There is a small town, in the middle of a vast desert. That town has a Community Radio Station to tell you all of the day’s mundane disasters. It is a town where everything is slightly wrong, but it makes the whole just right. Welcome to Night Vale.
Readers, I just put down the Advance Reader Copy of the Welcome to Night Vale novel that we were sent, and I have to say that it’s incredible. It’s both completely different than I’d expected and also more wonderful than I could have guessed. In short, it’s very Night Vale.
I won’t spoil the book, in fact I’ll stray far from anything that could potential spoil the book, because spoiling something like this should be a crime. But I’ll tell you what I can.
The book does not follow Cecil or any of the cast that we’ve been regularly interacting with in the podcast. There are interludes, transcripts of the radio show, but those serve more to paint the picture of what else is happening in Night Vale while we follow our plot arc. Instead, we follow two members of the Night Vale community who have been introduced to us before but have largely been background characters, Diane Crayton and Jackie Fierro.
Diane Crayton is treasurer of the Night Vale PTA and the mother of a son with the ability to completely change his appearance at will. Jackie is a nineteen-year-old, and has been for a very long time (time doesn’t work in Night Vale), who runs the city’s only pawn shop. The normal lives of these two women are turned upside down when the Man in the Tan Jacket with the Deerskin Suitcase comes to town with a message about some place called King City.
During their adventures, we see many of the Night Vale characters who are often mentioned but rarely heard in the podcast, including: Carlos, John Peters (you know, the farmer), Old Woman Josie and the definitely-not-angelic Erikas, Mayor Cardinal, and Steve Carlsberg. We also see much of the Night Vale that exists outside of the radio studio.
This book, from the writing to the plot and tone, feels like a long episode of the podcast that you can hold in your hands. During the radio sequences, the writing is so familiar that you can hear Cecil’s voice. Night Vale sucks you in on the very first page and then spits you out, changed, different, at the end. You’re left with a sort of homesickness for a strange town in the middle of the desert that you’ve never really visited, but in the best possible way.
The Welcome to Night Vale novel is available for pre-order now and will be released on October 20th. The writers, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink, will be accompanying the book’s release with a tour where you can meet them and try to steal their powers, or just get a signature, whatever it is you do when you meet a writer you admire.
If you haven’t already ordered the book, I couldn’t suggest it more heartily. If you haven’t heard the podcast Welcome to Night Vale yet, firstly, why are you reading this article? Secondly, go listen to it now. You’ll thank me sometime next month when you finish and realize that you’ve somehow lost several weeks of your life.
Good night, Night Vale. Good night.
Today’s Proverb: Books are like souls you can possess. Reading a book is letting that soul possess you. Do you want to be possessed by this soul? I think you do.