So, for the uninitiated, Night Vale (or, technically, Welcome to Night Vale, or WTNV for short) is a bimonthly podcast. The show itself is the community radio of a fictional desert city somewhere in the southwestern part of the United States. Sounds pretty normal, right?
No. You are wrong.
You see, Night Vale is not a normal city. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of the show: “The show has been described as “the news from Lake Wobegon as seen through the eyes of Stephen King”, and Christopher Wynn of The Dallas Morning News characterized it as “NPR meets The Mothman Prophecies.” The Daily Dot‘s Gavia Baker-Whitelaw compared the podcast as being “caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and ‘Tales of the Unexplained’” and that it is “well worth a listen—although possibly not after dark, if you live in a small town yourself.”
One of the writers has said that he wanted a place where all the conspiracy theories are real. So there you are.
And the results are excellent. I actually really like it from a storytelling point of view. Something that’s an offhand news piece in one episode will be followed up on later. There are very few dangling threads in Night Vale, so kudos to them.
As a denizen of the Internet, I’ve been aware of Night Vale for a while, but I’ve only been listening to the podcast since we got back from Japan. And I am all caught up now, and we’re going to go to the live show next month, which promises to be a good time. Each episode is between 20 and 30 minutes (with the exception of the most recent, which was half of a live show and ran about 45 minutes) so it’s easy to listen to one or two a day (I do it while I’m vacuuming or mowing the lawn).
The characters are quite interesting too. The main character is Cecil, who is the radio DJ. As time goes on, other characters start showing up on the show as well, such as Carlos the scientist (who has perfect hair and teeth like a military cemetery–and also isn’t from Night Vale, and so is always a bit surprised by what’s happening), The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, Hiram McDaniels (literally a five-headed dragon–the green head is my favorite), and Intern Dana. (I ♥ Dana.)
I recommend giving it a listen if you like things like Lovecraft or Poe, even if podcasts aren’t usually your thing. There’s transcripts available to read along with if, like me, you have problems picking things up aurally.
Have any other fun story podcasts to recommend, Squiders? I have free time while I wait for the next episode to go up. Listen to Night Vale yourself? What are your thoughts? Who’s your favorite?