If you were forced to sum up Camp Zero with a single comparison, you could say: “Climate change meets The Handmaid’s Tale” – thought that is, of course, an oversimplification.
Set in the far north of Canada, on of the few remaining cool spots in the world, there a number of points of view going on in this book. First up are the women of White Alice. They live in an isolated research station, happy with their small community but unsure what the outside world of men holds for them if they ever decide to leave.
Then there’s Rose, arguably the main character, and a ‘bloom’ or escort. In exchange for housing, she’s been persuaded to move to Camp Zero, where the blooms ‘service’ the nearby important guests, and spy on its architect. Finally, there’s Grant – who’s travelled north for his own reasons, but namely to escape from his father and his family’s name. He’s been employed at Camp Zero to teach at a campus, but gets there to find it’s merely a building site, and the only people he can teach right now are the unwilling builders.
They’re all climate change survivors, trying to make sense of what the future might bring and what they want to do with it.
Heat is one enemy, but so is technology – everyone has got so used to watching their ‘Flick’ feed (via an implant) at all times, that their memories are beginning to fade. The egos of men in power is another.
Rose was a great character, but Grant felt as he might’ve benefited from a bit more depth. What did he really think was going to happen up north? And the women of White Alice were cool, but struggled to develop as separate individuals in my mind (their leader aside).
Overall, it’s a thought-provoking, clever, interesting read, which is why I’m giving it a reasonably high star rating. But is also reads somewhat like it’s setting up for a sequel – in fact, if one was available, I’d read it right now! If one never emerges though, there are some loose ends I’d really like to see a bit tidier.
I’ll definitely be back for the author’s next book – I enjoyed this one, but sometimes wanted just a little bit more from it.
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