Thursday, February 07, 2013

Lets talk Space Marines

Reposted from Facebook, so we can continue this discussion in private.  If I continue to get more and more annoyed, I may just vlog it and be done.  Or...shit I may just do a video on space marines.  I have a web series.  I can do that.  

ANYWAY.

[original post from February 7th, 12:44am]

OK, so lets chat about the Space Marine debacle. The first appearance of the phrase appears in an issue of Amazing Stories from 1932. EE "Doc" Smith (aka Dr. Edward Smith) used them in the Lensmen stories. They appear in stories by Robert Heinlein. And in Doom. The "Space Marine" conjures immediate images of an elite fighting force...in space. Adding "space" as a prefix to any title or word has long been a way to create a powerful association with science fiction, and "space marine" is no different. Most of the writers of these stories were American, and the US Marine Corps has a proud, longstanding, and very notable place in American pop culture when it comes to thinking of absolute badasses. So when you want to kick ass and take names in space, you want some Marines with you.

...of course this is ignoring that its kind of silly to call someone in space a "Marine", but authors have long associated space travel with sea travel (space ship, naval ranks, etc.), so...sure.

Games Workshop did not invent the term "space marine". They may have created one of the most notable images of the word, but they by no means can hold copyright on a word first created over 50 years before their first use of it. This is not unlike Todd MacFarlane's threatening to sue Palladium over the title "Nightspawn" (which he felt infringed on his copyright of "Spawn"), and MTV threatening to sue White Wolf over the title "Aeon" (which they felt infringed on their copyright of "Aeon Flux").

Were this taken to court, I would be interested in seeing the documentation for the trial because I suspect it would be one of the only times where the majority of evidence was taken from pulp magazines.

I'm very unimpressed with Games Workshop right now. For what its worth, I think their aggressive pursuit of TWO WORDS strung together, a common science fiction phrase, is both ridiculous and counterproductive towards the goals of good public relations. Its silly, pointless, and doesn't GAIN them anything. We'll see how this plays out.

1 Comments:

Blogger Kervin said...

Over the past 3 years GW has made one choice after another that has left a bad taste in my mouth (namely the annual price raises). Even with all that I have only given up the mini table top game, the last straw there was the new Dark Angels codex, that required an errata only four days after release.

Even after that, I love the setting and the fiction of the universe. That love has let me justify keeping buying the novels and table top RPGs, but now I just feel hurt and ashamed to support GW in any way.

For a company that want to bring new people into the hobby and community they are really being dicks to that community. This is leading me to a crossroads.

That crossroads being do I continue to support a company that will hurt the community that has given them so much, and in turn support them hurting the sci-fi community, or do I sell off my novels and RPG books?

6:35 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home