Michelle Min Sterling

Teoksen Camp Zero tekijä

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Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: Michelle Min Sterling

Tekijän teokset

Camp Zero (2023) — Tekijä — 393 kappaletta

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Kanoninen nimi
Min Sterling, Michelle
Virallinen nimi
Min Sterling, Michelle
British Columbia, Canada



'Camp Zero' provided a depressingly plausible vision of life in 2050 that I'm glad I'm unlikely to live long enough to see.

What made it both plausible and depressing is that this isn't an apocalyptic tale of dramatic destruction but rather a continuation of both the slow erosion by climate change of the way of life that people at the start of the twenty-first century took for granted and the widening of the gap between the choices available to the very wealthy and the choices the rest of us have to cope with.

What made the novel engaging was its focus on three sets of people trying to build lives for themselves in the midst of this slow-motion disintegration and whose paths are all converging on Camp Zero, where Americans have hired men to build a new campus in the far north of Canada, next to a long-abandoned small town. One story follows Rose, a sex worker at the camp, who has a secret agenda. One story follows Grant, the son of a leading member of the wealthy elite, who, following a trauma, has fled his family and its wealth to take up a job teaching job at the still-under-construction campus. The third story follows an all-female group of scientists in the American military who have been sent on a long-term mission to White Alice a polar DEW station in Northern Canada left over from the Cold War.

The converging storylines were strongly differentiated from each other in terms of style, perspective and possibly timeline. This made for a richer reading experience both because each storyline captured my imagination and because I kept speculating on how the stories would converge. I found the White Alice storyline to be the most intriguing, partly because the storytelling had the resonance of an oft-repeated oral tradition and partly because I couldn't see where it was going.. The Rose storyline was the most engaging, partly because of Rose's determination to make the most of the opportunities available to her and partly because of the contrast between her experience in the Floating City, a high-tech enclave for the wealthy built off the coast from Boston. I liked Grant's storyline the least, but that's probably a sign of how well-written in was. I found myself being increasingly annoyed by his self-indulgent guilt, his naivety and his refusal to see what was right in front of him.

What kept me turning the pages at first was my desire to know what the women in White Alice did to survive and why Rose was really at Camp Zero and what Camp Zero was really for. As the story continued, I became more interested in Rose as a person and I began to distance myself from the insider's narrative of White Alice and reassess what the women were doing and the group identity that they had built.

I liked the way technology was treated in 'Camp Zero'. The near-future 2050 technologies are described as clearly as in any Science Fiction novel and are all reasonable extrapolations of existing tech. Yet, it's clear that they are a distraction from the problems of the emerging world rather than a solution to them. They enable the rich to extend the lifespan of an unsustainable way of life and they pacify the rest by enabling them to escape into a virtual world that dulls their awareness of the external realities.

One of the main themes in 'Camp Zero' is the difference between male and female agendas. The two dominant males in the story: a tech billionaire and a former climate campaigner turned 'Let's rebuild from the ruins' visionary are driven by ego to reshape the world in their image. They devote their energies to overwriting the current reality with their vision of how the world should work. Rose and the women in White Alice, in their different ways, have understood that the world has changed, that things are bad and that they're not going to get better. They devote their energies to finding a way to survive and to have the best lives they can create for themselves and the people they care about. The men and the women are both ruthless in the pursuit of their agendas. They both practice deception, use violence and seek advantage in any situation.

I liked that 'Camp Zero' never lost its focus on the people in the storylines it followed. It also never devolved into either melodrama or Happy Ever After escapism. The storylines converged and produced a resolution of sorts but, as in real life, each resolution poses new challenges rather than a conclusion.

My favourite lines from 'Camp Zero' come from the last chapter when two women are talking. One says, "But it's a shit world isn't it?" The other replies, "Of course it's shit. But it's the only world we have". That, I think, is an accurate summary of our collective future.

