Burning Midnight: the Ultimate Guide to Spheres

Burning Midnight is a refreshing coming-of-age novel by Will McIntosh, that starts out with a strange and unique scenario where large parts of the earth are suddenly seeded by indestructible, colorful spheres that provide physical and mental improvements to people. Just like in Roadside Picnic, the 1971 novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, no one has any explanation on how and why things happened, but some grasp the opportunity and make a living off of it. As I love obscure scenarios like that I decided to hunt for easter eggs and find all the colors that had been found at the outset of the novel.

Photo by Matthew Payne on Unsplash.

43 different types of spheres of different color, effect and rarity (and as such price) exist in the world Will McIntosh created. Mention of the different types is distributed all over the novel and while most of them are described in full, I didn’t manage to find the the supposed effect and/or rarity of some of them. Please let me know if you find something I have missed and I will update this post with it.

So, without further ado, I present the ultimative guide to spheres in Burning Midnight:

Army greenResistance to the common cold1
TaupeArtistic ability1
TealFall asleep more easily1
Baby blueTolerance to heat1/2*
TangerineMimic sounds1/2*
Lemon yellowGrow one inch2
Slate greySinging ability2
LavenderEnhanced musical ability2
RoseAbility to hold your breath over a long time2
Ruby redWhite, even teeth2
Forrest greenEnhanced sense of smell3
MintMore outgoing3
Sky blueSense of humor4
IndigoEnhanced eyesight5
Hot pinkAdrenalin rush5
PeriwinkleGood with numbers6
PlumErase memory6
CranberryBetter looks7
AquamarineQuick healing8
OlivePain control8
VermillionNeed little sleep8
ChocolateEnhanced strength and build to go with it9
MustardHigh IQ9
Canary yellowPerfect memory9
Cherry redCreates new spheres10
TurquoiseEnhanced hearing?
MagentaNight vision?
Seafoam greenSpeed?
Burnt orangeSpeed reading?
VioletVerbal acuity?

* rarity isn’t mentioned, so I determined the rarity from the price

If you have read the novel, or even the cover of the book, you will find that two colors are actually missing in this list. The two colors gold and midnight blue are unique spheres that are relevant for the story, so I didn’t put it in here, as I don’t want to spoiler anyone. Midnight blue gives the book it’s name, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it will get burned at some point. To learn the effect of the two colors and who it is that burns them, you will have to read the book yourself. While I wasn’t too thrilled by the resolution of the novel it definitely is worth a read, if only for the fun setup and all of it’s implications. So grab a copy and enjoy the ride.