The 2020 movie “The Midnight Sky” is based on the 2016 Lily Brooks-Dalton book Good Morning, Midnight. I customarily approach book-based films by reading the book first. This review is only about the book.
I found the character-oriented narrative quite compelling, with multiple characters having development and reflection. The only slight downside to the book is as typical in most fiction (including post-apocalyptic and science fiction), the radio communications and vehicle aspects of the book could have been described more accurately by having a technical reviewer. I think the author did a better than average approach to the radio comms, minus the glitches noted below. I compliment the author’s approach–these slight issues below are endemic in fiction books.
Gasoline engine that has a pull rope start is subsequently described as having a dead battery and therefore unable to start. In fact, it’s possible in some cases to improvise a pull start on small electric start engines. Since another similar vehicle is described as having electric start, this may have been an editing mistake (perhaps the final intent was to have both vehicles be electric start).
- author’s ham radio callsign is used by a character (just a cute observation)
- could have more specifically addressed LEO satellite comms window for simplex VHF comms
- could simply say VHF / UHF, it’s uncommon to spell out the abbreviated terms
- frequent references to RF sine waves, when actually random noise was seemingly implied
click for spoilers
What really happened to Augie:
Did Augie even leave the observatory for the lake camp? If the snowmobile travel was real, did Augie actually die on the way? In the real world Google Maps, it's quite a trip, even with vehicles. The time at the camp is quite idyllic, giving hints it was a dying vision. While the radio comms with Aether seem "real", the book strongly hints they could have easily taken place from the observatory.