Welcome To Nightvale… The Book!
I love podcasts. They are a fast growing revival of the golden age of radio and there are so many creative dramas that play out on air each week. One of my fave podcasts is Welcome to Nightvale, the bizzare Horror-Comedy show that features a mercurial voiced radio presenter narrating the disturbing weekly news of a desert set town, Nightvale. There are government consiparacies, breaks in time and space, a Dog Park no one is allowed to enter and strange glowing lights in the sky. It’s funny, charming and very distrubing.
And now there is a book! A full on novel set in Nightvale, featuring all our favourites – Cecil, Old Woman Josie, the Dog Park and many more – and wrapped into a strange journey featuring a few new characters.
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked ‘KING CITY’ by a mysterious man in a tan jacket. She can’t seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City before she herself unravels.
Diane Crayton’s son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane’s started to see her son’s father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.
I was very eager to get my hands on it being that I loved the podcast so much. I am in two minds, for starters it has all the weirdness of the podcast, with touches of “should I be laughing at something this disturbing?”. The writing is very short which gives it the same off-beat atmosphere as the radio drama. There was clearly no idea too weird or disturbing to be excluded and it does give a rambling, “what on earth is this?”, kind of feel. The podcast delivers the strangeness so well, the narration and sound effects making it work. In a novel format it doesn’t deliver the same way. But if you love Nightvale, you’ll probably still need to get the book!
Die hard fans of Nightvale will love it – it’s all the oddball, horror/hilarity of the podcast, and the narrative does take breaks to share transcripts of Cecil’s radio show. If you haven’t listened to Nightvale, we highly recommend you do before reading, it will help fill in the back story!