Posts Tagged 'space marines'

While we’d hate to be driven to write by the self-proclaimed racist currently in charge of the third largest army in the world, his recent call for a “space force” eclipses Ronald Regan’s misguided Star Wars program in acts of sheer fuckwittery. And yet, despite the willy waving and budgetary hole such an endeavour would cause, it’s not that far-fetched.

As forward-thinking Sci-Fi fans, we might like to think of outer space as a demilitarised zone or perhaps somewhere politically neutral, like the Arctic on Earth. The reality is that this strategic high ground has been contested ever since Soviet Russia launched Sputnik in 1957. Although this wasn’t the first, nor sadly the last, piece of codependency between warfare and technological advancement, there’s no doubt the time of Sci-Fi combat is already upon us.

We’ve dwelt upon Boston Dynamics and their ability to create some of the most, er… provocative robots ever. Regardless Skynet singularity fears and these machines being co-opted into a military service, their previous owners DARPA haven’t shed too many oily tears since selling off the company. Instead, they’ve been busy creating digital comic books that highlight the risks of cyber warfare for West Point cadets. Not only that, but they’re also working on adapting the biological characteristics of the near indestructible Tardigrade to aid in the creation of a battlefront stasis device to hibernate wounded soldiers until they can reach a field hospital. Extrapolate on this and once the military can put its soldiers in and out of stasis, so follows the opportunity of sending them out to claim extraterrestrial territory and… Colonial marines, we salute you!

The tragic reality is where one space faring nation leads, others will follow. Forget peaceful and scientific exploration of the solar system. Suddenly, Heinlein’s Starship Troopers become a possibility – without a hint of Paul Verhoeven’s satirical touch – as does John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War and the more pacifist perspective with The Forever War by Joe Haldeman.

Space shouldn’t be a launch pad for territorial divides, colonial efforts, the Wild West, or a ‘Scramble for Africa’ styled drive to get rich quick. While we’d like to advocate a united federation of planets approach to the space around us and the cosmos at large, that too has at its heart a fully armed star fleet. Perhaps the final frontier is actually worthy of a completely fresh approach. What this might be has yet to be decided, but whatever we try has to be better than the carbon-copied, geriatric strategies of the banker, the industrialist and the warmonger.

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