Spellbinder Saturday: A Trip to the Future from the Past.

Easy as A, B, C . . . from HA

Today is pure science fiction day. The book is First to Fight, the series is STARFIST by David Sherman 51l0gTm2UKLand Dan Cragg. (More about the authors in a moment.) The series is about the 34th Marine FIST (Fleet Initial Strike Team), a few specific members of the battalion, and the excursions and deployments to other worlds.

Did I mention this all takes place in the 25th century? The Confederation of Human Worlds has established its capital city at Fargo, North Dakota which has grown into a large metropolis with many skyscrapers and government buildings. The military headquarters of the Confederation in Fargo is called the Heptagon. There is a space navy, an army with air force capability (transported aboard space navy spaceships to whatever planet they are ordered to), and a Marine Corps. Humans have colonized numerous worlds out to several hundred light years. The Marines are sent to quell uprisings and prevent wars on the various planets as needed.

First to Fight has three subplots: the first subplot revolves around new Marine Joseph F. Dean as he experiences his first deployment; subplot number two is that of Staff Sergeant Charlie Bass, recently demoted from Gunnery Sergeant and transferred to the 34th FIST for assaulting a civilian contractor after the in-combat failure of an electronic device, which failure cost half the men of one of the companies of the 31st FIST; the third subplot is the sadistic dream of a tribal leader whose plan to achieve rule over Elneal is stymied by the presence of the Marines on Elneal.

What makes this entire series unique, in my humble opinion, is the background of the authors. David Sherman is a former United States Marine and the author of eight previously published novels about Marines in Vietnam, where he served as an infantryman and as a member of a Combined Action Platoon. He is an alumnus of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and worked as a sculptor for many years before turning to writing. Along the way he has held a variety of jobs, mostly supervisory and managerial. Today he is a full-time writer. He lives in Philadelphia.

Dan Cragg enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1958 and retired with the rank of sergeant major twenty-two years later. During his Army service, Mr. Cragg served more than eleven years in overseas stations, five and a half of them in Vietnam. He is the author of Inside the VC and NVA (with Michael Lee Lanning), Top Sergeant (with William G. Bainbridge), and a Vietnam War novel, The Soldier’s Prize. In real life Mr. Cragg is an analyst for the Defense Department. He and his wife, Sunny, live in Virginia, where honest citizens are allowed to pack heat. Visitors after dark are strongly urged to call ahead.

These two former military men bring a wealth of knowledge to this series. They have looked ahead and determined how military units and weapons will function in the future. They’ve even determined what remains the same. Based on my history as a Navy brat and 20 year veteran on the Navy, I think they’re pretty much on the mark.

Find this book and give it a read. There are 14 in the series. Good reading!

See you next time for Tips on Tuesday

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