Portals in Time follows ten time travelers on their quest to find a cure for an epidemic of people who are aging prematurely. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?
There is no doubt that those of us living in our modern world feel and sense the compression of time upon our lives. Not only are we in competition with our unknown and fast developing high tech future; but we are also aware, perhaps more than ever, of our personal limitations as human beings. Our sense of identity and belonging no longer comes from the village and its elders nor the wisdom that they might bestow upon us as we question our role in society.
We are rapidly becoming separated from who we are as social and soulful beings and are now being asked to interface with computer systems which are constantly evolving. As a result, we are feeling alienated and disempowered. There is no heart or soul within a machine; and yet, we are witnessing the acceleration of High Tech into all aspects of our lives.
The beings called Gripps in the novel, “Portals in Time: The Quest for Un-Old-Age” have become victims of an advanced society in which all forms of personal expression have been labeled as possessing only extraneous and superficial values. All values of the heart and soul are considered ephemeral concepts that no longer serve the ongoing process of the Greater Good. They chant slogans created to impose internal law and order in each and every Gripp citizen: “We grab on! We grip on! We grind on! Because that is our way!”
Quite simply, their overwhelming desire to conform has left them devoid of all their natural impulses and sensitivity. Stripped of positive thoughts and self-reinforcing feelings, they have begun to age much faster than normal.
It is time for us to reflect upon how we as human beings define our future! At the moment we are being asked to interface with machines as if those machines represent our Greater Good! The only question that remains is how do you define the Greater Good?
The ten characters we follow are prisoners with specific skills and various backgrounds. What was your favorite character to write for?
The main protagonists in the book are ten prisoners from Grippland who volunteer to become time travelers with a mission to locate and return with the Secret to Un-Old-age! Their rewards for a successful mission will be freedom and a new identity. Their names are Grist the Commander, Twist the Politician and Scheme the Businessman, Babble the Publicist, Stare the Engineer, Dr. Grouse, Grubb the Biologist, Gritt the Geologist, Grimm the Psychologist, and Grind the Archeologist. They are numbered one through ten according to their perceived value on the mission.
The Team members were chosen for their specific skills and abilities to work together and explore any new worlds they might encounter. Most are mature and hardened individuals who are definitely capable of adding to the success of the mission. A few of them only volunteered for the Eye of Time Exploration Team for personal gain and/or to escape Grippland!
Grist, the military leader and former General, has earned the rank of being number One on the Mission. Twist as the name might imply is a politician who is well experienced in twisting the truth. He has earned the rank of number Two and has been deemed valuable as one capable of conjuring up plans which might deceive any unsuspecting and naïve society. Number Three, Scheme Businessman was chosen for his ability to exploit anything of potential value.
As you can imagine with ten principal characters it is difficult to develop them all completely, however, they are each highlighted in various scenes throughout the book when they encounter their own misadventures and inspirations.
Stare the Engineer is number Five; and as his name implies, he appears to always be in another world even though you may be talking directly to him. He is considered extraordinarily valuable to the team since he is the only team member who possesses advanced engineering skills. His character is highlighted several times in the book when he encounters a trans-dimensional entity by the name of Delphos who can enter dreams and so much more.
It is very difficult to determine any particular favorite character. Perhaps it would be number Seven, Gripp Grubb the Biologist. I favor him because he endures so much and helps to bring the storyline forward in many different ways.
I enjoyed creating all the Gripp personalities and using their unique characteristics to develop and move the action forward in a believable fashion.
In the beginning the Gripps are perceived as ruthless and senseless beings without feelings or introspection. As they progress throughout their adventures, they all encounter different aspects of themselves, which allows them to gain greater insight into their being. The last chapter of the book demonstrates that no matter how stubborn and shut down they have been, the Gripps did learn and begin to understand a new way of thinking and being. They left with hope and inspiration in their hearts.
This is a fascinating novel that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to capture while writing this book?
“Portals in Time: The Quest for Un-Old-Age”, is an allegorical adventure based upon an advanced culture in which the human element of society has been deemed irrelevant by the edict that each must bow to the Greater Good. This concept ensured that High Command could dominate all aspects of Gripp life.
Part of the autocratic ideology was that all individuals were considered guilty of something until proven un-guilty. It was impossible to proclaim innocence since High Command was certain that it would only be a matter of time before your crimes were uncovered. Laws and regulations were being devised, implemented, and changed daily and all statements and even thoughts were suspect. Thought Stalkers were immediately rewarded for reporting on their fellow Gripps.
