Saturday, January 7, 2012
Book Five: Back to the Stars by JZ Colby
This is the fifth book in the Nebador series. The end of the solar system is not the limit for the crew on board Manessa. The real star-drive will help Ilika and his crew (mortals of fresh and blood) to move on, with the help of the powers of the universe. But before they fly onwards to the star zone, much beyond the ‘reachable’ solar system, they have a lot to learn from planet-hopping in the solar system itself.
They travel from one strange planet to another, each planet and its environment is testing them, their skills, their learning prowess and even their readiness to die! Do they emerge successful? I shall not spill the beans, but leave it to you to find out for yourself.
Meanwhile this is what the journey of the Manessa crew and taught me.
The power of focus: The story begins with my favourite character Rini getting lost in the beauty of space, especially during high orbit excursions. Have you ever let your mind wander on the possibility of achieving multiple things, instead of focusing on that one thing, thus wasting away your entire day with nothing done at all? Rini was taught a lesson by the rest of the crew and he learnt fast. As Rini floated through the airless void high above Sonmatia-Two, he had a plan. He set his bracelet to chime every minute and on each chime he reviewed his checklist – air, thruster fuel, location, orientation, health status, mission status. This review took only a few seconds, but it left him plenty of time for work or sightseeing. To do lists, whether prepared daily or weekly would do the same. I can’t do without my to-do lists and since I have lately learnt to take better care of myself, my to-do lists not only deal with what I have to do at the work place but also have time carved out for exercise, prayer and for family and friends. It takes at the maximum half an hour to prepare an exhaustive list every Sunday, but it leaves me better organized and happier.
The power of diversity: Diversity at the workplace is being talked about a lot. Companies are increasingly looking at whether there are adequate women employees, or whether there is a proper mix of ethnicity. Diversity can be powerful as it would help bring different perspectives to the table. But Sata who connected with the navigator of another Nebador ship, learnt about a different kind of diversity. Drrrim-na, navigator of the irilana Kril, a life monitor Nebador ship was a bird! Let us take a look at the management consultancy field. Today business entities are global, you have to deal with colleagues who are not only working in different time zones but celebrating different festivals. Yet, it is this diversity which helps provide the client with a complete business solution. Or why narrow down diversity to differences in race, caste, creed or culture. Your next door cubicle neighbor could be thinking differently from you on a particular issue. Only when different points of view are discussed threadbare can a holistic solution be arrived at. Herd-think would only lead to failures.
The dangers of climatic change, what are we doing about it?
Ilika gravely told Mati and the others. “Every sapient race goes through this test, arranged by the overseers of the universe. Every planet full of people eventually discovers enough knowledge and power to change their climate. If they have also gained enough wisdom they survive. Else they die, or regress to a level that can survive on…whatever is left of their planet.” The crew first hand gets to experience what happened to an entire planet, which was wiped out.
People over-rely on energy till one fine day it runs out. Our mobile and internet service provider recently experienced a fire at its data centre and the services were down. We all wondered how people were once getting along without mobile or internet connectivity. Many nerves were frayed, people were moaning about being unable to get work done. Imagine what would happen if all energy ran out. Even the clock on the mantle piece which is run on a battery would stop ticking. We would have grown so accustomed to our comfortable cocoons seated in an air-conditioned or artificially heated environment that we would be unable to bear the vagaries of nature. Further where would we get water from? Taps would run dry, so would the stock of food, humanity would perish. Artificial paper money, gold, silver, credit cards, nothing would be of help.
Yet today, instead of conserving energy we are still thinking of reaching out for the stars, or exploring nuclear science and are battling over how and why we can prevent the polar caps from melting away. We do need to wake up before it is too late for mankind.
Live each day as if it is your last:
Neither the wise Ilika nor the able and experienced Manessa can help the crew out of a desperate situation. Each one, including the captain has to ready himself/herself to die. Yet after days of grief at the very thought of dying, the crew manages to pull themselves together and live just for today. Sometimes we humans fritter away our lives worrying, worrying about tomorrow and we forget to live in the now. While it is good to foresee problems so that one is ready to face them with appropriate solutions on hand, we also need to learn to live in the now. A hard task but one which is worth learning.
At the end of the book Manessa begins to cross the solar system called Sonmatia which taught her crew a great many things. Another new journey awaits them. So as 2012 has just dawned on us, another journey awaits us as well and it is up to us how we traverse upon life’s path in 2012.
Reviews of other books in this series: