It was a hot summer night when I took a detour off my usual route, following a yellow sign that, in retrospect, had to have been misplaced. I say this because no one ever followed me and when I retraced my route it had disappeared.
But that’s another story.
My radio scanned the airwaves for a local station and discovered the Night Vale Community Radio Show, hosted by a man called Cecil.
I drove on, transfixed by the news coming over the radio.
I remember driving through a town or at least a series of buildings that seemed to be enough to be designated a town. There was a dog park… was there?
All I know is that when I found myself on the road out of Night Vale, the lovely tones of Cecil’s voice diminishing as I returned to the highway was that I wanted to return to Night Vale.
I needed to.
Recently the Wookie put me onto the podcast sensation that is Welcome to Night Vale and I’ve been drowning in it ever since. Not just because it embraces my old X-Files love and builds on it but because it’s a fandom unlike any others I’ve seen so far.
Welcome to Night Vale is a podcast about, well, a town called Night Vale. The host Cecil makes the usual announcements you’d expect to hear on community radio but with a twist – strange things are happening. A LOT of strange things.
But it’s not just the words that make Night Vale an interesting fandom to dive into – it’s the people in front and behind the scene.
For example – there are no images of ANYTHING or ANYONE in Night Vale. There have been some official posters but no one knows what Cecil looks like. And yet there are plenty of cosplayers portraying Cecil (and the love of his life, Carlos!), putting up images on DeviantArt and so forth… but these are all based on a radio show.
A. Radio. Show.
In this age of computer games, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and DA there’s a fandom built around just the words coming out from a fictional (?) town in the Southwwest USA…
I’m gobsmacked. And in love. How could a writer NOT be in love with a fandom built on nothing but words in this world where we live for the image and want everything delivered to us in perfect pictures?
But don’t look too deeply at the scenery. Especially not the dog park.
If you see something, say nothing, and drink to forget.