"Thrilling. . . . This remarkable debut delivers its big ideas with suspense, endlessly surprising twists, and abundant heart." —Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers
In a near-future northern settlement, a handful of climate change survivors find their fates intertwined in this mesmerizing and transportive novel in the vein of Station Eleven and The Power.
America, 2049: Summer temperatures are intolerably high, the fossil fuel industry has shut down, and humans are implanted with a ‘Flick’ at birth, which allows them to remain perpetually online. The top echelons of society live in Floating Cities off the coast, while people on the mainland struggle to survive. For Rose, working as a hostess in the city’s elite club feels like her best hope for a better future.
When a high-profile client offers Rose a job as an escort at an American building project in northern Canada called Camp Zero, in return for a home for her displaced mother and herself, she accepts it. But her real assignment is to secretly monitor the mercurial architect in charge.
Rose quickly secures the trust of her target; but in the north, she begins to sense a new way forward, and her objective shifts. Through skillfully entwined perspectives including a young professor longing to escape his wealthy family, and the collective voice of an all-female US military brigade at a climate research station, the fate of the Camp and its select inhabitants comes into stunning relief. Atmospheric, original, and utterly gripping, Camp Zero interrogates the seductive and chilling notion of a utopia; asks who and what will survive as global tensions rise; and imagines how love may sustain us.
About the author
MICHELLE MIN STERLING was born on Vancouver Island, BC, and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she teaches literature and writing at Berklee College of Music. She has an MFA from Boston University and has held writing fellowships at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Baffler, VICE, and Joyland. Camp Zero is her first novel.
"Camp Zero is the thrilling, urgent feminist climate fiction that the world needs. With extraordinary world-building, captivating characters, and sharp commentary on climate change, technology, colonialism, capitalism, and the patriarchy, Michelle Min Sterling’s remarkable debut delivers its big ideas with suspense, endlessly surprising twists, and abundant heart." —Jessamine Chan, author of The School for Good Mothers
“Michelle Min Sterling has written a big, gutsy, clear-eyed novel of the near future that neither lurches with dread nor swoons with false hope: it's a cold, hungry adventure story about the power of choice and the strength of solidarity. You won't be able to put it down.” —Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors and The Wagers
"Sterling’s stunning debut offers a glimpse into a climate change–ravaged future in which resources diminish quickly and new frontiers are hard to find. . . . This cleverly constructed climate fiction mystery feels like one many readers could see within their lifetimes. This should earn a place on shelves alongside Station Eleven and Annihilation." —Publisher's Weekly, starred review
“Camp Zero is a sui generis novel, boldly imagined, intricately designed, and convincingly detailed. Though set in the near future, it resonates with a palpable sense of reality and with the deep insights into some dimensions of the human condition, such as migrations, the burden of the past, environmental destruction, gender inequality, self-recreation. Page by page, the prose shines with subtle verbal artistry. This is groundbreaking literary work.” —Ha Jin, author of A Song Everlasting
“An exhilarating tale of survival set in a world of environmental decline, Camp Zero explores a future brimming with equal parts rage and resilience. Sterling’s masterful debut transports readers to a frozen landscape where the intersections of class, gender, and climate change come to a head—and where women must rely on their own cunning to survive. This powerful, prescient story will haunt the reader’s imagination long after the final page.” —Laura Maylene Walter, author of Body of Stars
“Michelle Min Sterling reports back from the future in this fiercely imagined conjuring of the devastating impacts of our warming world. Alternately terrifying and enthralling, this is a propulsive read with touches of Blade Runner, even Fury Road’s survival-is-everything pace and intensity where female strength is on delightful display. But even on its darkest pages, Camp Zero is infused with the conviction that the way out—if there is one—lies in old ideas like love, bravery, and shared community.” —Erica Ferencik, author of Girl in Ice and The River at Night
"The future Michelle Min Sterling imagines in Camp Zero is recognizably our own, if we do nothing to halt climate change: one in which the powerful find new and devastating ways to exploit both the earth and its people. But all is not as it seems. In a series of ingenious twists and increasingly tight connections, Sterling imagines how, in the chaos that ensues after the ice caps melt, our most marginalized brethren may gain a foothold to power. This is one of the best books I've read in a long time: it's mesmerizing, terrifying, and ultimately, hopeful." —Caroline Woods, author of The Lunar Housewife
“In an equally tantalizing and terrifying tour de force, Michelle Min Sterling boldly remixes the realities of our present world, the danger we are in, and the fates we have settled for through a mesmerizing story of loyalty, deception, and ultimately love. Camp Zero’s dark twists and bright turns left me breathless, hopeful, furious, and emboldened until the very end.” —Nancy Jooyoun Kim, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Story of Mina Lee