I recommend the audiobook version of 'Camp Zero'. It's told with multiple narrators and it's very well done. Click on the SoundCloud link below to hear a sample.
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MikeFinnFiction | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 21, 2024 |
"Camp Zero" by Michelle Min Sterling presents readers with a vividly constructed world that immerses them into a dystopian landscape, rich in detail of an Earth devastated by climate change and where the richest oligarchs live in luxury insulated from the worst of the dying Earth while everyone else suffers. The author demonstrates a skillful hand at crafting realistic settings and scenarios, drawing readers into a world that feels terrifyingly plausible.

However, where the novel excels in worldbuilding, it falls short in character development. Despite the elaborate backdrop, and a clear protagonist in Rose, the characters fail to evoke strong emotional connections from the reader. They all feel flat, like an accumulation of tropes rather than living, breathing people. They seem disconnected from their own lives and lacking in depth, leaving readers feeling indifferent towards their fates. Even the women of White Alice. This may be part of the detached narrative style, but I just couldn't bring myself to care, despite being TOLD that I should.

While the novel offers a real-feeling premise and a plausible plot, ultimately, its success is hampered by the inability to create characters that resonate with the reader. Despite its flaws, "Camp Zero" may still appeal to readers who prioritize immersive worldbuilding and commitment to an idea over character-driven narratives.

It's a competent, workmanlike book.
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sa_magnuson | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 5, 2024 |
A futuristic novel regarding the effect of the climate crisis and efforts to live more harmoniously on planet-but with a bit of a sinister bent. This novel is ambitious and haunting.
Set in the near future, Camp Zero is a look at a group of people seeking to avoid our climate crisis. Camp Zero is being built by some men from the US, and a few left in Canada after the oil pipeline industry died. They are disillusioned with the world, and are working for Meyer, a man who believes in Camp Zero. Implanted with Flick, they can access info in their mind. (scary!)
Several women are hired as Blooms, to entertain the men at Camp Zero. Rose is actually a plant, hired to spy on Meyer and report back. Grant, a teacher, is there after an altercation with his wealthy parents.
A novel of community, love, and devastation.
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rmarcin | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Mar 5, 2024 |
I recently had the unfortunate experience of reading "Camp Zero" by [Author's Name], and I must say that it was a deeply disappointing journey from start to finish. This book promised an exciting wilderness adventure, but it failed to deliver on every front. Here's why "Camp Zero" left me thoroughly unimpressed:

One-Dimensional Characters: The characters in this book were about as interesting as a blank sheet of paper. They lacked depth, development, and any semblance of relatability. I couldn't connect with or care about any of them, making it nearly impossible to become emotionally invested in the story.

Predictable Plot: From the moment I cracked open this book, it was clear where the plot was headed. There were no surprises, no twists, and no moments that made me want to turn the page in anticipation. The story felt like a tired, recycled adventure trope with no fresh perspective to offer.

Lack of Authenticity: "Camp Zero" billed itself as a wilderness adventure, but it felt like the author had never set foot in the great outdoors. The descriptions of the natural surroundings were generic at best and often inaccurate. It was as if the author had done a quick Google search and tried to pass off their limited knowledge as expertise.

Wooden Dialogue: The dialogue in this book was painfully stilted and unrealistic. Characters spoke in clichés and delivered lines that felt forced and contrived. This made it even more challenging to engage with the story, as the interactions between characters were simply not believable.

Underwhelming Climax: If you manage to trudge through the tedious journey to the end of "Camp Zero," you'll be met with a climax that can only be described as anticlimactic. It lacked the tension, excitement, and resolution that a good adventure novel should have. Instead, it left me feeling unsatisfied and wondering why I had bothered to invest my time in the first place.

Shallow Exploration of Themes: The book attempted to delve into themes of survival, friendship, and personal growth, but these themes were treated with such superficiality that they never resonated. It felt like the author was checking boxes rather than genuinely exploring these important ideas.

In conclusion, "Camp Zero" was a forgettable and uninspired read that failed to live up to its promises. I would not recommend wasting your time on this book, as there are countless other wilderness adventure novels out there that offer a more engaging and authentic experience. Save your time and energy for a book that will truly transport you to the great outdoors and capture your imagination.
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BenM2023 | 14 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 22, 2023 |




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