Chism, Carlos Alonso
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Caleb is a post-apocalyptic novel set in the Philadelphia suburbs. The novel begins fifteen years after a genetically engineered version of smallpox ravages the country, killing 90% of the population. The present tense of the novel follows Caleb Rivas and his partner Elia Morris as they become embroiled in a refugee crisis propelled by unchecked climate change and racial tensions that have survived the smallpox plague. As their home is engulfed in the crisis, Caleb is confronted with a part of his past he thought was long gone, forcing him to reckon with his relationship to his mixed Mexican American heritage. Through these events, in addition to flashbacks from before the plague, the novel aims to explore how toxic and unequal power structures might survive or be dismantled in the aftermath of unprecedented disaster, in addition to how these power structures inform and interact with the characters’ identities.