Alien Worlds

was a science fiction/adventure omnibus—an anthology with the same characters set in the same universe, as opposed to an anthology of completely unrelated stories. The series was independently created, produced, and directed by Lee Hansen from 1979 to 1980. He produced 30 episodes covering 19 individual plotlines. Episodes were in standard 30-minute format, but story arcs were as long as 90 minutes.

It's the mid-21st century and the International Space Authority (ISA) is the body which governs space exploration and development. Alien Worlds follows the adventures of ISA staff as they encounter strange cosmic mysteries. Some episodes take place aboard Starlab, an orbiting space station, while other episodes take place throughout the galaxy. All of the episodes are full of action.

The series was written by Lee Hansen and Ron Thompson, with various co-writers, including Ken Ross, Jim Cook, Skip Press, Dudley Brown, Mike Hodel, and Babylon 5 writer J. Michael Stracynski. The full-symphonic soundtrack was written by Jim Kirk and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. See below for full cast and crew credits.

This series is still under copyright protection.
To purchase episodes visit the official Alien Worlds website.

Sources used to create my own log and double-check titles, dates and cast members: Alien Worlds official website.

Currently this archive contains 19 of 19 plotlines and 19 reviews

Webmaster Recommends:
A Dream within a Dream | The ISA Conspiracy | The Kilohertz War | The Madonnas of Zanzibar Alpha | The Night Riders of Kalimar

Adventure of the Egyption Necklace, The

Episode: 15, 16
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Mystery
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

Ron Thompson's nod to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes universe. The Royal British Museum freighter, Nile Delta, returning to Earth with the travelling King Tut exhibit, is waylaid by thieves who steal a beaded floral necklace... and a tissue sample from Tutankhamen. Queen Victoria III personally requests the assistance of England's most famous detective, Mr. Froome.

Thou art standing before Ra who cometh from the East. His duration of life is infinite. His limit of life is ever-lastingness. Become One with Ra and be received into the land of eternal triumph. --- a verse from The Book of the Dead, The Papyrus of Ani.

Reviews:
Unremarkable. I found the British accents rather distracting. At least, I think they were supposed to be British. I'd like to know more about The Papyrus of Ani, though! [5/10] --- zM

Adventure of the Parallax Deception, The

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Mystery
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

Another nod to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his Sherlock Holmes universe. Professor Madeline Stoner arrives on Starlab looking 20 years younger than she should... a result of her recent experiments with a secret age-reversal serum she has developed. By morning, she is a withered shell of her former self, aged beyond belief and barely alive. Foul play is suspected and England's most famous consulting detective, Sonar T. Foome, is called in to investigate.

Reviews:
Slightly better than the previous Foome episode. Good audio quality. Easy to understand. Adequate acting and script. Not great, but not bad either. [6/10] --- zM

Death Song

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ken Ross

Two aliens aboard a damaged spaceship, being pursued by a hostile renegade, seek sanctuary at Starlab. Wythy and Zeyna are Octovan physicians—physicians who heal through the use of harmony and song. Their pursuer, Hielon, is a renegade who seeks to destroy them with his custom-made Death Song Synthesizer—polyphonic drone generators, ultrasonic inverters, thick spiralling amplifier coils, and blood-red keyboards.

Reviews:
An interesting story-idea, poorly executed. I liked the idea of healing with music... and I certainly understand the idea of death by music—hehehe—but the synthesized alien voices were too much for me to handle, especially when they broke out in two-part harmony! Easier-to-understood voices would bump my rating up a notch. Not bad, but difficult to understand. [5/10] --- zM

Dream within a Dream, A

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Fantasy
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

The spaceship Galileo requires assistance docking. It seems the captain is dead and the entire crew, except for Lieutenant Becker, is deep asleep... all dreaming the exact same dream. Then a distress call is received and it's off to Ursa Minor to track down the elusive and little-known planet, Tamerlane.

[A tribute to Edgar Allan Poe.]

    "What happened to Dr Eagen?"
    "He died in the maelstrom, Dr Cassidy... a whirlpool in the universe. Captain Eagen fell into it, and... drowned in the stars."
    "Lieutenant Becker, what's the condition of your crew?"
    "Sleeping. They fell asleep on Tamerlane. They're still dreaming..."

----- To One in Paradise -----
And all my days are trances,
    And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
    And where thy footstep gleams—
In what ethereal dances,
    By what eternal streams.

----- A Dream within a Dream -----
And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand—
How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep—while I weep!

----- The Bells -----
Hear the tolling of the bells—
    Iron bells!
What a world of solemn thought their melody compels!...
Hear the loud alarum bells—
    Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

----- The Cask of Amontillado -----
"In there, Fortunado. The Cask of Amontillado is in there." [Maniacal laughter] "For the love of God." "I forced the last stone into position and plastered it up. Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones. For half-a-century no mortal has disturbed them." "Rest in peace, Fortunado. Requiescat in pace!"

----- The Tell-Tale Heart -----
"Louder. Louder. LOUDER... I admit the deed!—tear up the planks!—here, here!—it is the beating of his hideous heart!

----- The Pit and the Pendulum -----
The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length... It slowly descended, hissing... back and forth. Repeating its arc again and again.

----- The Fall of the House of Usher -----
As the shades of evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.

----- The Raven -----
And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming

----- A Paean -----
How shall the burial rite be read?
    The solemn song be sung?
The requiem for the loveliest dead,
    That ever died so young?

----- A Dream within a Dream -----
All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

----- Silence. — A Fable. -----
And mine eyes fell upon the countenance of the man, and his countenance was wan with terror. And, hurriedly, he raised his head from his hand, and stood forth upon the rock and listened. But there was no voice throughout the vast illimitable desert, and the characters upon the rock were SILENCE. And the man shuddered, and turned his face away, and fled afar off, in haste, so that I beheld him no more.

----- External Reading Links -----

To One in Paradise
A Dream within a Dream
A Descent into the Maelström
Tamerlane
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Black Cat
The Bells
The Cask of Amontillado
The Tell-Tale Heart
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Raven
A Paean
Silence. — A Fable.

Reviews:
Finally a mystery whose solution requires the services of a Librarian! Not much of a plot in this one, but many, many references to Edgar Allan Poe. More of a dreamlike kaleidoscope of images and impressions than an actual story. (Er... a maelstrom... near Polaris? Hehehe.) Just picture me on the edge of my seat with my hand in the air saying, "Oh, oh, oh! I know that one!" Poe fans might enjoy this quite a bit... others maybe not so much. Very good music and sound effects in this one. [8/10] --- zM

Earth Light

Episode: 21-22
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Speculative / Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

A departure from from the standard Alien Worlds fare. This episode features neither Starlab nor the Starlab crew. Instead, it is "a mystical journey through a science fiction/fantasy adventure that explores the inter-galactic origins of spiritual evil, and how the inhabitants of the ancient planet of Alithia set out to neutralize that evil over 2,000 years ago." --- from the intro

With Lurene Tuttle.

— A prophesy from an ancient voice-book, as told to Deos (Alithia's most highly evolved divine scientist) —

A beautiful woman is blinded by visions of immortality and falls to sleep in a flower field.
A star machine floats down into the scented voids of Summer.
A child is born.
A healer of spirits walks across the deep currents of a faraway sea.
The suffering are comforted.
The dying are healed.
The dead are reborn.
The healer of spirits ascends to the stars.
Terralou sinks below the fiery horizon of an alien sun.
Faces look up.
The sky stands still.

Reviews:
Sadly disappointing. From the opening prophesy, it was obvious what this story was about... but I was eager to see how Ron Thomson would craft the tale. The result? Excruciating detail about the most insignificant items—great for creating mood, but not so good at moving the plot along. This could easily have been the best of the series, but it falls short. I felt like I was channelling Inigo Montoya as I kept chanting "Stop using those words, I do not think they mean what you think they mean." The "equatorial meridian"? Seriously? [4/10] --- zM

Himalayan Parallel, The

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

An alien spacecraft crashes in the Himalayan Parallel one hundred kilometres south of Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet. Buddy, Jon and Maura are to ordered to cancel their vacation and investigate. They locate the spacecraft in an area of the Himalayas that for over six centuries has been haunted by things not of this dimension... invisible things that hide in the ice and light and wind.

Reviews:
A somber tale with solid acting, a decent story, and very good sound effects. A few serious plot gaps drop my rating down one notch. Nevertheless, the merging of space exploration with Tibetan Buddhism and ancinet Yeti is worth listening to. [6/10] --- zM

Infinity Factor, The

Episode: 19-20
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Space Travel / Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Larry Oakner ??, Jim Cook, Lee Hansen, Ron Thompson

The final step in a series of supra-light-speed experiments thrusts astrophysicist Thom Liu Ping, along with SET Captains Jon Graydon and Buddy Griff, into a civil war amongst the inhabitants of Sakusha—a planet in a parallel universe which is badly out of ion-balance. A return to their home universe is impossible as long as the war rages... so naturally, they lend a hand against the forces of evil.

Reviews:
Par for the course. A lot of mysticism here as the main inhabitants of Sakusha struggle with 'ion balance' in their environment, their bodies and their minds. Asian accents are used as stereotypical substitutes for character development. Mildly interesting. [5/10] --- zM

ISA Conspiracy, The

Episode: 11-13
Year: 1979
Duration: 75 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

A routine lunar mining operation uncovers the corroded hull of a one-thousand-year-old spaceship and the mummified remains of fifty humanoid aliens. The aliens were found scattered in grotesque positions around a four-foot tall gargoyle statue, their eyes and nervous systems turned into black crystal... the same black crystal from which the statue was made!

Reviews:
This three-part episode, the longest of the series, has many plot twists which will keep you guessing. At times Thomson plays fast and free with the plot, dreaming solutions out of thin air (or the vacuum of space!), but the abrupt conclusion has a logic consistent with the rest of the story and seems reasonable. One of the better episodes of the series. [7/10] --- zM

Keeper of Eight, The

Episode: 9, 10
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Skip Press

July 19, 2026. An explosion during a dangerous hydrogen-plasma experiment results in the destruction of the twin laboratory pods, Osiris and Anubis, the death of Dr Paul Kramer and the disappearance of Dr Maura Cassidy. SET Captains Graydon and Griff investigate... and discover an alien plot to destroy humanity and mine the vast hydrogen fields of Terra.

—The Keeper of Eight—

I live inside eternal mist,
Where children dream, and lips are kissed.
And wander ancient, starlit shores
That lead through misty, midnight doors.
I tinker with Time, I toy with Space,
I change the shape of Fortune's face.
Now you know why the Keeper of Eight
Has a name that rhymes with Fate.

Reviews:
If you were conducting dangerous experiments in space, would you name your labs Osiris (god of the afterlife, the underworld, and the dead) and Anubis (another god associated with the afterlife)? Hmm. Anyway, this is a well-written episode, but many very important plot developments are presented by aliens speaking in a difficult-to-understand synthetic voices. Don't waste your time listening to this episode in the car—wait till you get home and use your headphones! [6/10] --- zM

Kilohertz War, The

Episode: 14
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: War
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

The peace-loving, anti-military government of Terellia, with special permission from ISA, is conducting experimental-weapons research on Mars. Meanwhile, Major Ben Corbin and his squadron of Mirage-class Interceptors patrolling beyond the orbit of Jupiter, receive a powerful distress call claiming Earth has been attacked from Mars! Urgent calls to Earth and Starlab for confirmation receive no reply.

With Casey Kasem (Major Ben Corbin)

Reviews:
A well-written, action-packed episode. I felt strangely disoriented listening to Major Corbin, though. I had definitely heard his voice before, but couldn't place him. Dimension X? No. Radio City Playhouse? Nope. The Black Mass? Getting colder. Finally I realized it was Casey Kasem—the voice of "American Top 40" for almost a quarter-century. No wonder the voice seemed out of place! [7/10] --- zM

Leukocyte Maneuver, The

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Anthony deWitt ??

