For our fourth Adult Storytime podcast, we're changing things up a little. Our story is by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle but it's not a Sherlock Holmes story nor even a mystery. Instead it's a horror story—actually a science fiction horror story, since it's set about ten years into the future from when it was written, and involves more advanced airplanes than existed at the time. Written in an effective documentary style, it describes the shocking discoveries and disappearance of an aviator probing the upper limits of the atmosphere.
"The Horror of the Heights" was first published in November 1913, just 10 years after the Wright Brothers' first flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Thus it trades on early-20th-century anxieties about this new, largely unexplored frontier, just as sci-fi horror today plays with the dangers of space exploration or the unintended consequences of technology. This story is collected in Tales of Terror and Mystery, an Arthur Conan Doyle anthology available from Saint Paul Public Library in print, ebook, and e-audiobook format.