Good Morning, Midnight is a perfectly nice book that I just didn’t vibe with. I appreciated what it was trying to do, and I’d say it even succeeded at it, but my taste and expectations are a little bit more “genre” than this ended up being.
Goodreads summary: “Augustine, a brilliant, aging astronomer, is consumed by the stars. For years he has lived in remote outposts, studying the sky for evidence of how the universe began. At his latest posting, in a research center in the Arctic, news of a catastrophic event arrives. The scientists are forced to evacuate, but Augustine stubbornly refuses to abandon his work. Shortly after the others have gone, Augustine discovers a mysterious child, Iris, and realizes the airwaves have gone silent. They are alone.
At the same time, Mission Specialist Sullivan is aboard the Aether on its return flight from Jupiter. The astronauts are the first human beings to delve this deep into space, and Sully has made peace with the sacrifices required of her: a daughter left behind, a marriage ended. So far the journey has been a success, but when Mission Control falls inexplicably silent, Sully and her crew mates are forced to wonder if they will ever get home.”
Ultimately, this is a book about relationships and human connections, at a time when there has clearly been a catastrophic event that, at the very least, has taken out all known means of communication. It’s about dealing with uncertainty, the balance of optimism and pragmatism, and the inevitable self-reflection that takes place when isolation is the de facto option. The book handles those themes well, but I guess because I’m basic and want more actual sci-fi, I wanted to know more about the catastrophe itself. The scope of the story is very much in the early stages of whatever happened and how the characters initially react to something of which they have little to know knowledge and even fewer answers. I wanted more resolution, or at least more forward progress, than I got, which was a lot of reminiscing from both main characters about the lives they had led that brought them where they are.
This book reminded me a lot, actually, of Station Eleven, another book that I liked well enough but a lot of people really, really loved. They both focus on the human element and less on the disaster, and how the survivors get on. I think I’m probably not the first person to make this connection, as the current cover for Good Morning, Midnight is very, very clearly trying to evoke the other, with its illuminated tent against dark sky motif. So if you’re a Station Eleven fan, maybe try this one out?