It turns out Games Workshop, also known as the UK company that created Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, own the trademark to the term "space marine".
How is this possible, when space marines are a science fiction trope that have appeared in stories, comics and movies at least since Bob Olsen wrote "Captain Brink of the Space Marines" in 1934?
That's where the corporate bullying comes in.
Games Workshop, apparently, have a horrid reputation for being lawyer-happy. They've filed suit against one of the largest Warhammer fansites, against Chapterhouse Studios who make conversion parts for miniatures, and they reputedly hit independent toy and game retailers with clauses that they cannot stock any other gaming system if they want to stock GW miniatures.
For the past couple months, haikujaguar has been quietly contacting five separate IP lawyers and finding that the cost of fighting GW's claim would start at $2000 US and quickly climb into the $50,000 range when the lawsuit began. It wouldn't make business sense to protect the book. Independent authors don't make that kind of money.
If Amazon had investigated GW's claim, they might have discovered it stood on shaky legal ground (per legal publishing blog Scrivener's Error). But they didn't. They just pulled the book, and are refusing to reinstate it without GW's okay.
So essentially we have a situation where a dubious legal challenge from a corporation in another country has censored an independent author's work with no recourse. This is not a system which can claim to protect individuals' rights. It is a system where money can buy the best-equipped mercenaries, and those without it knuckle under in fear of having their livelihood crushed in the modern arena called a courtroom.
The only hope of the individual is enough publicity to embarrass their opponent into withdrawing their claims. This will be difficult against a company of lawyers, MBA's, and wargame designers which has pursued aggressive litigation since the early 1980's. A few days ago, it looked near impossible. Then haikujaguar made a clear, calm and concise call for help. Her relatively small group of friends and fans stepped up to the plate.
The internet rage machine is powerful once the ball gets rolling. 24 hours brought the attention of Elizabeth Moon, John Scalzi, Cory Doctorov and Neil Gaiman. 48 hours brought the Electronic Frontier Foundation and articles in The Guardian, The Register, and a host of other news sources. (Full list of media coverage here.) The Games Workshop lawyers probably thought a self-published author of e-books was easy pickings. Only time will tell just how wrong they were.