Monday, February 11, 2013

Review:Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth

Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth

Is a delicious science fiction tale. Written in a somewhat play or screen play style that can put off many an average reader. For those who can tough it through, its beyond well worth reading. Though the story is told mostly through dialogue M.C.A has a way of crafting her characters through that dialogue. It's a bit more work for the reader and seemed to slow my usual pace down quite a bit, but it's worth the effort.

I would not have looked at this book had there not been controversy about it. It seems the use of Space Marines is being sanctioned by another party.

I find it hard to believe when I see the following information show up. :: has an interesting chart showing the dates and types of usage of space marines dating as far back as 1932

"Misfit by Robert A. Heinlein 1939 (uses term Space Marines)
Lensman series by E. E. Smith's 1938-1940(uses term Space Marines)
Captain Brink of the Space Marines by Bob Olsen 1936 amazing stories
Waitabits by E.F.Russel in astonishing sf 1955 (uses term Space Marines)
Space Marines (Space Opera RPG) by A. Mark Ratner (1980)
In movies as early as 1973(use term Space Marines)
In games as early as 1977 (use term Space Marines)

The United States Space Marine Corps by Eugene R. Hudson. 2011

This book is not a game or not about games nor related to said game and even if said game has an armload of novels at a certain bookseller, that still shouldn't give them the right to contest two words that show up in a cover that has more than those two words.

That much said::

Spots aka Magda Guitart is the seemingly unlikely hero of the story. As it unfolds we find that she's a wife and mother who has been at a desk job for a number of years. When she's deployed into a conflict zone, this doesn't sound good or hold well with her unit members and just about all except for Claws aka Travis Walker treat her with a measure of contempt. She comes off in initial description as someone who might be a little soft in the middle.

The reader begins to wonder how she managed to get shipped out to a remote asteroid where there's a deadly game being played with the enemy. As the reader learns more about the enemy through the dialogue and stage directions and the ensuing battles the stories of the characters are also quite cleverly played out. This seems to me a difficult task using mostly dialogue but M.C.A. pulls it off in what might seem like an effortless fashion.

The reader soon learns more of Spots as they are drawn into her character with a lot of respect for her. The reader soon begins to wonder when Spots unit team-members will start to see the light. There's a lot more to this kick-ass woman than meets the eyes.

This is all cleverly played out as the reader gets the impression that everything the higher ups do lately has been nothing but trouble and disaster for the unit. It's not that difficult to see that they can't recognize that somehow someone has put the right person in the right place.

This is not just a story of how Spots grows and hardens up, it's also the story of how the team grows. There's a lot to get over and to get through including xenophobia towards their alien adviser. And there will be casualties.

This story is so rich with character development and intriguing plot that it's enough to keep you riveted to the seat for a while. I'm sure that it's for the most part my own reading habits that made this such a long read. For me every sentence of dialogue counted and had to be digested carefully.

Even after a longer than normal time reading I was left hungry for more of Spot's, Sam's and Claw's stories. I found this to be much better than Starship Troopers.

Spots is an excellent, strong and well developed female character.

J.L. Dobias

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