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Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale

4.3 18
by Joseph Fink

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From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live.

"Hypnotic and darkly funny. . . . Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that


From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live.

"Hypnotic and darkly funny. . . . Belongs to a particular strain of American gothic that encompasses The Twilight Zone, Stephen King and Twin Peaks, with a bit of Tremors thrown in."--The Guardian

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked "KING CITY" by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels.

Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton's son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane's started to see her son's father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it.

Diane's search to reconnect with her son and Jackie's search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: "KING CITY". It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures...if they can ever find it.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fink and Cranor, co-creators of the popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast, successfully expand the mythology of their strange desert town. The novel follows Diane Crayton, whose shapeshifting son’s absentee father has just come back to town, and Jackie Fierro, who’s been the 19-year-old proprietor of Night Vale’s pawnshop for the last several decades. After peculiar, half-remembered encounters with a man in a tan jacket, both women keep coming back to the same phrase: King City. Diane and Jackie have to work together to peel back the mysteries surrounding King City while trying to protect their loved ones. Though the book meanders a bit in the middle, the end is satisfying, with a surprising origin story for one of the characters. Fans will find it refreshing to see Night Vale from different perspectives and to meet characters who have only been mentioned before in passing, but knowledge of the podcast isn’t required to follow the story. This unusual experiment in format-shifting works surprisingly well. (Oct.)
Library Journal
"Welcome to Night Vale" is a popular podcast of public radio broadcasts presumably from the fictional town of Night Vale, a uniquely surreal place isolated in the desert. Inspired by the podcasts, this first novel from creator/writer Fink and writer Cranor focuses on a few residents: pawn shop owner Jackie, who has been 19 for many decades, and Diane, an office drone and PTA member whose son, Jack, constantly changes his physical form. At the pawn shop, a strange man in a tan jacket sells Jackie a piece of paper with the words KING CITY written on it. She tries to destroy the paper, but no matter what she does, she's always holding it. Meanwhile, one of Diane's coworkers vanishes and everyone else denies his existence. These mysteries converge as Jackie and Diane begin a quest to discover the secret of the man and his indestructible paper, which might even lead to their venturing out of Night Vale. Their journey eventually takes them to the library, considered the most dangerous place in town—its librarians have toxic blood. VERDICT Fans of the podcast will enjoy learning more Night Vale lore, and fantasy readers may also enjoy, depending on how tolerant they are of non sequiturs. Others, though, may not find enough to sustain a novel of this length. [See Editors' Picks, p. 28; Prepub Alert, 4/13/15.]—Kate Gray, Boston P.L., MA
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2015-07-29
All hail the glow cloud as the weird and wonderful town of Night Vale brings itself to fine literature. Creators Fink and Cranor offer fans of their (oc)cult podcast Welcome to Night Vale a fantastic addition with a stand-alone tale of the mysterious desert town that also offers loyal listeners some interesting clues about the nature of the place. Readers who are unfamiliar with the podcast shouldn't be put off—they still get an eccentric thriller with a specific sense of humor that mimics the omnipresent spookiness of Twin Peaks. Artist Kate Leth, who collaborates on the podcast, once described the project this way: "It's like Stephen King and Neil Gaiman started building a town in The Sims and then just…left it running. For years." Fortunately, the writers are firmly confident in their creation. "Look, life is stressful," the book tells us. "This is true everywhere. But life in Night Vale is more stressful. There are things lurking in the shadows. Not the projections of a worried mind, but literal Things, lurking, literally, in shadows. Conspiracies are hidden in every storefront, under every street, and floating in helicopters above. And with all that there is still the bland tragedy of life." The main plot largely centers on two characters and their search for a hidden city. Perpetually 19-year-old Jackie Fierro runs the local pawn shop and is perplexed when A Man in a Tan Jacket gives her a note reading simply "King City." Meanwhile, PTA mom Diane Crayton loses her teenage son and must join forces with Jackie to find this mysterious place. It's all pretty far out there on the weird-ometer, but the novel is definitely as addictive as its source material. The book also pays fan service by punctuating its chapters with original broadcasts by Night Vale narrator Cecil Gershwin Palmer and cameos by fan favorites like Old Woman Josie, Carlos the sexy scientist, and the aforementioned Glow Cloud. A delightfully bonkers media crossover that will make an incredible audiobook.
The Guardian
“The hit podcast is absurd and hilarious, and as a book it’s similarly entertaining…”
John Darnielle
“Take Conan’s Hyborea, teleport it to the American Southwest, dress all the warriors in business casual and hide their swords under the floorboards — that’s Night Vale: absurd, magical, wholly engrossing, and always harboring some hidden menace.”
Wil Wheaton
Welcome To Night Vale brings its eponymous desert town to to vivid life. . . . It is as weird and surreal as I hoped it would be, and a surprisingly existential meditation on the nature of time, reality, and the glow cloud that watches over us.”
Ransom Riggs
“Brilliant, hilarious, and wondrously strange. I’m packing up and moving to Night Vale!”
Maureen Johnson
“This small town full of hooded figures, glowing clouds, cryptically terrifying public policies, and flickering realities quickly feels more like home than home. . . . There is nothing like Night Vale, in the best possible way.”
Cory Doctorow
“They’ve done the unthinkable: merged the high weirdness and intense drama of Night Vale to the pages of a novel that is even weirder, even more intense than the podcast.”
Deb Olin Unferth
“Emotionally compelling and superbly realized. This seductive, hilarious book unfolds at the moment when certain quiet responsible people find they must risk everything on behalf of love, hope, and understanding. Not a single person who reads this book will be disappointed.”
Glen David Gold
“This is the novel of your dreams. . . . A story of misfit family life that unfolds along the side streets, back alleys and spring-loaded trap doors of the small town home you’ll realize you’ve always missed living in. When it says ‘welcome,’ it’s mandatory. You belong here.”
Patrick Rothfuss
“As a fan of Welcome to Night Vale, Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink have delighted me with stories that are clever, twisted, beautiful, strange, wonderful, and sweet. This book does all of that and more. I think this might be the best book I’ve read in years.”
“Welcome to Night Vale lives up to the podcast hype in every way. It is a singularly inventive visit to an otherworldly town that’s the stuff of nightmares and daydreams.”
Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel is easily enjoyed on its own terms - even for those who are new to the town of Night Vale - largely because the storytelling shines so brightly on the level of its individual parts.”
“This is the kind of book that’ll make you say ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD. Whether you’re a fan of the strange and upsetting Welcome to Night Vale podcast or you’re new to Night Vale and its quaint desert conspiracies, it’s never a bad time to visit Night Vale. ”
Austin Chronicle
“Longtime listeners and newcomers alike are likely to appreciate the ways in which Night Vale, as Fink puts it, “treats the absurd as normal and treats the normal as absurd.” What they might not foresee is the emotional wallop the novel delivers in its climactic chapters.”
Shelf Awareness
“In their novelistic adaptation of the eerie yet comic landscape of Night Vale, Fink and Cranor have managed to create an excellent stand-alone book perfect for newcomers while also including plenty of winks to longtime fans…”
“This is a splendid, weird, moving novel…It manages beautifully that trick of embracing the surreal in order to underscore and emphasize the real - not as allegory, but as affirmation of emotional truths that don’t conform to the neat and tidy boxes in which we’re encouraged to house them.”
Washington Post
““The book is charming and absurd - think “This American Life” meets “Alice in Wonderland.”
Los Angeles Times
“Fink and Cranor’s prose hints there’s an empathetic humanity underscoring their well of darkly fantastic situations. . . . the book builds toward a satisfyingly strange exploration of the strange town’s intersection with an unsuspecting real world.”
Detroit Free Press
“As a companion piece, “Welcome to Night Vale” will be hard to resist. Though the book builds toward a satisfyingly strange exploration of the strange town’s intersection with an unsuspecting real world, its mysteries - like the richest conspiracy theories - don’t exist to be explained. They just provide a welcome escape.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“The charms of ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ are nearly impossible to quantify. That applies to the podcast, structured as community radio dispatches from a particularly surreal desert town, as well as this novel, written by the podcast’s co-creators, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor.”
Paste Magazine
“As enjoyable and eerie as the podcast”
“A marvelous book.... Like the podcast, the novel is full of people we love and root for, full of frightening things, and full of dramatic tension that pays off beautifully with resolutions worthy of any great tale of traditional conflict.”
AV Club
A wonderfully creepy tale filled with revelations about the nature of the town and its residents.”
Asbury Park Press
“’Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel’ masterfully brings the darkly hilarious, touching and creepy world of the podcast into the realm of ink and paper.”
Daily Californian
“Fast moving and sturdily written…an excellent introduction to a town everyone should get the chance to explore.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Fink created the Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn't Dead podcasts. He lives with his wife in New York.

