Published on May 29th, 2023 | by Tim Chuma

Camp Zero Review (2023)

Camp Zero Review (2023) Tim Chuma

Summary: Not much point in getting to Net Zero in 2050 if the world is already destroyed. Post climate change dystopian fiction with an interesting angle of the three intersecting storylines.



Set in North America in 2049 a year before net zero but climate change has already wrought its wrath upon the world and people have had to evacuate due to climate extremes. The very rich live in the floating city and the poor struggle on the mainland. To take their mind off things people are implanted with a device that allows them to be permanently on social media at the cost of their actual memories but nobody knows that as yet.

Telling this story from three different viewpoints are Rose, a sex worker at the work camp for a new “cold environment” community called Camp Zero, a tutor who is hiding out from his billionaire family called Grant and the crew of an all-female research station in the Arctic called White Alice whose stories eventually intersect and reveal all.

Although this is billed as a post-climate change story a lot of the things they talk about have already happened in Australia in the past few years like the mega-fires and the floods that went on for months and months. People have still not returned to their houses after eighteen months in some cases. The smoke from the fires has been shown to have caused the three La-Nina cycles in a row which caused a lot of issues like the mail being destroyed and official documents having to be reissued multiple times in some cases.

The book is very narratively dense as even after a chapter or two you get a lot of background detail for the world and the point of view changes to someone else each chapter. For some reason I thought that Grant and Rose already knew each other but it was someone else. More perceptive readers may work out what is happening with the White Alice storyline but there is quite a bit of flexibility with the timeline in this case that does not come out to quite late in the book.

What this book is good at pointing out as that with even with renewable energy the people who were rich before are the ones are who are going to make the most money from it. The same with the high cost of living not really affecting people who already have a lot of money.

Not really sure the nations of the world could ever get it together long enough to totally ban fossil fuels, that part seemed like fantasy as even with most of Australia’s liquid petroleum gas going offshore to foreign multinationals they still seem to think we need to extract more.

What I enjoyed about this book as there are no mentions of politicians at all in it, either executive government has ceased at this point or the army has taken over in a permanent state of emergency. It seems like everyone who doesn’t have a lot of money is just struggling to survive and seeks to escape to “the feed” and stay there. Remined me of the movie the Congress where everyone just gives up if they stay in virtual reality all the time.

It was an interesting book from a unique perspective and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in climate change and dystopian fiction.

Book details:

Author: Michelle Min Sterling

304 Pages

Edition Number: 1

Imprint: John Murray

Published: 30th March 2023

ISBN: 9781399802314

About the Author

Writer, photographer, artist and music fan from Melbourne, Australia.

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