This gripping eco-thriller takes place in remote, snowy northern Canada, where climate change has brought to the South unbearable heat and storms and pioneers seek a new frontier for escape. Two separate groups find themselves in the same isolated lands: an all-female team of military scientists manning an old Cold War station to verify climate change’s pace and a building site led by a visionary architect who wants to construct a community of geo-disk homes for the wealthy to buy. It’s 2049, and in addition to a ravaged planet, the fossil fuel industry has collapsed, and everyone gets at birth an internet-connected device that provides endless info as well as entertainment. The Flick also it turns out may have destructive potential.
Architect Meyer hopes to design future homes for climate refugees, but his Camp Zero is woven with ugly undercurrents from the downtrodden, oppressed group of former oil workers he’s hired to be “Diggers” to beautiful prostitutes he’s flown in to see to the needs of the camp’s managers and named the “Blooms.” The smartest and loveliest of the Blooms, Rose, comes from a gorgeous Floating City that has been built for the uberwealthy in Boston Harbor, and has been spent by her wealthy client to spy on and encourage Meyer in his efforts. The bribe: to gain her Korean mom escape from a refugee camp to come to the Floating City as well as citizenship in the city for Rose. Meyer himself is riddled with doubt and looming depression about the potential futility of his work. Then there’s Grant, a recent grad from the Walden school, a clear stand-in for Harvard, who seeks to escape his oppressively wealthy and controlling family. Added into the mix is a mysterious man known as The Barber, a local who seems to have a secret agenda of his own.
Meanwhile in the military camp where the women have taken the code name White Angel, the team wrestles with isolation, survival, and the potential threat of the military cutting off all assistance. The group bonds into a close net community, and feminism rules the day.
The plot starts off slowly, as if the icy cold and endless snow has slowed things down, until all hell breaks loose. The two groups intersect, mysteries and spies get revealed, and you find yourself spellbound at how possible this dystopian future could be for us all.
Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy.