Check it Out: Welcome to Night Vale

Anyone out there familiar with Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds broadcast in 1938?

One of my students pointed me to a podcast series called Welcome to Night Vale, which follows a structure similar to Welles. The podcast presents as a radio show providing news bulletins and community updates for the town of Night Vale, where a variety of strange and supernatural events are occurring. The first episode, for example, describes the activities of a mysterious scientist named Carlos, and the second episode tracks the path of a “glow cloud” that drops small animals on the town before finally moving on.

I’m only two episodes in, but so far this series is brilliant. It has the right blend of dry humor and intrigue, and makes excellent use of radio-storytelling skills that have been primarily the domain of CBC for a long time. The radio announcer’s deadpan tone, even when describing the most ridiculous of phenomena, is probably the best part of the show; I haven’t figured out whether he actually isn’t fazed by the events he describes, he’s barely holding it together, or if his lack of surprise is because he knows more than he’s letting on about Night Vale.

If you want something enjoyable and intriguing to listen to while you write, check out Welcome to Night Vale here. The link will also be posted to my “Friends and Colleagues” page.


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