‘Welcome to Night Vale’ thrills readers

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“Welcome to Night Vale” is perfect for anyone who loves science fiction. The podcast is as if “The Twilight Zone” conceived a baby with H.P. Lovecraft and the TV series, “Twin Peaks.” The novel, originating from an internationally popular podcast, may leave newcomers in the dark if not familiar with the background of the popular audio file.

The podcast is creepy and exhilarating because of Cecil Baldwin’s voice and the vague descriptions given about the town, leaving the rest up for people to imagine. Anything that fans of Night Vale might have thought about the podcast will also apply to the book as they are relearning about the town of Night Vale.

Cecil, the voice of Night Vale, runs the Night Vale local community radio, lulls the audience with his voice, capturing attention by stating in the beginning of the first podcast, “It is a friendly desert community, where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.”

The intensity of the podcast causes the audience to shudder with excitement, wanting to know more about the bizarre, Southwestern desert town.

The book, however, does not focus on Cecil but rather on three main characters who have been mentioned occasionally in the podcast: Diane Crayton, Josh Crayton (her son), and Jackie (the eternal 19-year-old) who runs a pawn shop in Night Vale. The novel begins by explaining Jackie’s life and how, like most Night Vale citizens, routine it is.

However, her routine is thrown off when a mysterious customer, known as “The Man in the Tan Jacket” in podcasts, shows up and leaves a mystery slip of paper behind with the words, “King City” on it. Jackie cannot go back to her routine since the paper is stuck to her hand, compelling her to search for the mysterious stranger.

As for Diane and her son Josh, Josh wants to know more about his father even though Diane is hesitant to talk about it. In the novel, she has been seeing her estranged husband around, unnerving her. Her investigation eventually leads her to the words “King City,” like Jackie, needing to uncover it’s origins which will affect their futures. They are eventually drawn together because of the man in the tan jacket. Again, it would be easier to follow along and make sense of it if you’ve listened to the podcast.

There is so much information to be absorbed and so many inside jokes, making the novel much more detailed and enjoyable. It could be understood much more smoothly by science fiction fans, because the authors Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor cater to the futuristic feel of the town living among celestial beings known as, “Angels,” who are not described with the orthodox looks.

Night Vale is a town that intrigues all, making people cringe at the details of flesh eating librarians or the fact that books are dangerous. The suggestion still stands, if newcomers of the fandom want to get more out of the novel, listen to the podcast.