Professor Arthur Royce and astronomer-technicians Karen Stone and Karl Philips of Skylab's radio-telescope monitoring laboratory detect a stellar anomaly moving through the constellation Cygnus. SET captains Buddy Griff and Jon Graydon are sent to investigate and encounter an unknown alien life-form.

Reviews:
Meh. So-so. The writing is uninspired. Not bad, not great. [5/10] --- zM

Madonnas of Zanzibar Alpha, The

Episode: 24-25
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Speculative
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

The circus comes to town! Librarian Ingrid Tassel and SET Captain Buddy Griff take a trip to the circus planet, Barnum 5, and explore Otto Starshine's Interplanetary Carnival of Thrilling Wonders. The return trip involves an unexpected stop-off on the lost world of Zanzibar Alpha...

Definitions from the Circus and Carny Lingo website:

Annie Oakley—a complimentary ticket or free pass.
Ballyhoo—a spotlight cue meaning to sweep the light across the spectators in a figure-8 pattern.
clem—a fight.
gaffer—a circus manager.
joey—a clown.
Jonah's luck—unusually bad weather or mud.
kinker—any circus performer (originally specific to acrobats).
Midway—in its broadest sense, the area where all the concessions, rides and shows are located in a circus.
Mitt Camp—a fortune telling booth.
razorback—the men who load and unload railroad cars.
roustabout—a circus workman, laborer.

There's a heavy clem coming down behind the mitt [?], involving a razorback, a joey, and a [spindlemanner], the clem is happening because they all have eyes for the same [sally]-kinker.

Reviews:
Well done. A fun, upbeat, story with a mix of fantasy and mind-over-matter cosmic consciousness. Strong on descriptive imagery of the circus but weak on plot development. This episode breaks into two parts which seem like separate stories, with the bulk of the action taking place on Barum 5 and a small sub-plot breaking out in the second half of the second episode. [7/10] --- zM

Night Riders of Kalimar, The

Episode: 5, 6
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Space Exploration
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Dudley Brown and Lee Hanson

The discovery of an extremely rare mineral, glowstone, triggers a prospector-rush to the remote planet Kalimar. Until the ISA security fleet can set up a permanent base to combat the resulting lawlessness, a Space Exploration Team (SET) comprising Dr Maura Cassidy and Captains Jon Graydon and Buddy Griff, is sent to keep the planet under constant, 24-hour, surveillance. Meanwhile... the prospectors have discovered more than they bargained for...

With Peter Leeds (Travis Silverthorne).

Reviews:
Not bad. The stories in the series are getting better and this is the best of the first three. The cast seem to be settling down into their roles and the writing is more solid, with an element of mystery and fewer plot gaps. What starts as an ordinary adventure story that could take place in any mining camp on Earth evolves into a sci-fi story due to the unusual nature of 'glowstone' and the action taking place on a remote, unexplored planet. [7/10] --- zM

Question of Conscience, A

Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Aliens / War
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: J. Michael Straczynski

The last survivors from both sides of an inter-planetary war arrive at Starlab—one seeking sanctuary from destruction by the other. But their stories are diametrically opposite and the available evidence is balanced. Who is telling the truth and who is lying?

Reviews:
A very interesting idea with a lot of potential, but a weak implementation. Very difficult-to-understand alien voices mar an otherwise sound production. An action-packed episode with a thorny philosophical dilemma. [6/10] --- zM

Resurrectionists of Lethe, The

Episode: 7, 8
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Sci-Fi
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Betty Ulius ??

April 28, 2026. The body of alien spore mutation specialist, Dr Richard Nicholson, is transported to Lethe, an artificial burial satellite for Earth's honoured dead. The caretaker, ex-con Simon Toddmaster, and his assistants Burke and Rachett eagerly await the arrival of Anne Nicholson, hoping she might be... persuaded... to reveal the location of her husband's hidden biological warfare tapes...

With Hans Conried (Simon Toddmaster), Joseph Secarri (Rachett) and George DiChenzo (Burke).

