citation needed]. Depending on the mission, they may be deployed via dropship or another specialised insertion craft[citation needed]. Their battledress varies between media, ranging from equipment comparable to modern-day fatigues (or just being contemporary, such as the equipment of Colonial Marines in the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica) to environmentally sealed suits of powered armour. Equipment and weaponry is similarly varied, often incorporating various fictional technologies. Directed-energy weapons are common, though conventional firearms are also used[citation needed]. If the marine's armour is particularly bulky, their weapons may be similarly scaled up[citation needed].

Non-fiction aspects[edit]

The United States Marine Corps's Project Hot Eagle considers the use of spacecraft to deliver Marines to a target on the ground. "Within minutes of bursting into the atmosphere beyond the speed of sound – and dispatching that ominous sonic boom – a small squad of Marines could be on the ground and ready for action within 2 hours."[8]

Appearances in fiction[edit]

Books and Short Stories[edit]

Author Title Year(s) Published Unit Name
Bob Olsen "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" 1932 Space Marines
Bob Olsen "The Space Marines and the Slavers" 1936 Space Marines
E. E. Smith Lensman series 1934–1954 Galactic Marines[citation needed]
Robert A. Heinlein "Misfit" 1939 Space Marines
Robert A. Heinlein "The Long Watch" 1941 Space Marines
Carey Rockwell Treachery in Outer Space 1954 Space Marines
Carey Rockwell Sabotage in Space 1955 Space Marines
Robert A. Heinlein Starship Troopers 1959 Mobile Infantry
Harry Harrison The Stainless Steel Rat 1961 Space Marines
Andre Norton Star Hunter 1961 Space Marines
H. Beam Piper Little Fuzzy 1962 Space Marines
H. Beam Piper The Cosmic Computer 1963 Space Marines
Joe Haldeman The Forever War 1974 United Nations Exploratory Force (UNEF)
Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle The Mote in God's Eye and related novels 1975 Imperial Marines
Jerry Pournelle and S. M. Stirling The Prince or Falkenberg's Legion series 1976–1993; 2002 CoDominium Marines
David Weber Starfire series 1990–Present Federation Navy Marine Corps
David Weber Honor Harrington series 1992–Present Royal Manticoran Marine Corps (RMMC) of the Star Kingdom of Manticore, et cetera
David Sherman and Dan Cragg StarFist series 1997–Present Confederation Marine Corps
Ian Douglas
  1. Heritage Trilogy
  2. Legacy trilogy
  3. Inheritance trilogy
1998–Present United States Marines Corps, United Star Marine Corps
John Ringo
  1. Into the Looking Glass
  2. Vorpal Blade
  3. Claws That Catch
  4. The Manxome Foe
2005–Present Allied Space Marines
John Varley Rolling Thunder 2008 Martian Naval Corps

Films and TV[edit]

Director Title Year(s) Published Unit Name
Michael E. Briant Doctor Who serial "Death to the Daleks" 1973–1974 Marine Space Corps
George Lucas Star Wars 1977–Present Galactic Marines of the Grand Army of the Republic, originally known as the 21st Nova Corps. Imperial Stormtroopers of the Original Trilogy also fit the role of space marines of the Galactic Empire. The Rebel Alliance has an entire regiment of Space Operations, nicknamed "Rebel Marines".
Lewis Gilbert Moonraker 1979 United States Marine Corps on a space shuttle armed with lasers
Leiji Matsumoto Starblazers 1979–1984 Ground combat units found on the 11th planet are known as "Space Marines"
James Cameron Aliens 1986 United States Colonial Marine Corps
Douglas Netter and J. Michael Straczynski Babylon 5 1994–1998 EarthForce Marine Corps (also known as "Gropos" or "GROund POunderS")
Glen Morgan and James Wong Space: Above and Beyond 1995–1996 United States Marine Corps Space Aviator Cavalry
John Weidner Space Marines 1996 United Planets Marines
Keiji Gotoh Kiddy Grade 2001–2002 GOTT Marine Corps
David Eick and Ronald D. Moore Battlestar Galactica 2004–2009 Colonial Marine Corps, Colonial Marine Corps Reserve
Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper Stargate Atlantis 2004–2009 United States Marine Corps attached to the Atlantis Expedition
James Cameron Avatar 2009 Former Marines and mercenaries working with the RDA Corporation on Pandora.

