A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.
Welcome to Night Vale is a horror podcast presented as a radio show for the fictional town of Night Vale. This isn’t quite my first experience with the medium, because I’m an occasional listener to the horror podcast Pseudopod. However, that’s short fiction and many of the stories are previously published, so it’s a different kind of format. I heard about Pseudopod from a discussion thread for short stories on GoodReads, and I think I found Welcome to Night Vale from someone on GoodReads too, although I can’t remember exactly how.
I’d planned to review this podcast for Readers Imbibing Peril, specifically the “Peril of the Listen” challenge. I started by listening to the first few episodes, but then I thought it would be interesting to listen to the Starter’s Guide on the Night Vale website, and discover some of the recommended episodes of later seasons.
There are 22 episodes on the list. I have to say that the one episode that didn’t make sense to me as a standalone was the three-parter “e-Gemony.” I might like it better when I reach that point as I listen to the episodes in order. After that there’s another three-parter, “The Birthday of Lee Marvin.” I don’t know if it’s a true standalone episode, but by the time I listened to that one I think I had enough context to follow what was going on. “The Birthday of Lee Marvin,” about a man who keeps reliving his thirtieth birthday, is definitely one I’m looking forward to revisiting. But it’s part of season 7, so I won’t be listening again for a while. The Starter’s Guide ends with the 5-episode arc “The Blood/Space War.” There were some great moments in this one, but I’m not sure that it completely stands alone. For one thing, the plot of these 5 episodes is closely connected to “Lost in the Mail,” which appears earlier in the Starter’s Guide. My favorite episodes from the Starter’s Guide were “A Story About You” and the two-parter “The Sandstorm.” (See the Starter’s Guide for descriptions.)
If you’d prefer to listen in order, I have to say that my favorite episode that is not in the Starter’s Guide was #7, “History Week.” I loved it for the concept of a Night Vale History Week, the ending, and, of course, the puppies. (You’ll know what I mean if you’ve listened to this one.) The first three episodes probably won’t be my all-time favorites, but they do a great job of setting things up. I’m looking forward to Season 2, but first I want to listen to a few episodes of the recap show, Good Morning Night Vale. I’m not sure when I’ll write about it again, but I’ll probably pick a few episodes to highlight once I’ve listened to Seasons 2 and 3.