Getting lost in “Night Vale”

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Hearing the cool, mysterious and not quite monotone voice of narrator Cecil Baldwin talking about this fictional town sends me spinning in a wave of nostalgia. Every Sunday night, when I was a whee lad, I used to listen to Maryland public radio playing repeats of old serials. No, I am not THAT old. Welcome to Night Vale draws me in as it evokes laughter, caring for its characters and even fear.
Placed somewhere in a US desert, Night Vale is a place where weird, and mostly negative, supernatural events occur and not all of its citizens are human. Inspired by a unique mix of Lynch, Lovecraft and real life paranoia, all are lovingly and carefully melded to create a town that sparks a childhood level of imagination and wonder. Well written cynicism and spot on narration keep my ears glued to my headphones as I can’t help but laugh at some of the obvious absurdity and listen wide eyed when something suspenseful happens.
This is a podcast that requires a good imagination and recommends you listen to it from the very beginning. Wondering what’s going to happen to various town members that become recognizable, including our narrator, and what horror is going to hit Night Vale next has its draws.
Done in a daily local news format, the show moves at a smooth pace and Cecil’s narration is as cool as a news narrator of yore. His lingo even takes me back to listening to some of the old radio commercials, but modern references give it a timelessness akin to something like Edward Scissorhands.
Tales of murdering monsters, brain manipulating glow clouds and obviously inhuman politics makes me wonder and want more. Though some episodes may be slower than others, the intrigue hasn’t been lost on me. I’m impressed with the consistency and want to write the writers and say “What a good job you folk have done!”. It really is that good. All hail the mighty Glow Cloud!

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Welcome to Night Vale is written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor. For more information, visit http://commonplacebooks.com/welcome-to-night-vale/

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