Welcome to Night Vale

Fink, Joseph, and Jeffrey Cranor (writers). 2012-present. Welcome to Night Vale (podcast). Commonplace Books. welcometonightvale.com

A large eye in the sky above a purple and black cityscape.

Night Vale logo by Rob Wilson

In this community radio show, Cecil Gershwin Palmer (narrated by Cecil Baldwin) keeps his listeners informed about cultural events, news, and weather in the tiny desert town of Night Vale. Expect folksy updates about PTA bake sales and gossip about neighbors and strangers in town. News also includes references to a terrifying and forbidden dog park, mysterious hooded figures, intense government surveillance, evil librarians, a peculiar desert otherworld, and other strange Lovecraftian horrors—all described in a hilariously matter-of-fact tone.

In the very first episode, a visitor comes to Night Vale: Carlos the scientist. Immediately, Cecil develops a crush on him, gushing about his perfect hair and speculating about what he’s doing in Night Vale. Cecil’s sexuality is just as ordinary as anything else he discusses on his radio show; his crush (and later relationship) is shared with listeners because Night Vale is a close-knit community and everybody knows everything about everybody else. Sexuality and gender are so casually discussed it’s as if there’s no such thing as bigotry in this town. Several times throughout the show, offhand mentions of multiple genders and queer sexualities are made.

Welcome to Night Vale episodes are posted twice a month; the show is free to listen to via Libsyn, Soundcloud, or any other podcast app. There is also a traveling live show, a YouTube channel with bonus content, a soon-to-be-released novel, and merchandise. You can find all of that on the website: welcometonightvale.com

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About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, Librarian, Legend Tripper, and Queer Activist
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2 Responses to Welcome to Night Vale

  1. sutematsu says:

    Yes! I was wondering if you’d ever write about Night Vale. In addition to everything you said, another thing I love about Night Vale is that it actively mocks body essentialism: even though Hiram McDanials is literally a five-headed dragon, he’s just another community member and no one thinks twice about him running for mayor; even though Megan Wallaby was born as a man’s right hand, she’s still treated like a normal little girl. Who cares what they’re like on the outside? The measure of everyone in Night Vale is who they are rather than who or what they appear to be. It’s taken for granted that a person born with a different gender from their sex would be accepted without question.

    Also, as a Native, I just love hearing Cecil’s comments on the Apache Tracker. XD

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