Sunday, February 8, 2015

Podcast Review: Welcome to Night Vale

     Before I begin: Is this ok?  Do you guys mind if I extend the scope of this blog to include podcasts as well?  
     I only ask because I am a rabid enemy of e-readers - e-readers will eclipse bound paper pages over my dead body - and feel perplexed as to why podcasts enchant rather than irritate me.  I think that I feel this way because podcasts are too different from books to be a replacement.   
     The podcast is less like a book and more like the descendant of old-fashioned serial radio programs. Listening to a podcast, you can close your eyes.  You can picture the story and its characters and its setting in your head.  You can appreciate the skill of voice actors and the power of a few well-chosen sound effects. And the podcast listener receives other benefits - she can escape her morning commute or a sleepless night just by slipping on a pair of headphones, for example.  
     In short, I feel no shame in promoting podcasts on this blog because they are alternatives to and not substitutes for books.  

Subversive Radio Host Patch
Welcome to Night Vale makes some awesome merch
Buy it at http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=TO&Product_Code=CPB-WTNV-SUBVERSIVE-PATCH&Category_Code=CPB

     And now back to your regularly scheduled programming: I am obsessed with Welcome to Night Vale by Commonplace Books, and I'm sure that any listener with a dark sense of humor will love it as well.  The podcast takes the format of a community radio show, broadcasting the news, weather, traffic reports, high school football games, and local ads of the (fictional) small desert town of Night Vale.  What makes this community radio show NOT deadly boring is that the town itself is deadly.  Seriously, so many civilian deaths (related to rips in the space-time continuum, attacks by the Sheriff's Secret Police, UFOs, vaporizations, never having actually existed, etc.) occur each episode that it's amazing there's anyone left in town.
     This podcast is notable mainly for two things: a) the bizarre, gruesome, random, and existentially fraught events that are reported in it, and b) the unfazed and cheerful way in which the radio host, Cecil Palmer, reports them.  For example, a typical episode might include an optimistic announcement that HBO is now available to the political prisoners being held in the abandoned mine shaft just outside Night Vale.  
     I won't say anymore!  I wouldn't want to spoil the absurdity of a single episode for you all.  
     If you want to listen to this podcast, try downloading it via the app Podcast Addict.

    - Carly

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha I love me some dark humor :-D And I really enjoy podcasts, never heard of podcasts that told a story though. Would have to check it out!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for talking to me!! I wish you lots of good books and brownies!