MH370 – What a Book Plot!

Creating a tight plot for a techno-thriller can be extremely demanding and many are clearly inspired by real events. Sometimes reality, or at least an interpretation of it, can present a far more intricate plot than most writers could ever conceive.

I’ve just been reading an article on in which Jeff Wise, a science and technology writer, has reviewed all the data and the possible aircraft trajectories.

The article is packed with data facts relating to the incident, most of which are undisputed. However, in the absence of the black box flight recorders the field is still wide open for conspiracy theorists. The conspiracy spectrum ranges from alien abduction to suicide bombers and a deliberate US airforce downing of the aircraft.

In the article, Wise leads us neatly through his thought process, the analysis of the data and the events (or at least as much as have been disclosed publicly). He argues convincingly that the Malaysian Air Boeing 777, flight number MH370, was in fact hijacked by agents of the Russian State when it disappeared from radar over a year ago.

He suggests that it ended up in Kazakhstan – probably in the Baikonur Cosmodrome. You may remember that Central Asia was mentioned as a possible destination very early in the search – within 48 hours, I recall. Although I have worked in Kazakhstan, I didn’t get very far outside Almaty (or Alma Ata as it was then known).

The whole sequence of events which he proposes is close to the fantastical, but just possible. Normally, I would get Occam’s Razor out and start slashing, but on this occasion I will leave it in the drawer. Perhaps the simplest explanation is not the correct one.

From a book plot point of view, if I’d had the genius to devise this there are a couple of aspects which I would not be entirely comfortable with. Would a writer ever let a minor plot detail get in the way of a good story?

The full NYMag story is here