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Product Details

  • Paperback: 257 pages
  • Publisher: Autodidactic Press (April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962197963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962197963
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,801,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Charles Douglas Hayes, self-taught philosopher and self-help book author (Beyond the American Dream), combines several genres-thriller, historical, SF-in his ambitious first novel, Portals in a Northern Sky, in which the U.S. president is set to reveal a new technology capable of showing the past in real time. Literary allusions to everyone from Herman Melville to Ayn Rand abound.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

Charles D. Hayes is a self-taught philosopher and one of America's strongest advocates for lifelong learning. He spent his youth in Texas and served as a U.S. Marine and as a police officer before embarking on a career in the oil industry. Alaska has been his home for more than forty years.

Promoting the idea that education should be thought of not as something you get but as something you take, Hayes' work has been featured in The L.A. Progressive, USA Today, and the UTNE Reader, on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation and on Alaska Public Radio's Talk of Alaska.

Praised for his remarkable depth of knowledge across numerous disciplines, Hayes affirms through his work that active, continuous learning is what makes life worthwhile. His books encourage the kind of thinking that can transform human relations on a global scale, urging us to continuously examine our values, motivations, and common beliefs. He inspires us to acknowledge our mortality and live authentically as a result, taking deliberate action to leave the world a better place than we found it.

"The temporary nature of our lives may be a reason for unavoidable despair," says Hayes, "but such is the price of intelligence--it doesn't render our lives meaningless. To the contrary, the opportunity to live a life as a human being makes us the most fortunate creatures on the planet. We should be experts at being human and creating a world where humans can thrive."

Customer Reviews

And the book is an action-packed, fun, easy read to boot.
Unconventional Ideas
The problem is that he has embedded this in the form of lectures which he tries to pass off as character dialogue.
bookeditions
What a wonderful combination of science fiction and philosophy!
muffiemae

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth on August 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
PORTALS IN A NORTHERN SKY is a novel that seems to be a bit unsure of what it wants to be. Part science fiction, part fantasy, part historical, it wanders across two centuries introducing a plethora of characters whose interconnectedness is gradually revealed as the plot progresses.
The underlying thread is the invention of a machine that allows one to view incidents in the past, a window on history. James Tall Tree, a Native American and the National Science Advisor, announces the development of the system to an eclectic group of people all of whom are well-known in their respective fields: a psychologist, an evangelist, a sociologist, an antiestablishment historian and a Libertarian capitalist. Their purpose is to advise him-and, by extension, the President of the US-on how to present the discovery to the world in a way that will minimize the potential negative impact.
At the same time, self-made millionaire Bob Thornton abandons his life as an investment genius and sets off on a quest for enlightenment to Alaska, Tall Tree's mentor, academic Adam Whitehead, flees into the Alaskan wilderness to die, convinced he is in the early stages of Alzheimer's, and Dallas policeman Vince Terrell also plans a journey to the last American frontier-after he exacts revenge on the drug dealer responsible for his sister's death.
Author Charles Douglas Hayes is a firm believer in the importance of ongoing self-education. He also clearly has a deep and abiding love for the Alaskan wilderness, which he describes in vivid and compelling detail. However, his novel, despite its potential, tries to cover too many issues and ends up shortchanging all of them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Lappen VINE VOICE on July 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This multi-faceted novel takes place in and around the state of Alaska. Part of it is a multi-generation saga of one family over the last 150 years. It starts with a young woman named Sara Spencer Peek, part of a westward-bound wagon train in the mid 19th century. Back in the present, Bob Thornton is a Wall Street superstar, who, one day, walks away from everything, and heads for Alaska. He's not totally sure where he's going or what he'll do once he gets there, but there has to be more to life than Wall Street. While hitchhiking, he is picked up by Ruben Sanchez, self-educated philosopher. They do a lot of talking about philosophy, most of it centered on the book Moby Dick.
Adam Whitehead is a world-renowned physicist doing his best to drop off the face of the earth. Both his parents died of complications from Alzheimer's Disease, and, being of the age where such a thing is a major concern, he is terrified that he will be next. Should it happen, he will end his own life before he ends up in some nursing home. James Tall Tree, the Presidential Science Adviser, calls out the Alaska State Police in almost-desperate search for Whitehead. His theories have led to a major discovery that is about to be released to the public. Tall Tree wants to officially acknowledge Whitehead's contribution.
It has become possible to go back in time and watch events as they happen in real time. Going to any coordinates, as long as it was outside and there was no cloud cover, it is possible to go back as far as the cavemen and watch it 'live'. Access to this system will be freely available to anyone with an internet connection. The repercussions for all of human society, especially fields like history and archaeology, will, of course, be cataclysmic.
I really enjoyed this book, but it's not for everyone.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roy A. Shipman on November 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Portals In A Northern Sky is a fresh and new concept on time travel that rivals Michael Creitons wonderful "Timeline" at it presents a mystery adventure of a family migration across the continent from the east to the west where several of its characters find common threads in their genealogy just like many of us might do if we had the ability to see all of the events of the past. The book begins in Alaska and after many twist and turns has its surprising and complex climatic end in Alaska. It is like reading three novels in one with lots of philosophy, history, intrigue, a journey back and forth in time.
For Science Fiction lovers it has an examination of the ramifications for governments to no longer have secrets, for Mystery lovers it has crime and murder, for Adventure lovers it has searching for gold in Alaska, for Classic lovers it has several summaries of some American classic literature with various philosophical ideas in interpretations and for History lovers it has many of the great events in American history mentioned.
The novel is a puzzle where in the end all of the pieces fit together to form a very large picture of past and present letting know that know one can foresee the future. This is a must read for anyone who is interested in creative three-dimensional plots and interesting characters.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By bookeditions on December 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Readers can approach this book in two ways: as a work of fiction or as a forum for Hayes to discuss his educational philosophy. As fiction, this is one of the worst books I have ever read. The dialogue is contrived (if I ever read the word "amigo" again I'll puke), there are so many characters who add nothing to the plot, and speaking of plot Hayes destroys what could have been an interesting one. The only reason I gave this book a star at all was because of Hayes' expanation of his thoughts on self-education. He has some insights on classical fiction which spurs further thought. The problem is that he has embedded this in the form of lectures which he tries to pass off as character dialogue. If you like to get preached to, this is the book for you. It's ironic that Hayes endorses self-education yet comes off as a college professor, and a boring one at that.
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