How can I explain the wonder and terror that is Welcome to Night Vale? Welcome to Night Vale started as a podcast. In the podcast Cecil Palmer, the host of a local radio show, reports the news of his small, desert town. Community events like PTA meetings are covered, colorful local characters like Old Woman Josie or John Peters, the farmer, call in and share their colorful, local perspectives on everything from street cleaning to local elections. It’s a little like Prairie Home Companion’s News from Lake Wobegon. Mostly, sort of . . .
Because, after you listen to a couple of minutes of the podcast or read a couple of pages of the novel, it becomes clear that Night Vale is a nice little town in the way that Twin Peaks is a nice little town. It’s nice the way The Village from The Prisoner is a nice little town. Night Vale is nice the way Eureka or Haven from the SyFy channel are nice little towns. Night Vale is actually a very, very weird town. How weird? A sentient, glowing cloud, aka Glow Cloud, is president of the school board. Time travel is legal but the dog park is strictly forbidden. Gluten is illegal. There is a faceless old woman secretly living in your home and occasionally, she’ll rearrange your things. Sometimes she’ll give you unsolicited advice on your love life or your wardrobe.
Night Vale is a strange and frequently, frightening place. The people who live there do their best to survive and make their lives together. You can follow their struggles in the Welcome to Night Vale podcast, or by following Welcome to Night Vale Podcasts on Twitter, and in this new novel, Welcome to Night Vale.
In the novel, Welcome to Night Vale, Diane Crayton and Jackie Fierro, a PTA mom and a young pawn shop owner respectively, work together to uncover a secret that has haunted Night Vale for years. Hopefully, in doing so, they will come to understand themselves and their families better. Unfortunately, in order to find the answers they need, they’ll face danger and challenges. They’ll even brave the depths of the library, where wild librarians hunt. Welcome to Night Vale is a great read for long autumn evenings; it has jokes, whimsy, existential confusion, and the terror of being a tiny, fragile human in a giant, uncaring universe. Goodnight Welcome to Night Vale readers, goodnight.