#SpookySZN: the abnormal is normal in sci-fi radio broadcast ‘Welcome to Night Vale’

Fiction October 13, 2021
Listen to ‘Welcome to Night Vale’

Hooded figures shuffle about. What’s up with those unusual night sky lights? And why does the Sheriff have Secret Police? Night Vale Presents, “Welcome to Night Vale,” a bimonthly sci-fi radio show from a creepy town sharing community updates and serving some serious Twin Peaks vibes. But instead of David Lynch’s surreal, rural American backdrop, Night Vale is a desert town where the atypical is normal, absurdism rules, and residents believe conspiracy theories are true.

Magic and horror!

This series gives listeners a break from reality and transports you to Night Vale. Each episode is a radio transmission, complete with news updates, local events, PSAs, weather reports, and more. While there are recurring storylines and characters, you can listen in any order to the standalone stories. Magic takes many forms in Night Vale. There’s a Museum of Forbidden Technology, people receive coded messages, and often pretend to sleep. And supernatural occurrences are everywhere!

The Faceless Old Woman who lives in your home

We’ll hear about a Faceless Old Woman who once ran for mayor and secretly lives in your home. She leafs through your photos, wishes for a face, and annotates your copy of Infinite Jest when she’s not searching for the melting point of birds. The writers like to play with episodes’ formats, such as Episode 60, taking the form of an “automated phone tree.” There’s a crafty heist episode. One of the hosts created fictional podcast software to alter and remove ads, so Episode 133 has multiple edits and you’ll have to hear all the possible endings.

The Sandstorm created doppelgängers

The two-part episode, “The Sandstorm,” tells about a natural disaster that creates doppelgängers from two different people’s perspectives. In another series of episodes, we hear about the complicated history of the Blood/Space War, time travel, and crop circles. Episodes 117-119 explore “eGemony” and are guest-written by Glen David Gold.

The series is written by Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor, and Cecil Baldwin. If you’re fully into the series, there’s a companion podcast called “Good Morning Night Vale” hosted by Meg Bashwiner, Symphony Sanders, and Hal Lublin, where the cast members dive into “Welcome to Night Vale” episodes semimonthly.

Behind-the-scenes episodes are included every now and then, and listeners’ questions are answered. The Night Vale universe is expanding with over 150 episodes, live shows, two books, and four scripts. Wowza! Their latest book, It Devours, is a mystery filled with science, romance, and the cult of the “Smiling God.”

Check out “Welcome to Night Vale” this spooky season or anytime you’re ready for escapism in the form of a podcast.

Listen to ‘Welcome to Night Vale’

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