As some of you know, I’m a fan of audio dramas, audiobooks, and whatnot. Because of that, I was pleasantly surprised to find a small fan group within the larger TrekSpace.org community dedicated to the late and very much lamented audio drama production company known as Alien Voices. It had been a while since I’d listened to or even thought about any of their productions, so this was a most-pleasant memory jog.
For those who don’t know, Alien Voices was a joint venture between Leonard Nimoy, John de Lancie, and producer Nat Segaloff, founded in 1996 to create audio dramatizations of classic science fiction and fantasy stories. Enlisting the assistance of numerous actors – many of them from the rather large stable of performers with one incarnation or another of Star Trek on their resumes – Alien Voices created brand-new audio adaptations of such seminal works as The First Men in the Moon, The Invisible Man and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World, and Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. All of the titles were released on cassette and CD by Simon and Schuster Audio, and so far as I know, most if not all of them remain available.
Nimoy and de Lancie also used the Alien Voices company to return to the Star Trek fold with a pair of programs in which Spock and Q “face off” against one another. Spock Vs. Q: Armageddon Tonight and Spock Vs. Q: The Sequel were performed before convention audiences and played mostly for laughs, and Michi, Kevin and I got to attend the recording of the second program in Kansas City which was eventually used for the second release.
It’s also worth noting that Nimoy, de Lancie, and several other Star Trek alumni participated as part of the L.A. Theater Works company in 1994 for a performance of The War of the Worlds, using Howard Koch’s script for the classic Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast. This version, as near as I can tell, also remains available on cassette on CD.
(An unofficial Alien Voices fan site can be found by clicking right here).
I never got to see any of the other Alien Voices productions performed live, but I did watch the performance of The First Men in the Moon many years ago on the Sci Fi Channel (Excuse me…Syfy). As with voice actors recording lines for an animated production, watching talented professionals throw themselves into a performance intended primarily for audio can be a treat. Gestures, posture, facial expressions, even dancing or other weird movements serve to fuel the spoken word, often with hilarious results. Though I don’t get the benefit of observing this sort of thing with most of the other audio productions I enjoy, having seen the effort put into such work gives me a heightened appreciation for the energy being devoted to a given performance.
(Does that sound too weird?)
Alien Voices hasn’t done much in several years, but I suppose my inner nerd is holding out hope that somebody might revive the venture. In the meantime, I think I’m going to spin up the installments I have in my library and see if they don’t provide a little inspiration. I certainly wouldn’t mind being able to generate at least a bit of that same energy from the audio drama script I’m going to be writing in the coming weeks (for Jay Smith’s kick-ass series HG World).
Yeah, no pressure.