Jeffrey Cranor cowrites the Welcome to Night Vale and Within the Wires podcasts. He also cocreates theater and dance pieces with choreographer/wife Jillian Sweeney. They live in New York.  

Jeffrey Cranor co-writes—along with Joseph Fink—the hit podcast and touring live show Welcome to Night Vale. He also makes theater and dance. He has written more than 100 short plays with the New York Neo-Futurists, co-wrote and co-performed a two-man show (What the Time Traveler Will Tell Us) with Joseph, and collaborated with choreographer (also wife) Jillian Sweeney to create three full-length dance pieces: Imaginary Lines, This could be it., and Vulture-Wally. Jeffrey lives in New York State.

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Welcome to Night Vale 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dogs are not allowed in the dog park
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book. Familiar lovable characters and also new characters who you'll love just as much. The story was unique with subtle (and not so subtle) references to the rest of the 'series'. On that note, the book is very much kin to its audio counterpart and I found that the circular descriptions might be a bit hard to swallow if you aren't familiar with it. Which is the only reason I've rated it four stars instead of five.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you haven't listened to the podcast, this book will be extremely enjoyable. You don't need to know anything about it to enjoy the creative and fun writing. If you are an avid fan of the podcasts, like me, it's amazing. The expansion of the universe is perfect. The characters were great and felt like real people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Long time fan of the podcast and now a huge fan of the book. Dark, creepy, emotional and intriguing in the best possible way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book so often catches the core of Night Vale while telling a story some what different from the normal Podcast. Night Vale's cast of characters make appearances, but also do not make it so any prior knowledge is needed to enjoy reading this story. I feel the story dipped a little in the middle, but I still enjoyed it a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nat1Q84 4 months ago
I read this book before even listening to the podcast and really liked it.
Anonymous 6 months ago
The Welcome to Night Vale Novel was a great read and really had its own flavor compared to the podcast. It was refreshing to hear the voices of two new narrators and the friendship that developed between Jackie and Diane was great. I read it all in one sitting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KOrionFray More than 1 year ago
I am a long standing fan of the podcast of Welcome to Night Vale. I’ve been to a live show, I’ve cosplayed as Cecil for Halloween, my car’s license plate reads WTNVCR for Welcome to Night Vale Community Radio. I have a Night Vale NRA bumper sticker. When I heard that they were planning a book, I was thrilled. A whole book of Night Vale! That’s so much more than just an average podcast! I fully expected to give this a 5-star review without even needing to read it. I really wish that was true. Don’t get me wrong: this book is all the wonderful weird magic of Night Vale in book form. I could hear every word in Cecil’s voice. We met new characters, saw more of old favorites, didn’t believe in angels or mountains. It was a whole book of desert town glory. And in many ways, that was the trouble. The core issue, and the reason I can’t give this a 5-star review, was a pacing issue. While the story was all one cohesive story, and all one big plot line, it felt like a book of short stories. Each chapter felt like a podcast episode–and that works less when you’re reading the book all at once. It makes the book feel longer than it is, so by the end it feels like you’ve been on some epic journey–and not in the good way you feel at the end of a good book. Don’t get me wrong: this was a fantastic book. It truly does sound just like the podcasts. It’s a wonderful addition to the canon of the world, and gives interesting information about characters we’ve been hearing about since the early days. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, and I’m glad it exists and that I read it. I just wish it had flowed a bit better. All in all, this is 100% a must-have book for Night Vale fans. My recommendation is that if you can, read it in chunks. Possibly a chapter or two at a time, and treat it like a slightly faster version of the podcast itself. I think that would fix the vast majority of what bothered me about the book. Rating: **** (Recommended)
298645 More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hope this isn't the only novel they write of Night Vale. I really enjoy learning about the other characters not explored in the podcast.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Beautiful! It brought me to tears! Every character is so genuine, every weird anomaly has significance, overall a fantastic read!
FaeQueenTitania More than 1 year ago
I first ravenously consumed this novel in physical form, speed reading the entire thing in one day. As a fan of the podcast, I was not disappointed; Fink and Cranor delivered the same superb level of surreal, strange fiction that we have come to know and love via Cecil's honeyed voice on Welcome to Night Vale. Filled with familiar characters, places, and references to the show, it's a great addition to the Night Vale canon, but is self-explanatory enough that it won't be confusing to someone who is new to this abnormal little town. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 in regard to overall story is my personal apathy towards one of the main characters. Diane, with her shape-shifting son and mysterious past, seemed to be set up to become a very interesting character, but just fell flat for me. Personally, I would have preferred less of her and more of her shape-shifting son, Josh. The other protagonist Jackie, however, (the eternally 19 year old owner of the Night Vale pawn shop) was engaging, bold, and likable; living up to the promise of her mysterious past and the unusual circumstances thrust upon her. Fans of the show will be delighted to find that while the book is not about Cecil (voice of Night Vale Community Radio and podcast narrator) nor his scientist boyfriend Carlos, they frequently pop up throughout the book via newscasts and character conversations. In one memorable chapter (and one of my favorites) Jackie goes to see Carlos and we get treated to a little backstory on scientists, as well as commentary of how various residents of Night Vale see Cecil and Carlos's relationship. Delightful. Another thing fans of the podcast will love are the details of Night Vale that are finally revealed to us, such as a more solid idea of how the town is set up, where in America it might be, and what going inside of the library really looks like. (Hint; spectacularly eerie. Hands down my favorite chapter.) As for it's qualities as an audiobook, you cannot go wrong with Cecil Baldwin. That man's voice is pure pleasure, but what makes the audiobook even more special are the "guest" voices from the original podcast, and the inclusion of the music of Disparition (fans of the podcast will recognize Disparition as the official musician of WTNV). All of these factors serve to elevate this audiobook from a great listening experience to an awesome one. In conclusion: fans, rejoice, Night Vale delivers. Newcomers, I think you'll enjoy it. Welcome to Night Vale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blackryng More than 1 year ago
After two chapters I gave up on this. The writing style was so over the top I found it un-readable. I found it humorless and confusing. I would expect this from a teenager in her first creative writing class. I read Koontz, Kadrey and Weeks, and there is no comparison. I have never heard of the Podcasts, perhaps that is needed to overcome the lousy writing style. If I could have given a half star, I would have.