Flight Paths

Flight Paths: A Networked Novel - NEW EPISODE!

8 June 2012 | Comments (0)

Flight Paths: A Networked Novel, my on-going project with Chris Joseph, has a brand-new, sixth, episode!  Hooray!  This episode, as brief as the others, takes up the story of Yacub, who has landed on Harriet’s car in the supermarket car park, and introduces him to Jack, Harriet’s teenaged son.  Go to the website, and click on ‘Jack meets Yacub’.

As I’ve mentioned in my blog posts about my two current works-in-progress, the digital fiction ‘Duel’, and the novel ‘Our Stuff and Our Things’, I’m continuing to develop the story that begins in ‘Flight Paths’ on other platforms.  Both ‘Duel’ and ‘Our Stuff and Our Things’ have grown out of ‘Flight Paths’; the scene in this sixth episode, ‘Jack meets Yacub’, is also described in the novel.

New Glasses/ New Novel

6 June 2011 | Comments (0)

I got some new glasses but I don’t think I like them - they are dark and heavy and a bit blingy.  This is a photo of me in them, with an I-don’t-like-them-but-they-cost-a-fortune look on my face.  How can someone as short-sighted as I am be expected to buy new glasses anyway, when I can’t even see myself when I’m trying them on?

In other news, I finally have really actually started my new novel.  It develops the story that was started on ‘Flight Paths’ - the story of Harriet and Yacub, the man who falls to earth and the woman whose car he lands on. 

Starting a new book is horrible.  The weight of all those blank pages, all that research, all those bad ideas that will have to be rejected and all those dead ends that will have to be reached.  Daunting.  I’m hoping to write this in a year.  Maybe I’ll achieve that.  Anything would be better than the twelve years it took me to write ‘The Mistress of Nothing’. 

I know that a few of my publishers would prefer me to write another historical novel next instead.  But I’ve been thinking and planning this new novel for so long, that to not write it now, finally, when I’m at long last ready to write again, would be like torture. Although of course writing it will be like torture anyway, because that’s what writing is like.  But at least it’s MY torture, torture MY WAY.

Dreaming Methods Open Source Digital Fiction

10 May 2011 | Comments (0)

Chris Joseph and I have been working with Andy Campbell of Dreaming Methods to create an app, and a web app, using the five existing digital stories from ‘Flight Paths’ along with additional material and a brand-new sixth story.  The app won’t be ready for a while yet, though in the meantime Andy has been working hard.

To kick off our project, Andy has been experimenting with the first story from ‘Flight Paths’, ‘Yacub in Dubai’; he’s created an open source version of it that is compatible with many devices and platforms, including iPhone, iPad, and Android, as well as all desktop computers.  This version gets round the problem that we’ve had with Flash not working on certain devices.  Here’s the link:

This link to the latest Dreaming Methods newsletter also showcases several of Andy’s other projects, including his own Digital Fiction Boilerplate, which allows creators with some knowledge of HTML and Javascript to create works that are viewable across platforms and devices, including smartphones. 

As well as that, the newsletter provides a link to the Dreaming Methods mobile site. 

All very exciting and, indeed, ground-breaking, developments for our work on ‘Flight Paths’.

Flight Paths stowaway

10 June 2010 | Comments (0)

Yesterday the banner front page headline in the London newspaper, The Evening Standard, was STOWAWAY’S ROYAL JET TO HEATHROW. 

It transpires that a 20 year old Romanian man had slipped through a wire fence in Vienna on Sunday 6 June and climbed up into the landing gear of the plane.  He’d chosen the first plane he could get to - a private jet belonging to the Dubai royal family - without knowing its destination. The flight took 97 minutes and, because of bad weather conditions, it flew at much lower altitudes than normal - 25,000 feet instead of 37,000 feet.  He has no injuries.  Today the Standard is reporting that he has ‘vanished’.  He was not arrested, and, as an EU resident, he’s allowed to entry to the UK.

