Saturday, April 1, 2023

Camp Zero

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling
4/4/23; 304 pages
Atria Books

Camp Zero by Michelle Min Sterling is a recommended dystopian climate science fiction novel set in the 2050s.

In northern Canada a clandestine settlement for climate refugees called Camp Zero is being built by architect Meyer. To entertain the men working there, a group of women called Blooms have been hired as escorts and are moved into an empty mall. One woman, who is given the name Rose was secretly sent by a high-profile client to investigate the camp. Grant Grimely signed on to the project as a college professor to escape his wealthy family but, as there is no college, he is actually supposed to be teaching the Diggers, the men working on the secret building site. They all have secrets and no one is who they seem to be. Finally, a group of female military and scientific experts in various areas are moved into White Alice, an old northern research station, and thrive there.

The three narratives alternate between the points-of-view of Rose, Grant, and White Alice. Then these three narratives alternate between the present and the past with numerous flashbacks. This structure wasn't entirely successful as the flashbacks are so numerous that they become distraction from the main plot lines. The characters aren't all fully realized as unique, individual characters and some veer into the area of caricatures. They are thrown into this imagined future dystopian world.

There are also several interesting ideas or choices in the creation of this imagined future, but not all the interesting details are utilized or have the consequences shown. If you throw your characters into a dystopian world, you also need to in some manner show why and how this world happened technically, not simply assume climate change caused all of it. The twists and turns are related more to secrets than real surprises. Topics covered include climate change, family, greed, misogyny and misandry. Ultimately, Camp Zero is a slow paced but interesting dystopian climate change science fiction novel with an open but satisfying ending. Liked it but didn't love it.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Atria Books via Edelweiss.

No comments: