Mike Hodel's Hour 25

Previous Shows
May 2004

Hour 25 Home Page
This Week's Show   Upcoming Shows   Audio Index
Current Calendar   Last Month's Calendar   On-Going Events   Authors on Tour  
Literacy Education   Hour 25 Background   Links  


Index to our previous shows

  • May 17, 2004 - Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Shows from April, 2004
  • Shows from March, 2004
  • Shows from February, 2004
  • Shows from January, 2004
  • Shows from December, 2003
  • Shows from November, 2003
  • Shows from October, 2003
  • 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

  • Lois McMaster Bujold     Listen to this show

    On Monday - May 17th, 2004 - our guest was author Lois McMaster Bujold, chatting with us about her newest book Paladin of Souls.

    Authors who write genre fiction face an almost irresistible temptation. Having created an entire world so they can tell a single story, what are they to do with that world after the first book ends? Some authors pull out their cookie-cutters and proceed to commit an unending series of 'hard to tell apart' stories. But not Lois McMaster Bujold.

    In her Miles Vorkosigan series she chose to follow a single man - with the occasional excursion to tell tales about other family members - as he grows from a young boy to an adult. In this way we get to explore her fictional world through one set of eyes, albeit a set of changing and growing ones.

        Lois McMaster Bujold at her Hour 25 interview. Picture Copyright © 2003 by Warren W. James.  All Rights Reserved.

    But in Lois's newest book, Paladin of Souls, she does something different. Here she takes a character from a previous book, The Curse of Chalion, and makes her the focus of the new story. This gives us a new viewpoint and a different set of challenges. {And quite neatly avoids the 'cookie-cutter' problem.}

    In this book the widowed Dowager Royina Ista, now released from the madness that had caused her to be imprisoned in her family's castle, seeks a bit of freedom. But her place in society, to say nothing of her history, makes that goal one that is difficult to achieve. So she seeks her freedom with a simple pilgrimage accompanied by a few fellow travelers.

    But nothing in this book is as simple as it might seem, as secrets and unspoken plans become impossible to avoid. Someone, or something, is guiding the events in Ista's life; but who and for what purpose?

    Lois McMaster Bujold's books never disappoint and this one is no exception. Enjoy.

    Curse of Chalion Cover, cover copyright ©2001 by HarperCollins Publishers    Cover for Paladin of Souls, cover copyright ©2003 by HarperCollins Publishers.

    Godzilla Uncut

    I'm sure that most of you know that the version of Godzilla that has been seen in the United States is significantly different from the original version shown in Japan. Many scenes were deleted and sub-plots were changed, softened or even removed. Scenes featuring the character of Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr, were added to make the movie more appealing to Western audiences.

    And despite those changes Godzilla remains a surprisingly good film.

    But with those changes excised and the film restored to its original form it becomes an example of the power of science fiction to tell stories that are too uncomfortable or distressing to tell using a conventional medium.

    For Godzilla is an allegory about atomic war and technology run amok.

       Poster for the new release of Godzilla.  Click on this image to go to the web site with the schedule for the cities where it can be found.
    Its scenes of the destruction of Tokyo suggest the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while allowing us the comfortable buffer of fiction. The moral dilemma of the scientist who knows that to defend his homeland requires that he unleash an even more destructive force, echoes the choices faced by the scientists who developed the atomic bomb.

    Godzilla was, and remains, a work of entertaining fiction. However its lasting appeal is that it does more than just entertain. It shows us what it is like to be the victim of an uncontrollable force. But more than that, it shows us that without the the leavening of conscience and responsibility, we will become the very force we have been taught to fear.

    And now - for a short time - you can see this film as it was meant to be seen.

    The deleted scenes have been put back in, the extra scenes removed and the bad dubbing replaced by sub-titles.

    In honor of the 50th anniversary of the film's release the good folks at Rialto Pictures have made arrangements to get a fresh print of the original version of Godzilla and are showing it in selected theaters across the United States.

    Now this isn't some mass release where the film is showing in thousands of theaters at the same time. Instead the film is slowly moving its way across the country, showing in a single theater in each U.S. city as it tours.

    If you live in Los Angeles it will be showing at the Nuart in Santa Monica until May 27. After that it will leave LA and go to other cities. The schedule for the tour can be found at the Rialto Pictures Web Site.

    If you have never seen this film in its original form, then you are in for a treat of first magnitude. If you are lucky enough to have seen this version before, then you know why you'll want to go back and see it again.

    Most highly recommended!

    Dateline: Mars

    NASA is releasing all of the images from the two Mars Exploration Rovers almost as soon as they arrive at JPL. The raw images for the Spirit rover can be found at this Web Page and raw images for Opportunity can be found here. The images that have been released to the press, along with animations and explanatory text, can be found here. You can find larger versions of the images shown below at that last NASA Web Site.


    Endurance Crater - in color. Image credit NASA/JPL. Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    Shown above is the first color picture of the interior of Endurance Crater. To say that scientists are excited by this image would be an understatement. This crater reveals rock layers that would otherwise be unreachable and may contain clues to the history of water on Mars.

    The scientists want to send Opportunity down into Endurance Crater to see what they can find. The slopes of the crater walls are shallow enough that there should be no problem in doing that. But they are not sure that the rover would be able to later drive back out of the crater. You will recall that previously they had some problems in getting Opportunity out of the crater where it had landed. {The Martian sand and rocks were loose enough that as the rover tried driving out of the crater it kept slipping backwards into the crater. They were only able to get out by finding a path that would let them cut diagonally across the crater wall. The scientists are not sure they will be able to find such a path leading out of Endurance Crater.}

    Opportunity will spend the next few days or weeks scouting out Endurance Crater from its rim. It might then turn its back on this target and go off to explore other parts of Meridani Planum. But the scientists' plan would be to later return to Endurance Crater when the rover is reaching the end of its mission. Then they would risk going down into the crater to examine its mysteries and wonders. I can hardly wait!.

    You can find much{!!} larger versions of these images of Endurance Crater at the following JPL Mars Rover Web Page. Some of those images are over 20Mb in size, so they can take a bit of time to download. But if you have a high speed Internet connection, or a lot of patience, you should download the highest resolution versions. They will take your breath away.

    Endurance Crater - left side.  Image credit NASA/JPL.

    Endurance Crater - center. Image credit NASA/JPL.

    Endurance Crater - right side. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Images Credit: NASA/JPL
    The images above show the left, center and right parts of the preceding panoramic image. Much more detail can be found in the full resolution version of that picture, which you can download from the previously mentioned JPL Web page.

    Endurance crater - Burns Ridge - true color.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    This true color image shows some details of the rock layers on the rim of Endurance Crater. Studies of these features will provide important clues concerning the geologic history of Mars.

    This feature is called "Burns Cliff" and is named after the late Dr. Robert Burns who was one of the first scientists to realize the importance of sulfate and jarosite to the study of Martian history.

    Endurance Crater - rock - true color. Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    And here is a rock found near the rim of Endurance Crater. Perhaps it was excavated by the impact that formed Endurance, or maybe it was tossed here by some other impact. The scientists will be using the instruments on Opportunity to study this rock and see what it has to tell us about events happening on Mars in years gone by.


    The traverse route for Spirit.   Image credit NASA/JPL and Ohio State University.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL and Ohio State University
    The image above shows the traverse route that Spirit has followed across the floor of Gusev Crater as well as the route it will follow as it heads for the Columbia Hills region of Mars. This map was created using images taken from spacecraft orbiting Mars.

    Missoula Crater.   Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    Here is Missoula Crater as seen from the ground.

    Missoula Crater - detail.   Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    And here is a blow up of the left portion of the preceding image.

    Rover tracks.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    The goal ahead.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    The above two pictures were taken by Spirit as it drove across the floor of Gusev Crater, showing the tracks behind the rover and the route ahead.

