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PORTALS IN A NORTHERN SKY

Transport yourself through time and thought ~
Taste the wilds of ALASKA ~
Take a second look at fate.

Every once in a while a novel comes along that inspires people to see the world anew--it sets their intellectual kaleidoscopes to insight mode. This is how readers are responding to Portals in a Northern Sky. See for yourself,  and be ready for lively discussions with your friends when Portals in a Northern Sky reaches the best-seller list.

...an epic novel of invention, discovery, betrayal, and life transition--featuring a telescopic view into the past, a journey through literature and philosophy, an unforgettable cast of characters and a meditation on the notion of personal destiny.

Portals in a Northern Sky...a novel
Portals in a Northern Sky
Charles D. Hayes

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Reviews and Comments:
"Reading Portals is like looking through a kaleidoscope in which breakneck adventure and science fiction occasionally reconfigure themselves into patterns of ancient wisdom--don't start unless you have enough time to finish it, because you won't be able to put it down."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Author of Flow and The Evolving Self

 

"Charles Hayes, one of the great existential pathfinders of the modern age, has produced a masterpiece, a work of genius, in the form of Portals in a Northern Sky.  This fascinating and exquisitely crafted story unfolds against a sweeping landscape of nature, history, and culture, and is woven together into a magnificent tapestry of insight and wisdom.  Hayes takes the reader on an unforgettable journey that unveils lost secrets about the art of creative and meaningful living. Portals in a Northern Sky is the ultimate thinking person's novel, one that is certain to become a classic for future generations to enjoy and cherish. Absolutely essential reading."

John F. Schumaker
Author of Wings of Illusion and The Age of Insanity

 

"A fascinating tale, well-told, that moves backward and forward in time. By themselves, the references to classic literature and philosophers make the book valuable at any price."

Jack Roderick
Author of Crude Dreams:
A Personal History of Oil & Politics in Alaska

 

"Portals in a Northern Sky is a delightfully different book, truly in a class by itself -- among other things a science-fiction novel, a thriller, a meditation on fate, and a love letter to Alaska. Readable and rewarding on all counts."

Walter Truett Anderson
Author of The Truth About the Truth and All Connected Now

 

"I find the writings of Charles Hayes to be uniquely stimulating on many levels, and Portals in a Northern Sky does not disappoint. As I read it I found myself transported backward and forward in time, not in a jolting manner, but in a way I always envisioned a time machine of the mind working--illuminating what was, what might have been, and what could be. Pick up this book and be prepared to have your mind enlarged."

Michael Shermer
Publisher Skeptic magazine, monthly columnist Scientific American,
and author of
Why People Believe Weird Things.

 


 

Portals provokes philosophical thought in fiction

By Joshua W. Bingham
The Gadsden Times, Staff Writer

Portals in a Northern Sky, by Charles Douglas Hayes (Autodidactic Press, $24.95), is a science fiction novel, a history lesson, a guided tour of North America's beauty and a thought-provoking work of philosophy.

There are some books I have received from friends which I later passed on to other friends because they were books that needed to be shared.  Who the original owners of the books were we usually didn't know, and that was part of the beauty and mystery.

I see this book in that category. 

In the first 40 pages or so of the 378-page novel, readers are introduced to strong characters of today and some pilgrims of the 19th century.

The characters are all connected, however, either by relation or by their own present-day pilgrimages to Alaska.

Wall Street whiz kid Robert Thornton leaves New York to hitchhike to Alaska just as he is reaching the top form of his career.

Police officer Vincent Howard Terrell gets a vigilante urge before taking his niece and girlfriend from Dallas to an old family cabin in Alaska.

Scientist Adam Whitehead sets all his worldly affairs in order before going to the Alaskan wilderness, where he thinks it's his time to die.

These characters and the chapters that jump between their lives capture current times well.  Although not as subtle as other authors of society, such as John Updike, Hayes is able to make intellectual butterflies flutter in his own simple way.

The build is great, and the jumps between story lines are presented in such a manner that to finish the book seems quick.

However, when all the story lines finally catch up with one another, the climax is a bit quick and seemed over before I had fully absorbed what was happening.

There is some subtlety, however, in the way the different characters' lives are pieced together through generations to prove an overwhelming point of the novel  live in the now.

