December 11, 2007
MarkBernstein.org
 
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Flight Paths Grounded

I might be more interested in Flight Paths, the new online novel project of Kate Pullinger and Chris Joseph, if the license terms did not insist that

Hotlinking to any materials on the Site, including but not limited to, images and videos....is not permitted without the Writers prior written consent.

This passage has three blunders.

The story seems to involve a grocery shopper whose car is struck by the body of a stowaway who had flown from Karachi to Heathrow in a jetliner's wheel well.

Flight Paths seeks to explore what happens when lives collide — an airplane stowaway and the fictional, suburban London housewife, quoted above. This project will tell their stories.

The writing of this crucial introductory passage strikes me as loose. Is the housewife fictional or fictitious? Is the stowaway not fictitious. As we are exploring what happens "when lives collide", are we telling two stories or one? And, most pertinently, why are we talking about this dramatic collision when so many casual encounters raise the same questions? Look at In America; a family leaves Ireland with almost nothing, enters the US through the Canadian border, and here they are. Look at the sanctuary movement in US and British churches. Look anywhere on the Continent during WW2, or anywhere in Iraq today. Trouble need not fall from the sky; it can ring your doorbell.

None of this is a fatal defect, and it all can be corrected.