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Intriguing, bite sized slices of life from the front lines

By Kyt Dotson, author of Black Hat Magick

May 3, 2010: War. War never changes.

Except maybe when your squad happens to be named Team Kitty and your callsign sounds slightly silly to remain thematically prudent.

The prose of “Spots the Space Marine” is spartan almost laconic, but the mood comes across loud-and-clear. It reads generally like a radio-play; but retains the solid impact of a heftier work. The presentation forces the reader to instead invent their own voice for each of the characters and imagine themselves into the situation that narrates itself from the screen. The chapters are also so short they can be read in a bite—a style allowing the entire series to be grazed casually, episode at a time, or swallowed in a huge handful as time permits.

Spots presents herself as a likable person, yanked out of her comfort zone and thrust into a war zone. A woman among the war. The story then plays out in the conversation space between Spots and other marines. Their voices resonate, with hers playing the following melody of the narrative. Spots isn’t your normal marine. She’s also a mom. A fact that makes her something different, something familiar yet out of the ordinary to read about.

The part of the story that really began to hook me, however—like any proper sci-fi geek—happens to be the aliens. Not just aliens: bugs. The introduction suggests that the insectoid aliens have brought technology and know-how to humanity to aid them in their upcoming war against invader xeno bugs; but the first time that one of the friendly xenos appears in the story happens to be during a vignette titled “The Violinist,” where one gets an introduction to Spots. I have a soft spot for aliens and xeno racial epithets (like the piggies from Ender’s Game.) The friendly xenos here get to be the “fiddlers.”

The hardcore sci-fi reader and drama aficionado alike will find something to like about “Spots the Space Marine.”

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