Forget Nothing [Amazon link] by Michelle C. Meyers and Jason Anspach tells the backstory of Andien Broxin, a character introduced in in the very first Galaxy’s Edge novel, Legionnaire. This book has military geekery, desperate firefights, and dirty politics. You absolutely do not need to have to read all of the rest of the now extensive Galaxy’s Edge universe to enjoy what is going on here, but there are treasures hidden here for those who have. I loved it. If you are interested in military science fiction, you should check it out.
In Forget Nothing, Andien is a Marine officer who is going places. She is good at what she does, and has checked all the right boxes in her military career. Her only regret is getting promoted out of leading Marines in the field. Or it was, until she saw the Legion in action during her latest deployment.
Like many women who choose to enter male-dominated fields, Andien is following in the steps of her father, a Legionnaire and a veteran of Psydon, the Galaxy’s Edge equivalent of Vietnam. In principle, her father’s stories and her own service should have prepared her for what she sees when her Marines support a Dark Ops team, the best of the best in the Legion. But it did not.
The Dark Ops team deals out death and destruction at least equivalent to the company of Marines Andien was responsible for. And honestly better. For someone as driven and competent as Andien, that makes an impression. Andien is used to comparing herself to the Republic Marines that she leads, but the standards of the Legion mean that Legionnaires are on another level entirely. And while the Republic Army and Navy are gender-neutral, the Legion very much is not.
As is the way with Galaxy’s Edge, this book is as much about our world as the fictional one. The Legion is heavily based on the 75th Ranger Regiment. The Rangers are elite soldiers within the US military, and the gateway to it is RASP, the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program. Only a relative handful of women have completed it since it became possible for women to apply for it. If I had to guess, book 2 will be Andien’s time in RASP, I mean Legionnaire training.
Andien’s experiences as a Marine are of course not mine, being neither a woman nor a veteran, but what I read reminds me very much of things I have heard from women who are veterans, especially those of the post 9/11 era, when the theoretical prohibition on women in combat began to break down in practice long before policy changed. Andien sounds like women I have met.
Perhaps one of the funniest things I read when I perused comments on this book were complaints that Andien was portrayed as masculine. Well, yes, women who like activities that mostly appeal to men often have at least some aspects of their personality that are pretty masculine. You see this in super competitive sports and among high-intensity workout enthusiasts too, which is a world that increasingly overlaps with the US military. We get a pretty heavy dose of workout pr0n in Forget Nothing, which is another note in favor of its verisimilitude. I find Andien a believable character because I think I’ve met her.
I find that my idea of a well-written character is someone who seems like a real person to me, who reacts in the way that a person with that collection of traits and wants would react in a given situation. This seems to differ from what other people mean when they use that phrase. If it seems like military characters in books are often similar, I think that is because the military attracts specific kinds of people, and the experiences you have in the military push your personality in specific directions. A job well done is is when you vividly illustrate the walking collections of stereotypes that people are.
I also find the interplay between Andien and her father interesting. Andien’s father likely pushed her into the military, in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. He did this because he loves her and he loves the military, but doing such a thing is not without regret, as the global war on terror style military that Galaxy’s Edge is based on is intensely destructive of mind and body both, quite aside from the risk of getting shot or blown up. Just trying out for the Legion could destroy Andien’s body, as women are built less robustly than men [Amazon link]. Thus, her father is both intensely proud and horrified at what could happen.
I don’t think Galaxy’s Edge gets enough credit for telling interesting adventure stories while still providing a vehicle for authors to speculate about our world. But now I’ve done my part to make it more clear. I think this is a fine book of its style, and I enjoyed it, even as it gives me interesting things to ponder.
I did not receive an advanced readers copy of Forget Nothing. I bought it fair and square with my own money.
All of the Galaxy’s Edge Press products can be found at galaxysedge.us
Galaxy’s Edge season 1:
Legionnaire: Galaxy's Edge #1 Book Review
Galactic Outlaws: Galaxy's Edge #2 Book Review
Kill Team: Galaxy's Edge #3 Book Review
Attack of Shadows: Galaxy's Edge #4 Book Review
Sword of the Legion: Galaxy's Edge #5 Book Review
Tin Man: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Prisoners of Darkness: Galaxy's Edge #6 Book Review
Imperator: Galaxy's Edge Book Review
Turning Point: Galaxy's Edge #7 Book Review
Message for the Dead: Galaxy's Edge #8 Book Review
Retribution: Galaxy’s Edge #9 Book Review
Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations:
Requiem for Medusa: Tyrus Rechs: Contracts & Terminations Book 1 Review
Order of the Centurion
Order of the Centurion #1 Book Review
Iron Wolves: Order of the Centurion #2 Book Review
Stryker’s War: Order of the Centurion #3 Book Review
Through the Nether: Order of the Centurion #4 Book Review
The Reservist: Order of the Centurion #5 Book Review