MSA 6/24
“The Flight Paths”
'Flight Paths' is a networked novel, created on and through the internet. It is a collaborative work between Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph. 'Flight Paths' uses stories, texts, videos, photos, sounds, and animations to tell the story of Yacub, the man who fell from the sky, and Harriet, the Londoner, the woman who witnesses his fall.
The Creation of the Story
In 2001 Kate Pullinger read an article in the Guardian newspaper that told the story of a body landing in a supermarket car park in southwest London. The dead man was a young Pakistani who had bought into the myth that it is possible to climb into the hold of an airplane by stowing away in its landing gear.
Since reading that article, she was motivated to find out more about these stowaways. In 2007, she embarked on a public discussion, via a blog, of the story, the ideas, and themes that arose from it. Along with her collaborator Chris Joseph and about 100 participants, she began to collect a series of digital assets created by people interested in the project – stories, animations, videos, ideas, images. In 2009, she started creating five multimedia story fragments to tell the story of Yacub, the fictional airplane stowaway who survives his fall, and Harriet, the fictional Londoner on whose car Yacub lands.
  • Five multimedia short digital stories
  • A combination of sound, images and written text.
  • Modified photographs creating a visual story.
  • Music associated with the Middle East music helps creating ambiance.
  • The work has limited animation and is built of static images which run on the screen at a rhythm predetermined by the author.
  • Partly interactive: the viewer is asked to click on a symbol to access the following page / episode.
  • Simple to use and does not require a deep understanding of coding or video games by the viewer.
  • Episodes create a sense of suspense.

Novel: The Landing Gear __

Landing Gear __
The digital development team at Random House Canada has created this interactive map based on the first thirty pages of Landing Gear.

Reading Experience:

  • The simplicity of language is an important feature that makes the episodes more accessible.
  • The use of split screens in some episodes contrasts the life of Yacub with the life of Harriet.
  • The reader has to click on a highlighted word to move to the other part.
  • To some extent it has a didactic mode.
  • The use of colors is very suggestive. It gives a critical background of events. It forms an atmosphere of gloominess and uncertainty which describes Yacub’s life.
  • The use of realistic photos and pictures gives credibility to the story.

  • The story is not only Yacub’s story, but also it is a story of thousands of people around the world.
  • The critical quality of the works is so clear. It discusses and criticizes the working conditions and exploitation of immigrants in some countries like UAE.
  • Hundreds of thousands of immigrant workers from south Asia are mistreated in the construction camps.
  • The piece is sponsored by Refugee Week, an organization trying to help people like Yacub.
  • This is a perfect model of the cooperation between the non-profit sector and literature.