The colonization of Mars has begun.
Following a rapid expansion of the manned space program due to the discovery of a potentially catastrophic Earth-crossing comet, Zubrin Base has been established on the Red Planet to oversee the capture of the rogue object.
During final preparations for a second expedition, however, contact has been lost with the outpost. Pilot Seth Boaz finds himself re-tasked for a rescue mission, one which will force him to confront his own past, as well as otherworldly forces with profound implications for humanity's future.
A "Hard" Science Fiction space exploration novella, with affinities to the work of Greg Bear, Michael F. Flynn, and Arthur C. Clarke, Night Music incorporates realistic, near-future space technology and Mars mission and colonization models, as well as elements of Complexity Theory and nanotechnology. The author is a clinical psychologist, who applied that experience to the development of distinct and fleshed-out characters who speak with realistic voices.
Disclaimer: This review represents solely my opinion. The score may vary once put in average with the rest of the team.
Night Music is an interesting proposal by Tobias Cabral, mixing hard sci-fi with a compelling tale about characters. I dived into it as blindly as possible, as I prefer to not have any preconceived ideas; and honestly, it surprised me for the good.
The plot revolves around a rescue mission on Mars, which has unexpectedly turned wrong; and despite its shortness, it becomes a study of the characters in a life/death situation, being a really original approach to this aspect of the craft.
The atmosphere is really well crafted, and I think it's also due to how science elements get incorporated into the plot. The pacing is a little bit weird, probably due to the length of the novel, going from a slow introduction to a frenetic ending.
Night Music is a novel that will make you think about what have you read, and what really happened in the end; it is a book that you will remember several days after. Despite some aspects that could have been better fleshed out, I enjoyed reading it, mostly due to its approach to its cast of characters.
Tobias Cabral is a clinical psychologist and lifelong Speculative Fiction enthusiast. He has a private practice outside Philadelphia, PA, working predominantly with adolescents and young adults. In 2017, he had the wholly-unexpected opportunity to serve as an adjunct professor for Clinical Psychology graduate students of a nearby Psy.D. program. And he is in *grave* danger of becoming quite addicted to this new thing... Doctor Cabral's passions for SF and psychology have cross-fertilized most fruitfully: He has developed a sub-specialty in working with SF Fans (who are frequently and non-trivially helped by not having constantly to translate their thoughts and feelings into "Mundane-ese" with their therapist). He regularly speaks at "PhilCon," the annual convention of the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society. His Doctoral Dissertation (Nested Systems: Evolving Models of Embodied Psychotherapy) dealt with Chaos/Complexity/Dynamic Systems theory (to which he was first exposed in Crichton's novel, Jurassic Park), as the basis for a proposed metatheory of psychological functioning and multi-level (fractal-structured) clinical interventions. The author is an avid consumer of comparative mythology (who sees Grail stories *everywhere*), and an inveterate aerospace junkie (who will --*someday*-- complete his hours for his Private Pilot license!). He is particularly obsessed with private/commercial spaceflight, and with the exploration/colonization of Mars. (He is, thus, an *unapologetic* Elon Musk Fanboy) Dr. Cabral dabbles in songwriting, aided in this by YouTube, his Giannini acoustic-electric guitar (Evangeline), and assorted pennywhistles (because they're Lovely, and totally portable). He is nonetheless mindful of the comedic figure he clearly strikes in comparison to his former concert pianist mother and Julliard M.A. sister. Intermittently driving for Lyft provides a rich source of narrative and empathic capital to re-invest in all of the above (plus, drunks are Funny). Doctor Cabral lives in the verdant suburbs of Philadelphia with his (undeservedly-tolerant) wife, (intriguingly-eccentric) son, three dogs (Kaylee, Madame Maxine, and Fitz ), and Z'Ha'Dum-black cat (Daenerys Angelique). Ball python (Monty....of course), alas, shed his mortal coil in 2016.