Mike Hodel's Hour 25

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October 2003

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Careful little spider.  You don't want to get burned.

Index to our previous shows

  • October 31, 2003 - David Skal and Halloween Readings
  • Shows from September, 2003
  • Shows from August, 2003
  • Shows from July, 2003
  • Shows from June, 2003
  • Shows from May, 2003
  • Shows from February, 2003
  • Shows from January, 2003
  • Shows from December, 2002
  • Shows from November, 2002
  • Shows from October, 2002
  • Shows from September, 2002
  • Shows from August, 2002
  • Shows from July, 2002
  • Shows from June, 2002
  • Shows from May, 2002
  • Shows from April, 2002
  • Shows from March, 2002
  • Shows from February, 2002
  • Shows from January, 2002
  • Shows from December 2001
  • Shows from November, 2001
  • Shows from October, 2001
  • Shows from September, 2001
  • Shows from August, 2001
  • Shows from July, 2001
  • Shows from June, 2001
  • Shows from May, 2001
  • Shows from April, 2001
  • Shows from March, 2001
  • Shows from February, 2001
  • Shows from January, 2001
  • Shows from November - December, 2000
  • Shows from September - October, 2000
  • Shows from July - August, 2000

  • Trick or Treaters on parade.

    David Skal and Halloween Readings    -    Listen to this show

    On Friday - October 31st, 2003 - we did one of my favorite shows, the Hour 25 Halloween Special. We brought you a very special interview with world renowned expert on horror and Halloween, David Skal, as well as performed some special Halloween readings to put you in the mood for the season.

    So sit back, turn down the lights, and join us while Hour 25 brings you a celebration of Ghosties and Goblins and things that go bump in the night.

    David Skal at his Hour 25 Interview. Picture Copyright © 2003 by Warren W. James  All Rights Reserved.      Cover for Death Makes a Holiday.

    David Skal is one of the most insightful persons writing about horror today. I first discovered him through his book The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror and was instantly hooked by his ability to take the things that frighten us and put them into the broader context of the events occurring in the world.

    After that first book I made it a point to watch for his new books because I knew that each one would contain some new nuggets of information or fascinating conclusions about horror books and movies. And I have not been disappointed. Each of David's books is a delight and a wonder.

    His current book Death Makes A Holiday, now available in trade paperback from Bloomsbury Books, maintains his high standards. It is a study of the history of Halloween in fact and fiction. David explores some of the myths of Halloween and exorcises them as well as unearths much unfamiliar Halloween history. This book is a great read and is not to be missed. Most highly recommended.

    But be sure to not miss any of David's other books. They all get my highest recommendations. But I want to bring one book in particular to your attention. The Monster Show is one of the best books ever written about horror. In this book David shows how the major motifs of horror fiction have been influenced by the broader cultural issues from whence those stories came. He shows that although horror is anchored in our deep seated fears, it assumes ever changing forms based on the specific fears associated with the time during which the stories were created. This book will give you new eyes to see the landscape of horror and gets my very highest recommendation. Don't miss it.

    Cover for The Monster Show.     Cover for Hollywood Gothic.     Cover for Screams of Reason.

    Skeletons and their brides.

    Service for the Burial of the Dead

    by Connie Willis

    Read by Suzanne Gibson

    Anne has never been able to say “no” to Elliott, the lover who jilted her. So when he asks her to meet him at night on the island, she can’t refuse.

    Elliott’s boat is broken apart and he’s lost in a storm while he’s traveling to meet her. Anne feels she’s killed him.

    So when she loses her nerve and runs out of the church, afraid to meet his family at his funeral, she’s shocked to discover Elliott in the choir robing room.

    Is he alive? Is he a ghost? Or perhaps he’s the embodiment of Anne’s guilty conscience!

    Hour 25 is pleased to present this eerie tale crafted by one of the best writers in science fiction today!

         Man and book.

    Edgar Allen Poe
    The Red Death

    The Masque of the Red Death

    by Edgar Allan Poe

    Read by Warren W. James

    Edgar Allan Poe is a master when it comes to creating atmospheric stories of the macabre and fantastic. He gifted us with a body of work that includes love poems, detective stories and, most notably, tales of mystery and imagination. One of the first American writers to focus on what would today be called "weird tales" he set high standards for everyone who would follow in his footsteps.

    Tonight's tale is one of his most masterly exercises in atmospheric terror, The Masque of the Red Death. Though written more than 150 years ago, it rings true today as an allegory for our fears about disease and our attempts to outwit nature.

    And besides that, it's a really good horror story.

    So get comfortable and turn down your lights.

    Come on. Turn off some more lights. You aren't afraid of the dark, are you?

    Sit quietly now and listen while I read you a story.

    And try not to think about that spectral figure standing just outside your door.

    Skeleton dancers and band.

    An old Halloween card.     Another old Halloween card.

    Listen to this show

    • Click here to listen to the entire show. {2:09:26}
    • Click here for the show's intro music.{0:41}
    • Click here for the show's opening. {11:35}
    • Click here for our interview with David Skal. {48:51}
    • Click here for the introduction to Suzanne's reading. {1:25}
    • Click here for Suzanne's reading of Service for the Burial of the Dead. {45:22}
    • Click here for the introduction to my reading. {1:11}
    • Click here for my reading of The Masque of the Red Death. {18:20}
    • Click here for the show's closing.{2:01}

    • Click here for our Halloween show from 2001 or click here to listen to our Halloween show from 2000. Both of these shows featured interviews and readings with a seasonal flavor.
    • Click here for an index of all Shows on our site.
    Click here if you have a problem hearing the show and you're using Internet Explorer.

    If you enjoyed this show and would like to know when other interviews are uploaded to the Hour 25 web site, then send an email to me at wwjames@earthlink.net and I will add your name to the free Hour 25 Newsletter mailing list. That way you'll get a brief notice in your email every time a new show gets uploaded to the web.

    A Great Sadness

    As we were finishing up the web page for this show I got some very sad news. Hal Clement, one of the giants in our field and one of my favorite authors, died in his sleep on October 29.

    His writings were odes to rationality and reason and did much to form me into the person I am today. His gifts of imagination and insight into the world were without compare and he shared them with everyone through his stories and conversation. He was one of the nicest persons I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Having had the chance to chat with him at different times and places was an experience I will always treasure.

    The world has become a smaller place with his passing. I will miss him greatly.

    Click here to listen to our recent interview with him. I'll have more to say about Hal's passing on our next show.

    Links for more information relating to this week's show

    Space News - The Shenzhou Project
  • The Encyclopedia Astronautica is a fabulous reference source for information about various space projects, including China's current activities. You can read more about the upcoming launch of the Shenzhou 5 spacecraft at their Countdown to the Launch of Shenzhou-5 Web Page. You can read more about the Shenzhou spacecraft and view many pictures of it at their Shenzhou Web Page. Check our their Chinese Space Station Web Page or their Chinese Lunar Base Web Page to learn about China's plans for Space Stations and Lunar exploration in the coming decades.
  • Scientific American has recently published a very good article about the upcoming Shenzhou mission, written by James Oberg. You can view an on-line version of that article here.
  • On-going news about China's space program can be found at this recently revised Space Daily Web Site.
  • Click here to go to the Go Taikonauts! Web Site, an unofficial web page covering the Shenzhou project and other aspects of China's space program. {Please note that this Web Page has not been updated in over a year.}

    Space News - The Columbia Accident - On-Going

          The Columbia Accident Report
  • You can read the Report of the Columbia Accident Investigation on-line or download it by going here. {You will also find a link there in case you want to order a hard copy.}

          The Smoking Gun
  • Ongoing testing by NASA seems to have found the "smoking gun" in the Columbia accident. {At least as far as the technical problems go. For information about NASA's management problems, see the news item below.} Tests found that a foam impact on the leading edge of the Shuttle's wing would blow a 16 inch hole in that structure as well as cracking and damaging other parts of the Shuttle's wing. For more information check out these stories from the Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today, Reuters, Spaceflight Now and The Houston Chronicle.

          The Management Problem
  • Be sure to read this story from the Orlando Sentinel which discusses previous Shuttle missions where foam from the ET damaged the Shuttle's TPS and NASA's approach to dealing with this problem in the future.
  • During the Apollo 13 accident the words of Flight Director Gene Krantz, "Failure is not an option", set the tone for what NASA would do and went a long way toward getting the crew safely back to Earth. But during the flight of the Columbia things were quite different. Linda Ham, the head of the Mission Management Team, was not interested in getting better data about the result of the foam impact or coming up with a crash program to rescue the Columbia astronauts because, as she said, "I don't think there is much we can do". Read more about this shocking revelation at this report from the Washington Post and at this story from the Florida Today Web Site .
  • Be sure to check out this story from the Florida Today Web Site which details a long history of unresolved safety issues affecting the Shuttle.