Reviews:
Not bad. Great sound engineering, as usual. A little bit of mystery as the story unfolds, but concludes with a weak, abrupt ending. Bonus points for having a transport ship for the dead named 'Orcus Omega'! And more bonus points for a reference to Richard Nixon and a tape-recorded eighteen-minute Last Will and Testament... [5/10] --- zM

Seeds of Time, The

Episode: 23
Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

Returning from a routine patrol, SET Captains Jon Graydon and Buddy Griff discover a small UFO roughly nine cubic meters in size in the shape decahedron. It seems to be filled with a ionized gelatin which metamorphoses into a nitrogen plasma and back in 12-second intervals. Meanwhile, professor David Ballen, an old flame of Maura Cassidy, arrives on Starlab for a 3-month tour of duty.

Reviews:
Another mediocre episode. Pleasant, but lacking depth. [6/10] --- zM

Starsmith Project, The

Episode: 3, 4
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ellen Pelissero ??, Ron Thompson and Lee Hansen

A freighter shuttling classified scientific hardware to Timeon III for the development of a revolutionary new hyper-drive unit is hijacked by aliens from a distant galaxy. A security breech is suspected... Starlab is contacted... and Captains Jon Graydon and Buddy Griff investigate.

Reviews:
The plot-gaps in this series are driving me crazy! (Why did aliens need to steal hyper-drive technology when they could already travel between galaxies in a matter of minutes?) Even so, this was slightly better than the first episode in the series (The Sun Stealers), the plot was slightly stronger—not as cheesy—with better acting... or were my expectations lower? Hard to tell. Production values and sound engineering continue to be excellent. [6/10] --- zM

Sun Stealers, The

Episode: 1, 2
Year: 1979
Duration: 50 min
Genre: Aliens
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Mike Hodel and Lee Hansen

The Spectral Analysis Officer aboard the Arthur C. Clarke Astronomical Observatory (aka: Starlab), notices unusual sunspot activity on Sol. Radio-telescope interferometry indicates the problem is getting worse and is causing earthquakes, tidal waves and rapidly dropping temperatures on Earth. Unless something is done about it, a singularity resulting in the gravitational collapse of the sun is expected within 60 hours! Meanwhile, the mass proximity indicator suggests an invisible planet-sized mass within the orbit of Venus...

Reviews:
Er... not what I was expecting from this series. I was expecting something along the lines of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but instead got something closer to Flash Gordon. A fast-paced, action-filled episode with a weak plot, juvenile dialogue and cardboard characters. On the other hand, the sound-scape is very rich, with great music and wonderful sound effects. (To get the most out of this series, you should listen with headphones.) This episode is a bit cheesy, and if you expect too much going in, you'll be sadly disappointed, but if you are into escapism with lots of action, this episode is for you... Bonus points for having a computer named Mycroft! [5/10] --- zM

Timeclash

Episode: 17
Year: 1979
Duration: 25 min
Genre: Time Travel
Available for Listening Booth: Y
Story by: Ron Thompson

Maura Cassidy and Captains Graydon and Griff warp through to the planet Valaria to observe time machine demonstration, but a primary decoder malfunction in the Starsmith Parsec Accelerator leads to a short trip backwards through time.

Reviews:
One of the worst of the series. An action-packed beginning followed by a rather bizarre juxtaposition of incongruous concepts. In other words... I didn't get it. I'm not sure what the beginning had to do with the rest of the episode and I'm not even sure what the rest of the episode had to do with itself. I'm still scratching my head. [4/10] --- zM


Cast

Burton, Cory
(Jerry Lyden, Operations Director);
Dressler, Roger
(Narrator and Commissioner White, Starlab Commander);
Gary, Linda
(Dr Maura Cassidy, Research Director);
Miller, Bruce Phillip
(Jon Graydon, SET Captain);
Olsen, Chuck
(Buddy Griff, SET Captain);

Other Cast Members

Allen, Jeff
Cannon, Diane
Clark (Clarke ??), Matthew
Jacobs, Stu
Krajeski, Jonni
O'Neil, Erin
Rounds, Tom
Tyler, Laurie

Crew

Tom Rounds
(music director);
Richard Holmes
(conductor);
Jim Kirk
(composer);
Dick Kewzey
(engineer).