Eventually, Grippland citizens lost all sense of who and what they were, but more importantly, they were also unaware of what they were becoming. Without joy and wonder, humor and laughter, they began to age rapidly as more and more restrictions penetrated and encircled their lives.
The Quest for Un-Old-Age compelled scientists to find a cure for the rampant, premature aging of the population. They send ten members of the expendable community of prisoners through time, hoping to find a solution. These members arrive in a beautiful land on another dimension called Acronos. It is a magical place where nature is intelligent and aware of All That Is.
This book was designed to show that we must be far more aware of who we really are as a humans, possessing our precious sensitivities, feelings and soulful expressions.
On their journey of exploration of Level Seven, the Grips are exposed to the Seven Harmonies of Live which represent the rediscovery of what they had lost as a society. The Harmonies are (1) Inner Tone, (2) Rhythm and Rhyme, (3) Trust and Intuition, (4) Knowing Your Heart, (5) Joy and Wonder, (6) Humor and Laughter, (7) Forgiveness and Letting Go.
The principle theme that runs through Portals in Time is that we are indeed all travelers through time. We want to make the most of our lives and be empowered by what we know and experience. If we lose our sensitivity and awareness of our core values as human beings, we may be transforming ourselves into something more compatible with a Machine Culture than with each other.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
The sequel to “Portals in Time”, sub-titled, “The Prophecy” finds the Eye of Time Explorers back in Grippland, but they are experiencing a time warp, which advanced them more than three hundred years into their society’s future. Everything they knew about life in their former world is gone. As they struggle to comprehend why their society vanished, they eventually realize that information and the processing of that information became far more valuable than any member of Grippland.
Gripps were eventually replaced by working machines and those machines were replaced by even more advanced machines.
The ten surviving members of the Eye of Time Exploration Team managed to successfully return to their point of origin, but in reality their point of origin no longer exists. They try to comprehend what occurred and ultimately discover that groups of robots went to war against more advanced robots.
The Gripps arrived in an the future after the great Robot Wars, when the remnants of Gripp society existed only in small, scattered groups in tunnels, caves, and in the forbidden zone deemed to be radioactive and dangerous to all synthetic beings, i.e. the Robots.
The principal themes in the sequel will test the Gripp’s resolve and creativity as well as the values of humanity that may still lie dormant within them. Will they remember those adventures on Level Seven and will their exposure to the Seven Harmonies of Life empower them with renewed strength and resolve which they might potentially share with the remnants of Gripp society?
Will these ten former prisoners become the heroes of a defeated society in an advanced future and will they be capable of reclaiming that future from the tight grip of powerful and advanced machines?
At present there is no specific timetable for the release of the second book. It is still in the design phase.
If you enjoyed, The Alchemist, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Celestine Prophecy, you will love this book. If you thrive in nature and appreciate a spiritual journey leading to wondrous discoveries that can change your life, you will be amazed by this exciting adventure that engages and entertains readers of all ages.
The story begins with ten volunteers, the Grippland Eye of Time Exploration Team who are former prisoners sent via time-travel to discover the Secret of Un-Old-Age. Grippland High Command rules with an iron fist, using thousands of laws, censorship, and intense surveillance. They reward Thought Stalkers and have eliminated the use of positive words that are now hidden away in the Word Museum. The Gripps Exploration Team’s mission is to save their civilization and find a cure for the citizens who are aging prematurely.
The Gripps arrive in another dimension, a mysterious land called Acronos filled with natural beauty and harmony. They encounter many intelligent and unusual life-forms and are shocked by nature’s amazing awareness. They are greeted by the Guardians of Acronos, two highly-evolved time-travelers who attempt to share the wisdom of The Seven Harmonies. The Gripps experience one surprising event after another in which time changes, twists and turns until they begin to realize that their thoughts are creating their reality and reality is mirroring who they are and revealing their true nature.
There are few times in our lives when we can become lost in a fantasy that can affect our lives in such a meaningful and positive way. You will not forget the characters and the wonder of nature in this story of love, patience, understanding, and redemption that will enhance your life and live in your heart.
