Three Degrees and Gone - Book Review

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Three Degrees and Gone

Author: J Stewart Willis
Genre: Fiction - Adventure
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: January 16, 2020
ISBN-10: 168433361X
ISBN-13: 9781684333615

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GoodReads Rating:
4.51

Book Review of :  Three Degrees and Gone



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J. Stewart Willis, author of Three Degrees and Gone, is unusually perceptive of current political events and has created a fascinating, believable futuristic fictional tale. He has managed to incorporate the reality of global warming (hurricanes and vast flooding), the immigration problems faced on the U.S. border with Mexico and the economy into a story set in the late 2080s.
The plot follows three families from diverse backgrounds who attempt to immigrate illegally into Canada. The dysfunctional Wilkins family includes a bored wife, an unfaithful husband, and a teen-aged daughter. They leave a limited access oil refinery town protected from floodwaters by dikes and enclosing domes in Texas City, Texas. The closed community is boring, routine and depressing. Humidity, heat, and storms prevent travel into tropical, water-saturated Houston. Harry Skies, an accountant, and his adult son, Jamie, flee from a flooded home in Savannah, Ga. after the city is declared a disaster area and abandoned. Cynthia Sherwood, the beautiful blond trophy wife, runs away from her abusive Afro American husband with her bi-racial 12-year-old daughter from Chicago gangs. Individual characters are skillfully treated with distinctive personalities and emotions, social status and culture depicted in their multiple backstories.
The plot rapidly becomes a futuristic underground railroad with illegal traffickers or “transportation men”. The migrants pay exorbitant fees to flee the tent cities of squatters and homeless, jobless street people that congest major urban areas. “It looked like refugee camps from war zones of the earlier years… something from the Middle East sixty years ago.”
Arriving in northern Montana, the families converge with utopian dreams of a better life in Canada but are challenged by survival and greed. Can they trust the system hired to aid them escape? Should they even trust each other?
Crossing northwestern plains into Canada will include evading motion detectors and sensory lights, low-flying electronic drones, satellites, and the border patrol. Then, if they are able to sneak across without being arrested, they will have to buy false ID’s, driver’s licenses and Personal Guide Chips as documentation to get work permits. The family groups struggle with individual behavior, the lack of food and shelter and the constant fear of discovery.
The conclusion is satisfactory as the reader realizes that there are “all kinds of requirements for survival. Security isn’t everything.”. And that “illegal migration is a low-budget operation” causing hardship, fear of capture, internment in a detention center, and even being shot at. Some of the characters make it to a new life in Canada. Others are destined to also adjust to a new life. Reached goals and failures enable the reader to empathize with these emigrants and relate their stories to current events. The novel develops into a search for meaning - the meaning of life, of love, the pursuit of happiness, of politics, of sacrifice, of money. And of course, of identity in a brand new world.
 


Reviewed by: Carole W

About J Stewart Willis


J. Stewart Willis is a graduate of the United States Military Academy and the graduate school of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He served in Taiwan and later as Signal Officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vietnam. He spent sixteen years of his army career as a Professor of Physics at the Military Academy. Following retirement from the military, he worked with TRW Inc. as a manager on the Department of Energy's Nuclear Waste Project at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. He was mayor of the Town of Washington, Virginia (often referred to as Little Washington) for nine years. He lives in Sperryville, Virginia with Charlie, his greyhound/borzoi mix.





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