Good morning folks,
I hope all is well with you during these unprecedented times and that your families are safe. We now have a lot more reading time on our hands! This is a recent interview I did about the writing of Narican that you might find interesting.
To Narican and Back
An Interview with the Author
By Deborah Huyett
From the outer reaches of space to the most inner, intimate places within the human spirit, Doug Robbins newest book takes readers on a journey that is both adventurous and philosophical. In his new book, Narican: The Cloaked Deception, Robbins weaves together a modern tale meant to entertain but to also provoke thought.
Doug Robbins’ characteristic social conscience continues to shape his themes, but within a genre that’s a departure from his usual style. His recent book is a science fiction story with a philosophical underpinning.
Epic Battle Between Forces of Good and Evil
In Narican, Robbins’ universe consists of a hierarchy of sentient beings with humans in the lower order and Naricanians above. The higher order species earn their place in the hierarchy as enlightened beings, connected to omniscient being. Just under the Divine, the Naricanians are responsible for overseeing Earthlings’ growth toward enlightenment, but now, all are in danger. Creatures of darkness bent on destroying the universe have infected Narican.
As the infection grows, Naricanians lose their connection to enlightenment and experience unspeakable suffering. As the light of their souls darken, so darkness falls from the upper realm to Earth, trickling down and suffocating their souls, too, unless Claremone a coming-of-age boy and Tanz the accountant seer can stop it. Human beings, Naricanians, the Universe, and all existence is in dire peril.
Impossibly, it’s up to a young human boy born with powers that enable him to fight against the darkness to save Earth, the upper realms, and the Universe. Against forces far greater than him, this young boy must rise and find his inner strength to push back and defeat the pervading darkness.
All The Hallmarks Of Robbins’s Work
While this may be a departure in genre, Robbins does not stray too far from the themes that define him, concepts that capture and reflect on the human condition. On the surface, the story pulls from science fiction elements like life on other planets, mythical beings, villains out to destroy the universe, and a hero coming-of-age, but these are only vehicles for deeper meanings behind the scenes that delve into philosophical concepts about the human condition.
Robbins does not use a hammer to get across his philosophical points about human nature and society, but a much more subtle and elegant device: allegory. In Narican, the real protagonists are humans who fight to stay aware of themselves in context to the negative forces in society pulling them towards bitterness, self-recrimination, angst, and all the other types of thinking that erode one’s power.
Within Narican, Robbins grapples with the very foundation of human intellectual and emotional growth; he explores the importance of the self, the makeup of a human soul. Through his main character, Reuben, Robbins identifies and demonstrates the power that comes from valuing and trusting in oneself. Through Reuben who evolves into Claremone, like the chrysalis of a butterfly, he explains the way our souls are constructed by our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and as such, we can direct and control our growth. We can empower ourselves.
What happens when humans walk around with shrunken souls? What happens when we stay true and let our souls soar? Imagine the possibilities of the latter and the tragedy of the former. That’s just what Robbins does with the characters in Narican.
The Lessons of Narican: The Cloaked Deception
These are important ideas in today’s tumultuous, discordant political and social climate. Against the disappointment in world leaders and shock at world events, we must stay strong. To do so, we must stay true to our values and beliefs and keep our personal power; conversely, when we let negative forces influence us, we reduce our own value and therefore shrink our soul. Herein lies the inspiration for Narican.
Robbins’ novel is a contemplation on the current state of the world and offers a way out. He sees the shortcomings of a society grown rife with criticism, rejection, blame, hostility, etc. He sees countless ways that people’s hopes and ideals have been cut short. He wants to offer a solution.
The human condition that Robbins grapples with in Narican is the ability for the empowered individual to withstand against the forces of a dark society that seeks to oppress enlightened values. In an era dealing with aftershocks of a pendulum swinging so far back that major issues of civil rights have reared again, Robbins reacts with a novel that aims to identify as much as fight back against the repression of the human condition.
In many ways, Robbins sees the fate of the world hanging in the balance with current politics and social epidemics of angry rhetoric designed to divide people. He translates this division into his book as a Dichotomy, a split between our ability to think well about the world versus our temptation to succumb to suffering, pain, and distrust. Enlightened souls will strive to feel and act positively, to stay empowered, while souls that regress entrap themselves in the negativity, giving up their power. It takes effort to be a positive, good person.
Too easily, people are derailed by negative experiences and weighed down by negative thinking. In the world of Robbins’s fiction, that weight is a force, an entity, a being that allegorically seeks the demise of anything good, from the far reaches of the universe to inside the human soul.
Philosophically, Robbins believes that the soul’s desires drive behavior, but the soul can be contaminated by suffering, a cloud, or Haze, part of the dark forces in the book, that covers any logical thinking and positive feelings. Therefore, the dichotomy exists, a struggle between pain / suffering and instinct / trust in oneself; the enemy of empowerment is self-doubt.
Robbins sees that it’s so easy for human nature to accept negativity and forget about the beauty of the soul. It takes work to pursue joy, passion, and positivity. To put it simplistically, to save the world, one must actively work to seek the positive (empowerment) and let go of the negative (self-doubt).
Brilliant Example Shines Light on The Path
In a brilliant example of his philosophy, Robbins steps outside of allegory to make a literal demonstration of his theme by publishing this novel himself. The choice to self-publish is Robbins’s declaration that he believes in his worth and trusts his instincts to share this work with the world on his own terms.
Like Reuben, Robbins fights against the negativity and self-doubt that plagues us all as he stands squarely on his merits that this work deserves publication and that an audience awaits. He’s not wrong.
The plot and themes of Narican will resonate with any reader who loves a hero’s journey or cares about the plight of the human condition. As Robbins’s faith in himself leads the way down a path toward empowerment, readers will come along and discover that at the end of his road is enlightenment—for Narican, for himself, and for them.
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