Review of Alien Voices: The Time Machine

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Alien Voices - H.G. Wells' The Time MachineH. G. Wells’ The Time Machine
By H. G. Wells, performed by a full cast
2 Cassettes, 2 CDs, Approx. 2 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 1997
ISBN: 0671575538 (cassettes), 0671575546 (CDs)
Themes: / Science fiction / Time Travel / Evolution / Future /

When a time traveler seeks a better world 802,000 years in the future, his optimism is shaken when he discovers that the human race has turned upon itself in a primal display of horror.

For their first adaptation, Alien Voices choose one of the most important stories ever written in SF. And with Leonard Nimoy as the time traveler and John DeLancie as the narrating friend of the time traveler, we’re among the pantheon of SF deities.

This adaptation is very faithful to the original story. A gentleman of the late 19th century invents a time machine. Over a dinner conversation with colleagues he explains that time is the fourth dimension. At their next dinner engagement he comes in bedraggled and tells them the amazing tale of his journey in time. The story he tells is of the year 802,000. He meets a gentle race called the Eloi. A Garden of Eden of sorts, but the Eloi are as simple as small children, but without their curiosity or enthusiasm. Another threatening race live in subterranean tunnels. They are the Morlocks and feed upon the innocent Eloi. After befriending a female Eloi, named Weena, and losing her during a battle with the Morlocks, the time traveler returns home to tell his tale to his colleagues.

The dramatization is well produced. Nice original music and crackling sound effects. But one effect was totally distracting and detracting to the story. The Eloi all spoke with this strange chorusing effect to their vocals. It reminded one of an alien or telepath, certainly not the sound of a child-like being described in the story. It’s as if their voice boxes bifurcated into a strange mutated form. This destroys the illusion that they are simple child-like.

Much of the time is spent with the time traveler reciting his adventure in long monologues of his future adventure. And although this is faithful to the book and Leonard Nimoy’s voice is golden, it does not take advantage of a cast recording and is more reminiscent of a traditional audiobook for long stretches at a time.

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