One of my friends recommended the Night Vale podcast to me a while back. I’m not much for podcasts (I know, I know) so I haven’t gotten around to listening to it. I might have to, though, after thoroughly enjoying this rather insane novel based on it.
“She understood the world and her place in it. She understood nothing. The world and her place in it were nothing and she understood that.”
Night Vale is a small desert town, occupied by ghosts, angels (although angels don’t exist, so don’t acknowledge them) and government agents around every corner. 19-year old Jackie Fierro (she’s been 19 for a while) receives a piece of paper from a stranger who comes into her pawn shop. The paper says KING CITY, and she can’t seem to get rid of it. Meanwhile, PTA mom Diane Crayton keeps seeing her shape-shifting son’s father around every corner. She eventually acquires a KING CITY piece of paper, too, and her quest collides with Jackie’s.
The book is full of weird details and random facts about Night Vale (“We are skipping Friday this week, but we’ll make up for it by having Double Friday next week. Mark your schedules.”), and a lot of it feels disjointed. I’m not sure how much I didn’t “get” because I don’t listen to the podcast, and how much was intended to be mysterious, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. It was like reading something by Douglas Adams, or Neil Gaiman, but way, way trippier.
Also, Night Vale librarians are apparently evil:
“The reading area was a beautifully crafted trap set by the librarians, but it was too perfect. Even the dumbest book lover—and anyone who would regularly choose to come in contact with books could not be a bright bulb, Jackie thought—wouldn’t fall for this.”
“The search for truth takes us to dangerous places,” said Old Woman Josie. “Often it takes us to that most dangerous place: the library. You know who said that? No? George Washington did. Minutes before librarians ate him.”
“Librarians are hideous creatures of unimaginable power. And even if you could imagine their power, it would be illegal. It is absolutely illegal to even try to picture what such a being would be like.”