    The differences in brightness of the two pictures is caused by the ways that the Martian soil reflect the light from the Sun. When looking directly 'down Sun' the particles in the soil strongly reflect the light back toward the camera making the scene look exceptionally bright. When looking in other directions the soil appears much darker.

    Scientists are able to deduce much about the nature of the Martian surface, such as the size distribution of the particles that make up the Martian soil, from simple observations such as this.

    The Columbia Hills from overhead.  Image credit NASA/JPL.
    Image Credit: NASA/JPL
    The image above was synthesized from pictures taken from orbit and elevation data also obtained by an orbiting spacecraft. The two data sets were combined to produce this picture of the Columbia Hills. Spirit is driving across the sands of Mars enroute to those hills. Who knows what surprises await us there?

    Listen to this show

    • Click here to listen to the entire show. {1:26:59}
    • Click here for the show's intro music.{0:41}
    • Click here for the show's opening. {31:53}
    • Click here for our interview with Lois McMaster Bujold. {52:36}
    • Click here for the show's closing.{1:49}

    • You can also listen to interviews we did with Lois on July 17, 2001 and July 20, 2002.
    • Click here to listen to our Current Show.
    • Click here for links to all of our previous Shows that you can listen to on the Hour 25 Web Site.
    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.

    Links for more information relating to this week's show

    Lois McMaster Bujold
  • To learn more about Lois McMaster Bujold and her books, visit her Official Web Site.
  • More information about Lois and her new book, Paladin of Souls, - including sample chapters you can read on-line - can be found at her EOS Books page at the HarperCollins web site. Similar information about The Curse of Chalion can be found here.
  • For another interview with Lois, check out this web page from the "A Girls World Web Site".
  • You can go here to find out more about Baen's WebScription service. This link will take you to a discussion area operated by Baen Books where you can chat with people who are interested in the books of Lois McMaster Bujold and other authors. And this link will take you to the home page for Baen Books.
  • Information about The Reader's Chair audiobooks can be found at their web site. {These folks are doing unabridged versions of all of the Miles Vorkosigan books and they have a most excellent adaptaion of Falling Free. Highly recommended.}

    Space News
  • Burt Rutan, and his company Scaled Composites, have been making great progress in their attempt to develop a vehicle that can carry three people on a suborbital journey into space and win the X-Prize. Be sure to check out their Web Site to find the latest results from their flight test program.
  • Information about the X-Prize can be found at their Web Site.
  • Additional information about the prospects for suborbital space travel can be found at the Web Site for the Suborbital Institute.

    Space Related Organizations
    If you are interested in learning more about current space activities there are many local and national organizations you might want to know about. Joining these organizations and taking part in their activities is a good way to stay abreast of things going on in space as well as a way to show your support for those activities. Listed below are some of those organizations.
  • The Organization for the Advancement of Space Industrialization and Settlement has long been place for persons living in the Los Angeles area to gather and discuss the promise of space. Be sure to check out their web site for information about their meetings and other activities.
  • The National Space Society has a long history of being an advocate for a vigorous space program and provides much information to its members through therir magazine and web site.
  • The Space Frontier Foundation is a strong advocate for a non-governmental space program and serves as a focal point for much activity in that arena. Their annual conference in Los Angeles during the Fall is a great way to find out what is happening in the non-government space arena.
  • The Space Access Society is focused on reducing the cost of going into space by promoting non-governmental launch vehicle programs. Their annual conference in the spring is a major source of information on non-traditional launch vehicle activities.
  • The Planetary Society is focused on the exploration and has a wealth of information for its members and others.

    Space News - Mars
  • 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 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
  • Links relating to the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia can be found here.
  • 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.

  • Return to the Index for this month's shows

    Back to Hour 25 Home Page

    Unless otherwise noted the entire content of this web site is
    Copyright © Warren W. James, 2000-2004. All rights reserved.