On the philosophical side of things, Hayes has characters question each other and themselves, which ultimately leads the reader to do the same.  And the overall question is that of a belief in destination.

This strong theme begins in the prologue, where Hayes discusses America's pioneers, manifest destiny and two obvious influences of Hayes and the novel: Herman Melville and Jack London. And as Hayes writes was the major question Melville posed to intellectual circles circa 19th century in "Moby-Dick; or, The Whale," Is fate a reality or an illusion? Hayes does the same.

Can people viably believe in fate?  Would it then be faith-based?  Is there anything more to such a belief than American egos having to hold mirrors to their lives and succumb to the MTV-thrusted individuality of self-importance?

"But that's how the illusion of fate works," says Ruben Sanchez, a bookstore owner and philosopher who picks up Thornton and transports him to Alaska.  "We cannot help but think of ourselves as being significant. As individual, we occupy center stage in our own lives."

The science fiction part of the novel is that through Whitehead's work, the United States government is about to release worldwide a new technology allowing everybody to see on computer screens historical events as they actually occurred.

What if everybody could see history as it really happened, and not as the winners wrote it? Would something like this ever come about?

And if it did, wouldn't there be an uproar about invasion of privacy?

Hayes has more philosophy on the greater good to spit from the mouths of his characters on such an interesting idea.

Perhaps only in a science fiction novel could such a concept be written of on a reality level, but the book really hits as a beard-stroking work of philosophy full in intellectual candy.

And Hayes is able to discuss these things and reference many other staples of American literature in a point-blank fashion.

The many references don't confuse, but instill wonder and pique interest.

Overall, Hayes' manner is direct, conversational and well-spoken.  Yet, in our attention-deficit society, this is a fine way to introduce young readers to ideas many times too convoluted in the books of, say Nietzsche, who is mentioned a few times.

This is a perfect book for high school English teachers to regard as a way to bring many other aspects of literature to students' attention while also provoking excitement about personal beliefs. Fully involved class discussions will surely follow.

A former police officer and current resident of Alaska, Hayes is able to bring true and believable experiences to his debut fictional novel in monumental fashion.

'Portals in a Northern Sky" is a book to be heralded, and Hayes is an author of fully rounded intellect to be recognized.

 


Dust Jacket Copy:
Transport Yourself Through Time and Thought

Portals in a Northern Sky, book coverThis deftly-woven story crosses genres from thriller to adventure, science fiction to historical, discussing philosophy and literature all the way. Portals in a Northern Sky is a book you will want to savor.  You'll meet:

  • The secret team behind Portals System: a new technology that shows the past in real time and that the U.S. president is about to unleash on the world
  • Bob Thornton: One of Wall Street's hottest whiz kids, who throws away the materialist life and hitchhikes to the Alaska wilderness in the company of Ruben Sanchez, an impassioned skeptic and self-taught philosopher
  • Sara Spencer Peek: Crossing the prairies as a teenager in the 1860s, she rises out of unimaginable grief and loss to build a new life for herself--not just once, but several times--and remains a fixture in the lives of her descendants
  • Vince Terrell: The tortured inner-city cop who avenges his sister's death--and risks his own--by stealing both the money and the dope in a back-alley drug deal
  • Adam Whitehead: The scientist who made Portals possible and who mysteriously disappears just as James Tall Tree, a native Sioux and the president's national science advisor, desperately needs to find him

If you're a fan of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Jack London's Call of the Wild, Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged,the imaginary worlds of Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, or Isaac Asimov; the gripping thrillers of Michael Crichton, Tom Clancy, or John Grisham, or any book that raises core questions about the purpose of life, education, or fate, Portals in a Northern Sky is a must-read.

 

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AUTODIDACTIC PRESS TITLES:

Existential Aspirations

Find out more:  Existential Aspirations

September University: Summoning Passion for an Unfinished Life

Find out more:  September University
 

The Rapture of Maturity: A Legacy of Lifelong Learning

Find out more:  The Rapture of Maturity
 

Portals in a Northern Sky...a novel

Find Out More>
 

Beyond the American Dream

Find Out More>
 

Training Yourself: The 21st Century Credential

Find Out More>
 

Proving You're Qualified

Find Out More>
 

Self-University

Find Out More>
 

 

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