• The Good: Horror, aliens, and criticism of colonism
  • The Bad: Humanity isn’t enslaved after all
  • The Literary: One of the first alien stories performed by Star Trek actors

First published in 1897, War of the Worlds is widely considered one of the first alien science fiction stories. Spaceships of invading Martians land in England and out crawl giant three-legged machines that destroy everything in their path with heat rays and toxic gases. Humanity must accept its new Martian overlords.

I reviewed this H.G. Wells classic almost a decade ago, but picked it up again on a whim because of the cast of this stage production. John Delancie, who famously played Q on various Star Trek series and movies, directed this little production and thought it would be fun to hire his Star Trek buddies, with top billing to Leonard Nemoy (Spock), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), and Brent Spiner (Data).

Played as a radio program, the acting is fantastic. I love the music and how the announcers are constantly interrupting each other as news comes in. I get literal chills and goosebumps as Gates McFadden reports the destruction of London. Brent Spiner is an absolute chameleon. I love the slow horror of the original story, which is all the more effective in the hands of expert performers.

The machine monsters are terrifying, and I love that they are out to farm humans for their blood. Even better is that they are a veiled critism of British colonialism. I love that human satire is combined with incredible technological predictions. And I love the story itself, the immediate jump into the action that never stops.

As in my original review, I still think I’m not a huge fan of the ending, which leans toward deus ex machina, despite there being some precendence for this in our own history. Regardless, this production gets a perfect star rating. Recommended for fans of aliens and science fiction!