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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Space Marines  
  A space-based military force.  

This is the first instance of the phrase.

"Attention to muster!" The parade ground voice of a First Sergeant of Space Marines cut through the fog and drizzle of a nasty New Jersey morning. "As your names are called, answer 'Here', step forward with your baggage, and embark.
"Atkins!"
"Here!"
"Austin!"
"Hyar!"
"Ayres!"
"Here!"
One by one they fell out of ranks, shouldered the hundred and thirty pounds of personal possessions allowed them, and trudged up the gangway. They were young -- none more than twenty-two -- in some cases luggage outweighed the owner.
From Misfit, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1939
Additional resources -

E.E. 'Doc' Smith's Lensman [1937] introduces the idea of the Galactic Marines, probably the first space marines.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Misfit
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to Misfit
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Space Marines-related news articles:
  - Space Marines Idea Takes Off

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