Posted in Interviews
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The Mystery of St. Arondight’s tells the story of six teenagers on a mysterious quest full of adventure and suspense. During a camping trip among an abbey’s ruins, Suze, Claire, Jerry, Melody, Simon, and Sarah witness phantom flames, living skeletons, and a haunted crypt. The supernatural phenomenons raise questions that lead the group on a mysterious quest across Europe. To make matters worse, they are pitted against a crazed doctor and his menacing lackeys searching for the same answers. As the young adventurers search for clues, they uncover secrets about the legends of King Arthur, his queen, and his loyal knights.
What a fantastic break-out novel for author S. M. Porter! The plot was littered with suspense, adventure, action, a little romance – everything you need to create a great story. I enjoyed trying to figure out clues the characters had to find and the puzzles they discover.
I love history, especially history of the Middle Ages, and I find the legends of King Arthur fascinating. Porter ties these interesting topics together by using an archaeological dig as the setting, which I believe serves as the perfect venue for a novel like this. Her experience working on dig sites allows her to explain ruins, decaying bodies, and crypts in amazing detail that pulls the reader into the story.
Due to her experience with fencing, Porter makes the fight scenes lifelike. She uses her experiences to provide another level of understanding within the novel. Suze and Simon both fence, and there is a scene where one of the characters must fight a knight. Porter’s understanding of weaponry allows her allows to describe swords and shields in detail, pulling you right into the action.
Overall, I think The Mystery of St. Arondight’s is a great story with a fantastic plot, but some parts were confusing. The characters were lovable, and Porter described teenage friendships and interactions in a humorous but true way. As relatable as the characters are, I do think they needed more character development. Each character did grow throughout the story, but I felt like there development was too obvious.. I also had a hard time with the constant point of view changes. The book is primarily in first person from Suze’s point of view, but as more characters and plot developments are introduced, the point of view switches from first person to third person. I think a novel with this many point of view changes should have been written completely in third person.
I loved the mix of history and paranormal in the story and was fond of the characters. I am impressed by Porter’s ability to draw experiences from her life and describe them in such a way that makes you feel as though everything in The Mystery of St. Arondight’s really happened. My biggest criticisms are the character development and the point of view changes, but those wouldn’t keep me from reading this novel again. I hope Porter continues to follow the adventures of Suze, Jerry, Claire, Simon, Melody, and Sarah. I can’t wait to see what happens to them in the future!
Pages: 393 | ASIN: B01L0CQT42
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I was delighted to discover the writing of Jim Cronin in Recusant, the second book of his series, The Brin Archives. This fantasy/adventure/science fiction tale chronicles the journeys of two peoples, the Brin and the Kolandi, through time. The story depicts two different species whose lives and struggles are intertwined over more than a millennium.
Maliche Rocker, descendant of the original “saviors” of the Brin race on their new planet, was a very talented archeologist, and therefore, an embarrassment to his family, as most of the Brin people believed that genetics was the only honorable profession. Maliche came into possession of an article which enabled him to not only glimpse, but to experience the long-forgotten past of their forbearers. The history that subsequently unfolds will shake the very foundations of the Brin and their beliefs.
Many of the occurrences in the story parallel important issues in our world (past and present), such as slavery, greed, lack of tolerance, and abuse of power. A meaningful example of this is in some of the Brin people’s willingness to abuse another race. This corresponds with humans’ tendency to justify the abuse of others that may be different from us by demeaning their worth, and labeling them as undeserving of compassion. Because of this, the tale can strike home with many readers, allowing them to fully engage.
I lost myself in the narrative, as it felt quite real; palpable. I became truly fond of many of the characters, especially Jontar and Maliche. Their spirit, along with their ability to love, trust, and to overcome adversity particularly appealed to me. In addition, I loved the courage and tenacity of Vidad and Neas. I was totally absorbed, and could not put the book down.
The artful approach of the author in interlacing past and present to reveal, bit by bit, the characters’ missions, secrets, fears, and ambitions, is fresh and exciting. Although I enjoyed the creativity of Cronin’s unique approach, I did have to go back and re-read certain sections a couple of times to determine what was actually transpiring (and in which timeline). It is not absolutely necessary to first read Recusant’s predecessor Hegira in order to enjoy this book, however, I feel it would be helpful.
Mr. Cronin has created a reality with this series which will captivate and enthrall readers, young and old, for many years to come. I highly recommend Recusant, and the entire Brin Archives series.
Pages: 269 | ASIN: B01KTVTMNK
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