Starship Malaysia: Lies That Save Lives is a science-fiction novel written by Keith Costelloe. The story is set in a future where humanity has expanded into the galaxy, and the crew of the Starship Malaysia embarks on a mission to explore a distant planet. However, when they arrive, they discover a secret that could jeopardize not only their mission but the safety of the entire galaxy.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)

Just like a fish out of water, the book starts with the protagonist, Scott Mitchell, feeling completely out of place with his sudden move, all the way to the other end of the world from California to Malaysia.

The author introduces the element of fiction here with this character having visions of the future in his dreams. This is supported by vast research on the author’s end regarding out-of-the-body experiences and other psychological enigmas. The Language of the Dreams is one that requires the most adept translator which is mostly built-in within us with a faulty receptor. This unveils the deepest, hidden desires and abilities that has gained a special emphasis in this storyline. An eagle has been the personification of such an entity in the book that the character blends into while indulging in these miraculous episodes. This is perhaps due to the fact that eagles are known for their unique character. Apart from ruling the skies soaring high, eagles also have the trait of breaking their own weakened beaks, a slow process filled with tremendous pain, just to ensure they do not lose their identity, their fending tool. Looking into the journey of the main character in the book, this appears quite synonymous to it. The main character is also a depiction of one’s inner conflicting self – the mind, the heart, and the soul. Having discovered the last only after a fate initiated tragic turn, the author gracefully points out that sometimes, the change that throws us off our axis the most, ends up being the change that is solidifying us for the upcoming future. This journey only takes a more interesting turn from the epicentre of the book’s universe – Malaysia.

Culture bridges, gaps, distinct ideologies, and philosophies can be seen in various corners of the world. Surely all those adventure seekers out there must have tried their hand with chopsticks and Asian cuisine. The Indian in you would surely go “you have god-gifted ten sticks attached to thyself and yet you’re trying for an eleventh and twelfth?!”. But that is the thing about new culture. It may not be convenient, it may not make sense, but one is drawn to it, nonetheless. This is embedded into the plot along the lines of Malay and further on, Thai culture, so much so that the book can act as a basis for a tour guide to the respective places. To someone with an American upbringing, the Asian cultures did come across as rigid. The aspects of differing societal norms, cultural ‘restrictions’ and perspectives have been touched upon by the author with a humorous tint to it. Along with this, the author has included the teenage perspective of a seventeen-year-old trying to fit in a high school with other opinionated teenagers. With different ethnicities comes different cultural baggage. It is shown how the main lead strives through with them, all the while adapting to his new life, almost as well as the coolie in every railway station of India with his multiple baggage luggage.

With a complex family situation, the book talks about how support systems have changed in adolescents. Although set in 1982-83, the book clearly shows the changing dynamics of teenagers becoming more reliant on the friends’ circles and lesser on the familial circles. This statement alone has the potential to summon the most rigorously head-bobbing in agreement throughout history, if put out into the society today. Due to this change in dynamics, the plotline revolves mainly around the adventures of the character with his friends.

The question remains – why the Starship. We all have the one, compartment in our minds that escapes reality every time the boss is yelling, or our parents are testing decibels? That’s our respective Starships we use to enter our happy-verses. Similarly, this book takes us on a ride through the Starship of this character along a thrilling journey. Throughout the book we see the multiple stages of the out-of-the-body experiences of the main character. Starting from denial, that is was just a dream to ending with acceptance and convenience to use it for the greater good, one can see that inner potential of each and every human is not fictional but is merely waiting to be unlocked.

As a thriller, this book hooks the audience around the social evil of sex trafficking. A prevalent evil, especially along the timeline and location of plotline, the adventures revolve around the search and rescue of the victims, while becoming victims for a while themselves. To simplify it, one could imagine a strand undone from a piece of cloth. Learning about its existence makes it almost impossible to let it be. Ultimately, we all end up pulling this strand out one way or another until we either lose patience and try to break it off from the cloth or end up loosening a stitch that would result in the cloth’s ultimate dismantle. The cycle of good and evil is quite similar which is what has been portrayed beautifully, through the wordings of the author. There is also the facet of karma that can be seen in the plotline. One might sometimes feel that their work at a place is done but their purpose isn’t. As the thrilling plot line abuts along the scenes of breaking a sex trafficking chain, we can see how it came to be about. Ever tried recovering spilled goods as a child? We always hurry and gather in as many grains spilled as possible and to not leave out any as evidence of our misconduct before our parents find it. Similarly, their good deed of rescuing one of their own from a horrid fate caused a rippling Domino effect that ultimately ended up saving others from the same – a chain reaction. But the author was also suave enough to show that the right path isn’t always easy. Although, instead of seeing hurdles as a setback, can one see it as a navigator for the right path?

Some of the core East-Asian practices like Kung Fu, Tai chi has been broached by the author. Most of these have a common illusion to be about physical mastery and talent whereas from the book, we get to learn that these are merely the physical manifestation of the mental mastery. This skill related to the out-of-the-body experiences of the book has come to be known as Tai Chi – a control over mental reactions and stimuli – gives the readers an idea of the true power of the mind over the body. The book will touch a special place to readers who personally have had such experiences, as our world today does overlook accounts without scientific backing or adequate proof. To all those wanting to relate to something inexplicable, something so profoundly miraculous, this book shall place you in its passenger seat throughout the Starship’s navigation.

Another interesting detail of the book is its outlook on the word and world of “choice.” Throughout the book, we see him trying to make an informed choice over listening to his inner self. There is a constant power battle between the control of the Eagle and the character himself. But the ending puts the fate of the wrongdoers in the hands of the protagonist, and it is left up to the reader to either contest or be content with his choice. Personally, my rationale demanded more absolute justice to the criminals than what was served. However, it could differ among each individual, and that is what makes a book, a worthy read. Finally, it is each individual’s choices that shape their future every step of the way. “Change is the unrelenting tide of fate.” The more one fights it, the more they drown further into it. Distancing oneself from the chaos and viewing it from a bird’s eye perspective – a literal metaphor – simplifies life in its entirety. The reader’s journey through the book reveals the values of friendship, humanity, and brotherhood; the difference between infatuation and love; the key to unlocking your inner bravado; and the power of your sixth innermost sense. The male lead’s devoted effort at his friendship with ‘Waz’, his loyalty and affection to his newfound Malay friends, the misinterpretation of his feelings toward the character “Nor,” and ultimately the fabrication of the climax of the book culminate in these characteristics, respectively. Ironically, the book ends with the protagonist’s glimpse into the future—2023. What began as a coping mechanism to deal with the most significant change in his life serves as the foundation for his paddle, as well as his dreams of becoming a reporter who preaches the importance of molding oneself to fit one’s turbulence in life. After all, what is a pot without the wheel and water, but most importantly, the hand that shapes it? What use is a car without the hands that steer it, and what becomes of life without morals driving it? Food for thought once you begin your journey on this Starship setting course along Malaysia!

Starship Malaysia: Lies That Save Lives: Book Available on Amazon

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