Games[edit]

Title Publisher Game Type Year(s) Published Unit Name
Traveller Game Designers' Workshop Role-playing game 1977 Star Marines, Terran Confederation Marine Corps, Imperial Marine Force, Solomani Marine Corps, and Zhodani Consular Guard
Space Marines Fantac/Fantasy Games Unlimited Wargaming; Tabletop game; Dice game 1977/1980 Terran UnionGuard Heavy Infantry, Azuriach Heavy Infantry
Starfire series Task Force Games; Starfire Design Studio Board wargame 1979–1980 Federation Navy Marine Corps
Space Marines Asgard Miniatures Science Fiction Miniature Line 1982–Present Space Marine/Space Trooper. The miniatures in this line were created for use with Laserburn and are currently available through Alternative Armies
Star Frontiers TSR, Inc. Role-playing game 1982–1985 Space Marine. The career name for NPCs with a focus in beam weapons.
Metroid series Nintendo Action-adventure game 1986–Present Galactic Federation Marine Corps/07th Platoon
Princess Ryan's Space Marines Simulations Tacticals (SIMTAC) 1/285 Scale Tabletop Miniatures Game 1986 Princess Ryan's Space Marines
Warhammer 40,000 series Games Workshop Miniature wargaming; Tabletop game; Dice game 1987–Present Adeptus Astartes (Imperial Space Marine) Chapters, and also, to an extent, Chaos Space Marines.
Wing Commander franchise Origin Systems, Inc. Space combat simulation 1990–1999 Terran Confederation Marine Corps
Duke Nukem series 3D Realms First-person shooter; Platform 1991–Present Earth Defense Forces (EDF)
Doom series id software First-person shooter 1993–Present United Nations Space Marine Corps
Command & Conquer series former Westwood Studios,

now Electronic Arts

Real-time strategy; First-person shooter 1995–Present Global Defense Initiative can deploy certain infantry units directly from its space stations
Quake series id software First-person shooter 1996–Present SMC (Space Marine Corps) Marines
Outwars Microsoft Third-person shooter; Tactical shooter 1998 Colonial Marines
StarCraft series Blizzard Entertainment Real-time strategy 1998–Present Confederate Marine Corps, the Dominion Marine Corps, the Alliance Marine Corps, the Alpha Corps, the United Earth Directorate Powered Infantry and numerous more
Ground Control Sierra On-Line Real-time tactics 2000 Crayven Corporation's Marines
Halo series Microsoft Game Studios First-person shooter; Real-time strategy 2001–Present United Nations Space Command Marine Corps and the elite Orbital Drop Shock Trooper divisions (special forces qualified for drop pod insertion).
Red Faction series THQ First-person shooter; Third-person shooter 2001–Present Earth Defence Marine Corps (E.D.M.C.) and Earth Naval Guard (E.N.G.)
Natural Selection Unknown Worlds Entertainment First-person shooter; Real-time strategy 2002–2007 Frontiersmen (human space marines)
TimeSplitters 2 Eidos Interactive First-person shooter 2002 Space Marines (Sergeant Cortez and Corporal Hart)
Killzone series SCEE First-person shooter 2003–Present Interplanetary Strategic Alliance Marines
TimeSplitters: Future Perfect Electronic Arts First-person shooter 2005 Space Marines (Sergeant Cortez) (This got changed during scripting as it was pointed out that Space Marine might infringe on Games Workshop name.)[citation needed]
Mass Effect series Microsoft Game Studios; Electronic Arts Action role-playing game; Third-person shooter 2007–Present designated personnel of the Systems Alliance Navy (no branch independence)
Dead Space series Electronic Arts Survival horror; Third-person shooter 2008–Present USM Marine Corps
Turok Touchstone Interactive Action game; First-person shooter 2008 Marines (also referred to as Commandos)
Eat Lead: The Return of Matt Hazard D3 Publisher Action game; Third-person shooter 2009 Space Marines
Alien Swarm Valve Corporation Action game; Third-person shooter; Shoot-em-up; Top-down 2010 Space Marines – The game can be single player or 4 players co-op. There's 4 classes with 2 characters for each class: Officer, Special Weapons, Medic and Tech.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Helmuth is after us, foot, horse, and marines."
  2. ^ "'Don't be a dope,' a captain of Marines muttered in reply."
  3. ^ "... have a boat-load of good, tough marines on hand..."
  4. ^ "The parade ground voice of a First Sergeant of Space Marines cut through the fog and drizzle..."
  5. ^ "Space marines, arms reversed and heads bowed, stood guard around [the coffin]..."

References[edit]

  1. ^ Prucher, Jeff (2007), Brave new words: the Oxford dictionary of science fiction, Oxford reference online, Oxford University Press, p. 205, ISBN 0-19-530567-1 
  2. ^ Bleiler, Everett F. and Bleiler, Richard, Science-Fiction: The Gernsback Years, Kent State University Press, 1998, pp. 315–317
  3. ^ "Preparing for Battle: Casting and Characterization", Superior Firepower: The Making of Aliens, Alien Quadrilogy – Disc 3, 2003, 20th Century Fox
  4. ^ Adams, Ernest (February 2001). "Dogma 2001: A Challenge to Game Designers". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-11-13. "4. There shall be no...space marines" 
  5. ^ Barnett, David (7 February 2013). "Superheroes, space marines and lawyers get into trademark fight". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "Row blows up over ownership of 'space marine' term". BBC News (London). 8 February 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Spots-Space-Marine-Defense-ebook/dp/B006MGJYOE
  8. ^ "Marines in Spaaaaaace!". Defence Tech.org. September 19, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-03.