I wonder what the circumstances were for this young man.  Was it simply that he wanted to leave Romania but couldn’t afford the airfare, and had heard that you could stowaway inside a plane by climbing up through the landing gear?  Or was he desperate to get away from something?  How desperate and/or ill-informed would you have to be to consider stowing away on an airplane like this?  Did he think he’d be able to climb inside the airplane?  Or did he think that he’d be able to tuck himself away behind the landing gear and ride all the way to the plane’s destination without getting inside the plane.  He was so lucky in so many ways with this journey - only 97 minutes, flying at much lower altitudes than normal - what can that 97 minutes in the air have been like? 

All fascinating stuff for me and my project Flight Paths, and the new book I’m currently attempting to start writing.

Talking about Flight Paths at ‘The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary

10 December 2009 | Comments (0)

The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice

2 November 2009 | Comments (0)


This is where I’ll be next week, #network09, in Bergen, Norway.  Really looking forward to it.  After a week of total immersion in the world of books of the non-digital sort, it will be good to head off to Norway to touch base with other digital writers, artists, and academics.  Not that there’s anything wrong with the world of books, just that the two events (this one and IFOA last week) will provide a healthy contrast to one another.

Not that IFOA was totally non-digital of course.  There was plenty of twittering and blogging going on during the week. And we even had the obligatory-new-media-event-tech-meltdown one evening. I got off the plane from London Monday afternoon and had to go pretty much straight onto the stage for the Governor General Literary Awards Readings (did I mention I’m on the shortlist?).  Two of the shortlisted writers, Annabel Lyon and Michael Crummey, were in Ottawa, so they were appearing on stage via a Skype webcamera call.  Not only did this mean that they were represented by huge distorted videos of their heads (you know how your face gets distorted when you lean up too close to the camera?), but their voices kept cutting out and breaking up.  It was so bad that the audience become unruly, heckling and shouting about the ticket price!  Unheard of for a book audience, let alone a Canadian book audience! However, we redeemed ourselves in the second half with some actual real-person-on-the-stage readings. Also, the chair of the event, Lewis De Soto remained calm, and during the interval helped calm us all down when he said it was ‘an easy act to follow’.  Still, how thrilling to witness a new-media-style-tech-meltdown at a venerable literary event!!!

‘Flight Paths’  featured on Drunken Boat

17 July 2009 | Comments (0)

Jessica Pressman, Assistant Professor at Yale, an academic who is deeply involved with debates and critiques around electronic literature and digital fiction, has published an essay in the online arts and literature journal Drunken Boat called ‘Charting the Shifting Seas of Electronic Literature’s Past and Present’ In this essay she discusses ‘Flight Paths’ as a work of ‘networked collaboration in networked media’. She includes a number of other works as examples; it’s wonderful to have our work highlighted in this way.

Word of ‘Flight Paths’ is also spreading via the Binary Katwalk online exhibition, which has picked up mentions on Rhizome, Grand Text Auto, Turbulence,  and if@book, among other places.

Flight Paths on Binary Katwalk

10 July 2009 | Comments (0)

Curators Jeremy Hight and S.C. Nakatani of online exhibition space, Binary Katwalk, invited me to participate in ‘Line of Influence’, a new series of shows where artists show their own work alongside the work of artist’s they’ve been influenced by, and, in turn, artists they might have influenced.


I chose to highlight work by Caitlin Fisher, Renee Turner, and Christine Wilks. The show is up now, and looking great.

‘Line of Influence’ features the five new mini-stories that Chris and I have created for ‘Flight Paths’.  If you are interested in ‘Flight Paths’, please spread the word about the new stories, and please contribute to the project.

Flight Paths:  5.  Paths Crossing

26 June 2009 | Comments (0)


We hope you like all five of the new ‘Flight Paths’ stories.

For more information about Refugee Week, go to

To view our first four stories, click on the images in the posts below.  To view 5. Paths Crossing, click on the image above or go to

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

Flight Paths:  4. Dark Mass

26 June 2009 | Comments (0)


Apologies for the one day delay in posting the fourth story - was away from my computer for the day.

We hope you like the stories.  For more information about Refugee Week, go to

To view our first three stories, click on the images in the posts below.  To view 4.  Dark Mass, click on the image above or go to

Find more information about ‘Flight Paths’ here

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