         Concerning Future Developments
  • For an interesting assessment of the Orbital Space Plane project, be sure to read this report by Jeffrey F. Bell. You might or might not agree with him, but his calculations certainly give you something to think about.
  • More information about the Orbital Space Plane (OSP) can be found here, another view about the OSP can be found here and another opinion about this project can be found here.

         On-Going Coverage and Reference Sources
  • The Columbia Accident Investigation Board Web Site is a good source for information about the results of the on-going investigation into the loss of the Columbia.
  • NASA has a Web Site with information about the loss of the Columbia, the on-going investigation into this accident, the crew and other related subjects.
  • CAD Digest has a very good compilation of information about the Columbia accident.
  • Florida Today has a Web Site with updated coverage of the loss of the Columbia.
  • This NASA Web Page contains pictures of the crew of the Columbia along with other pictures from their mission. {Audio files from STS-107 can be found here and video files can be found here.}
  • You can find the Press Kit from the STS-107 mission here.

    Space News - Mars - On-Going
  • For more information about the Mars Exploration Rovers be sure to check out the MER Web Site at JPL or this Mars Rover site at Cornell University.
  • To learn more about the Mars Express mission you can go to this ESA Mars Express Web Site, this Mars Express Web Page from JPL, this NSSDC Mars Express Web Page, or this Web Page from Mars News.Com.
  • For more information about the Beagle 2 Mars Lander be sure to check out the Beagle 2 Official Web Site, the ESA Beagle 2 Web Page or this article about Beagle 2 from Astrobiology Magazine.
  • Images of the Beagle 2 landing site as seen from the Viking Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor can be viewed here {Part 1} and here {Part 2}.
  • For more information about the Exploration of Mars be sure to go to the JPL Mars Exploration Site, the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames, or the Mars Missions Web Site at the Planetary Society.
  • Information about the data returned by previous Mars missions can be found at this Mars Web Page at the NSSDC.
  • Information about the Phoenix Mission to Mars can be found at this Press Release from the University of Arizona. You can view a 3D picture of the Mars Phoenix spacecraft here.
  • For more Mars news be sure to check out the Mars News.Com Web Site.
  • Percival Lowell did much to shape our ideas about Mars in the early years of the 20th Century. You can learn more about his work by reading this on-line copy of his 1895 book Mars.

    For On-Going Updates on Space News
  • The Reusable Launch & Space Vehicle News Web Site Web Page that is part of the Hobby Space Web Site is a really good place to watch for news about, well... Reusable Launch Vehicles and related subjects. I check it out just about every day and often find news there that doesn't show up anywhere else. Give it a look. {And while you're there be sure to check out some of the site's other pages. Wow! Is there a lot of information there.}
  • The Space Today Web Site is a great place to find space news from all over the 'net.
  • The Spaceflight Now Web Site carries real time information about current space missions and presents a lot of space and astronomy news. This is the place I go to when I want up to the minute information about current space missions. Do I need to say more?
  • The NASA Watch Web Site is another great place for getting information about current space missions. Check there also for news about other 'goings on' within NASA. Highly recommended.

    ISS News
  • The Florida Today Web Site has a very interesting report about the causes of the ISS budget problems and their impact on the space program. It makes very interesting reading.
  • Click here to view the press kits for various ISS missions.
  • Check out the NASA International Space Station Web Page or the Boeing Web Page to learn more about this project.
  • A great source of news about Russian space activities, including their work on the ISS, can be found at the Russian Space Web.
  • Do you wonder where the Space Station is right now? You can use your browser to view real time maps showing the location of the ISS by going to this link at the NASA Space Link Web Site or here at the Johnson Spacecraft Center. Please note that your browser must support Java to make use of this satellite tracking software.
  • You can find out when the ISS - or many other spacecraft - can be seen from your location by going to this NASA Web Page. Please note; your browser must support Java for this application to work.

  • Click here for information about the audio files used for Hour 25 and for information about configuring your browser and downloading audio players.

    Please note Web Pages from external sites will open in a separate browser window and that Hour 25 Productions are not responsible for the content of any external Web Sites.

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    Unless otherwise noted the entire content of this web site is
    Copyright © Warren W. James, 2000-2003. All rights reserved.