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

Amazing Stories December 1936, an early illustration of space marines.

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] (1949) which expands on a story from his earlier 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.[4] 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.[5]

Trademark controversy edit

Games Workshop garnered controversy after claiming that the use of the term "space marine" infringed on their trademark

In December 2012, online retailer 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.[6] In February 2013, the row received a lot of publicity, with authors such as Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross and John Scalzi supporting Hogarth, and then restored the e-book for sale.[7][8]

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-imagined 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, like the M41A Pulse Rifles the Colonial Marines in the Aliens movie use (which are projectile weapons that use an electric pulse to shoot caseless ammunition). If the marines' armour is particularly bulky, their weapons may be similarly scaled up such as in Warhammer 40,000 where Space Marines carry "boltguns," effectively rocket-propelled grenade launchers, as a standard firearm.

Non-fiction aspects edit

The United States Air Force'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."[9][10]

Appearances in fiction edit

Literature 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
John York Cabot "Sergeant Shane of the Space Marines" 1941 Space Marines
John York Cabot "The Odds on Sergeant Shane" 1941 Space Marines
John York Cabot "Sergeant Shane Goes to War" 1942 Space Marines
Duncan Farnsworth "Flight from Farisha" 1942 Space Marines
D. D. Sharp "Pillage of the Space-Marine" 1943 Space-Marines
Bob Courtney "Aid to the Enemy" 1943 Space-Marines
Robert A. Heinlein "The Long Watch" 1949 Space Marines
Theodore Cogswell "The Spectre General" 1952 Imperial Space Marines
Carey Rockwell Treachery in Outer Space 1954 Space Marines
Carey Rockwell Sabotage in Space 1955 Space Marines
G. Harry Stine Rocket Man 1955 Space Marines
Eric Frank Russell "The Waitabits" 1955 Space-Marines
Randall Garrett "Needler" 1957 Space Marines
Eric Frank Russell Wasp 1957 Space Marines (Sirian Combine)
Robert F. Young "Passage to Gomorrah" 1959 Space Marines
Robert A. Heinlein Starship Troopers 1959 Mobile Infantry
Kenneth Bulmer "Of Earth Foretold" 1960 Space Marine
Kenneth Bulmer "Earth's Long Shadow" 1960 Space Marine
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
Frank Herbert Dune 1965 Sardaukar
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
Orson Scott Card Ender's Game 1985 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
R. J. Pineiro "Flight of Endeavour" 2001 United Nations Security Council Space Marines
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
James S. A. Corey The Expanse series 2011–2022 Martian Marine Corps and United Nations Marine Corps
M.C.A. Hogarth Spots the Space Marine 2012 Space Marine

Films and television 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. The Rebel Alliance has an entire regiment of Space Operations, nicknamed "Rebel Marines". Stormtroopers and Clone Troopers also fit the space marine trope.
Lewis Gilbert Moonraker 1979 United States Marine Corps on a space shuttle armed with lasers
Leiji Matsumoto Star Blazers 1979–1984 Ground combat units found on the 11th planet are known as "Space Marines"
James Cameron Aliens 1986 United States Colonial Marine Corps
Jeff Segal Exosquad 1993–1994 Exofleet Jumptroops
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
Allan Kroeker, David Straiton, et al. Star Trek: Enterprise 2003–2005 Military Assault Command Operations (MACO)
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.
Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby The Expanse (TV series) 2015–2022 Martian Marine Corps and United Nations Marine Corps
Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi For All Mankind 2021 United States Moon Marines, members of the USMC who are an astronaut security and tactical force on the moon.
Dylan Shipley Hammer and Bolter animated series 2022 Imperial Space Marines and Chaos Space Marines from Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000.[11]

Games edit

Someone cosplaying as Doomguy, a space marine from the DOOM series at the 2016 Montreal Comiccon.
Title Publisher Game type Year(s) published Unit name
Starship Troopers Avalon Hill Board wargame 1976 Mobile Infantry
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–present 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
Marathon series Bungie First-person shooter 1994–present UESC (Unified Earth Space Council) Marines
Quake series id software First-person shooter 1996–present SMC (Space Marine Corps) Marines, GDF (Global Defence Force)
Unreal series Epic Games First-person shooter 1998–present UMS (Unified Military Services)
Outwars Microsoft Third-person shooter; Tactical shooter 1998 Colonial Marines
Battlezone Activision first-person shooter;

real-time strategy

1998 National Space Defense Force (NSDF), Cosmos Colonist Army/Communist Cosmonaut Army (CCA), Chinese Red Army (CRA), International Space Defence Force (ISDF)
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 Xbox 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 (a branch of the Earth Defense Force)
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
Fallout 3: Mothership Zeta Bethesda Role playing game; First-person shooter 2009 American army medic Eliot Tecorian and the two surviving members of his squad are abducted by aliens, and assist the Vault Dweller in hijacking the spaceship. The player can also equip themself with pre-war power armor similar in appearance to the Marauder armor worn by the Mobile Infantry.
Alien Swarm Valve 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 are 4 classes with 2 characters for each class: Officer, Special Weapons, Medic and Tech.
Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon Slitherine Turn-based strategy 2014 Space Marines
Wolfenstein: The New Order Bethesda Action-adventure, first-person shooter 2014 Weltraumsoldaten, Weltraummarinesoldaten
Bombshell 3D Realms multidirectional shooter 2016 Global Defence Force (GDF)
The Outer Worlds Obsidian Entertainment First-person shooter, Role-playing video game 2019 Mardets, short for Marine Detachment.
Helldivers Arrowhead Game Studios First-person shooter, Shoot'em up 2015 - present Helldivers, Super Earth Defense Force

The term is also used in an intentionally hyperbolic manner to describe especially powerful armies in Paradox Interactive strategy games Europa Universalis IV and Hearts of Iron IV.

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), "space marine", Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction, Oxford reference online, Oxford University Press, p. 205, ISBN 978-0-19-530567-8
  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. ^ Ryder, Mike (2021). "Conscripts from birth: war and soldiery in the grim darkness of the far future" (PDF). Fantastika. 5 (1). Retrieved 12 November 2022.
  5. ^ Adams, Ernest (February 2001). "Dogma 2001: A Challenge to Game Designers". Gamasutra. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 4. There shall be marines
  6. ^ Barnett, David (7 February 2013). "Superheroes, space marines and lawyers get into trademark fight". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  7. ^ "Row blows up over ownership of 'space marine' term". BBC News. London. 8 February 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  8. ^ Spots the Space Marine: Defense of the Fiddler. Stardancer Studios. 14 December 2011.
  9. ^ "Marines in Spaaaaaace!". Defence September 19, 2005. Retrieved 2006-04-03.
  10. ^ Social Policy for Effective Practice, A Strengths Approach. 2016-10-16. ISBN 9781497006140.
  11. ^ Hammer and Bolter