On October 21st, I didn’t go back to any sort of present future, I went to the first show of the Welcome to Night Vale book tour. I was lucky that the tour started not only in Massachusetts, but a short bus ride from my home, at the Regent Theater, in Arlington!
Welcome to Night Vale
, a favorite among the Ladies, is a podcast that depicts life in a small town through the all-seeing-eyes of the local radio host, Cecil. In this town all conspiracy theories are true, time has little meaning and the dog park is so much more than it seems (if it were legal to look at, that is). The podcast creators decided to write a book where we will get to see Night Vale from a new perspective. Readers will see different locations, and meet new characters along with the well known inhabitants, all while keeping the same odd and often dark, humor intact.
The moderator for the pre-signing talk was Laurie Penny, who was very funny and often geeked out along with the crowd over the answers that creators, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, gave. She asked them about how they first met, which was in NY (Washington Square, I believe) where Cranor was doing a performance art piece where he burned a book he did not like. After the performance, Fink came up to talk to him and told him it was the most immoral thing he had ever seen. They have worked together ever since.
The pair explained how they have a great working relationship along with their friendship. They never argue, they work by coming up with ideas together then each go their separate way to write out the plot or story, after that they trade the work a week later and edit and tweak what the other wrote. The great motivation for getting things done on time is guilt and shame, since they have each other to be accountable to, neither wants to make things difficult for the other. Imagine if all working relationships were like that?!
Joseph Fink talked a little about all the traveling they have been doing for the live shows and how he never gets used to flying, which terrifies him. Basically he’s facing his own mortality every time they have to get on a plane, which is two or three times a week! The good news was that Jeffrey Cranor was thrilled to be hitting Platinum on his airline later this week, which didn’t much impress Fink. They took a train to Boston, so there’s that!
They answered a few questions from the audience, which were basically what you expect. One question about why they think they have such a young audience stumped them. They just write what they enjoy, the audience came to them and just happened to be young. Cranor suspects that the fact that the main character in the podcast, Cecil, is gay, but that it’s just treated as a part of the character, it doesn’t define him nor has ever been a plot point, (which happens so rarely in media) that it might be a large part of the popularity.
My two cents: I don’t think he’s wrong and I suspect that this is a major draw. Not to mention that the podcast really does have something for everyone. There are secrets to draw out, mysteries upon mysteries to unravel, Lovecraftian horrors taken as normal everyday happenings, romance, action, an eclectic cast of oddball characters, music in every episode and it’s all wrapped around great writing and a fun engaging performance.
The last bits of news they gave us was that they are already working on the next Night Vale book! Hopefully this one is successful enough that we get it (I suspect that won’t be a problem). The other interesting thing they revealed is that they are working on a few new podcasts that don’t involve Night Vale, one of which already has some scripts finished, but they didn’t feel comfortable announcing a release date on those just yet.
My favorite part of the book so far? No dust jacket! No stupid cover to get sweaty or rip, all the art is part of the actual cover. I wish more books went this route.
Now to get reading! Just watch out for Librarians. *shivers*
p.s.- The recent episode “An Epilogue” seems to be the epilogue to the events in the book!