Stuff We Love: The Welcome to Night Vale book is even stranger than the podcast

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Apr 11, 2017, 3:22 PM EDT

If you usually have your car radio set to the sonorous voice of Cecil Palmer as you drive through desert wastelands glowing with strange orbs of light while being followed by a menacing government agency, then you need the Welcome to Night Vale book, which may also possibly need you.

Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor first transfixed us with their Lovecraftian take on small-town America in 2012, and its tentacles have spread to strange merch, live shows, and now, a novel that or may not be illegal to have in your possession. Like every product of Night Vale, it is the color of a chemical sunset and branded with that telltale eye that reflects the crescent moon. You could check it out of the library if you’re ready to brave the lethal bite of the librarians.

Haunted by angels that are definitely not angels, two-headed plastic flamingos that are actually portals to unknown places, and the faceless old woman who lives in your house and rearranges your things as the house itself wonders about citrus fruit, Welcome to Night Vale teleports you to the town where it’s perfectly normal for everything to be just a little off. More than just a little off. Alright, almost everything is seriously off, and most of the residents think of this as normal.

When spreadsheet drone Diane encounters a mysterious man at work who neither her boss nor the tarantula that secretly crawls on her boss’ head have no record of, she can’t shake the feeling that something is more twisted than usual, even in a place where the warped reality factor is quite high. Pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro receives a puzzling note that will not leave her hand after buying one of Diane’s tears. These two unlikely sleuths take us on a tour de force of Night Vale from the forbidden Dog Park to Big Rico’s Pizza (which has seen a downturn in business ever since wheat and wheat by-products were outlawed) and beyond in the search for answers in a place where the answer is almost always a menacing truth.

If Welcome to Night Vale has you constantly questioning the state of the universe and whether or not you should be growing antlers as this point in time, then Fink and Cranor have succeeded with another indoctrination. Read it with a slice of invisible pie and a generous dollop of imagination.