DiscoverScience Fiction

Vis Major


Must read 🏆

A spaceship and its crew in peril is an exciting prequel or side story to the full-length novel "Engage the Dawn: First Contact!"

Originally a subplot in the full-length, soft SciFi novel, Engage at Dawn: First Contact, the author felt this storyline was robust enough to become a standalone novelette. And, boy, was he right! Vis Major has engaging characters and an exciting plot that grabbed me from the opening line – “It was not just a routine solar flare.”

The Master and the crew of the stricken survey ship that survive the initial damage from the massive coronal mass ejection from the nearby star are in peril from the get-go. I could feel the tension and concern as they struggle to get their wounded bird to the closest planet to effect the temporary repairs needed to return safely to the Confed shipyard. The author successfully walks that fine line between providing enough technical detail to entertain without sending the less tech-savvy reader scurrying for cover.

I appreciated that once on the planet, the Master and crew took elaborate pains to make sure they remained undetected by the native population, and regretted any harm or damage they inflicted during the process. The Master takes great care to preserve the dignity of two natives that are accidentally killed during their presence on the planet.

The author also nailed the content of the dialogue onboard the survey ship and descriptive passages to move the story forward and still surprise the reader with the slow reveal of what is going on and where the action takes place. I enjoyed the realization when it hit home.

This story can be read as a prequel to Engage at Dawn: First Contact, it certainly piqued my interest, or as a side story to it. The primary work approaches this story from a completely different point-of-view. I recommend Vis Major to readers that like their SciFi to have some tech talk along with emotional interaction between characters. This short novelette has both.

Reviewed by

I love to read and hook up others with books that they might enjoy. I like genre fiction with a weakness for cozies, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and westerns. My professional background is in law enforcement, fire, water, and environmental education. I have basset hounds and ham radio is a hobby.


About the author

Edward Hochsmann is a retired U. S. Coast Guard search and rescue and law enforcement professional and author of the new sci-fi action-adventure novel Engage at Dawn: First Contact. The veteran mariner, aviator, college professor, and defense analyst has added “author” to his list of experiences. view profile

Published on August 18, 2020

Published by

10000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Science Fiction

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