WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Okay, maybe it’s wrong to review a book published by mega-publishing giant Harper Perennial within the confines of Splatterpunk Zine. But fuck it, because this book is goddamn awesome. Those of you who are familiar with the Podcast of which this book is based, will see all sorts of familiar tropes, characters, and terrors. If you are not familiar, let me fill you in on a few things. The desert town of Night Vale is unlike any other place on Earth, or at least probably not much like the world that may or may not reside outside of the city limits, as many of the Night Vale citizens would be hard pressed to recall what exists beyond their fair town. Beware of Librarians, Used Car Salesmen, The Secret Police, and Old Woman Josie’s Angels, although no one actually believes, or is allowed to believe, in Angels.
Combining weird fiction, alternate history, and the sort of absurdism that matches so well with the darkest of cosmic nihilism, WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE: A NOVEL expands on and adds to the lore of the much loved Podcast. While Cecil – who does appear every few chapters – narrates the podcast, the book narrative is told from the perspective of two of Night Vale’s citizens, Jackie and Diane. The both become swept up in a mystery after interactions with The Man in the Tan Jacket and find they are unable to let go of pieces of paper with “King City” scrawled on them. What is King City? Who is The Man in the Tan Jacket, who is always forgotten once out of sight? What does the City Council know about this? And, does Carlos, precious Carlos, have any scientific answers?
This book is everything the Podcast is, and more. It also has my favorite fictionalized, revisionist history quote of all time:
“One day we will destroy the moon with indifference” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I highly recommend it to people who are already fans of the long-running Podcast and as a gateway into my favorite desert community for those who are unfamiliar. In any event, this book is hilarious, brilliant, and everything I wanted it to be. (Sam Richard)