Welcome to Night Vale

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Name: Welcome to Night Vale
Abbreviation(s): WTNV, Night Vale
Creator: Joseph Fink and Jeffery Cranor
Date(s): First episode aired June 15, 2012. Currently ongoing.
Medium: Podcast, Radio Theater
Country of Origin: USA
External Links: Commonplace Books
Download on iTunes
RSS Feed
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.

Welcome.... to Night Vale.

The Podcast

Animated promotional poster for Welcome to Night Vale by tumblr user phoenixhowl.

"NPR from the Twilight Zone," or "Lake Wobegon by David Lynch."[1] Professional SF author Robert E. Vardeman calls it " a crazy combination of Firesign Theater and Coast to Coast AM," and a fan at TV Tropes puts a finer point on it: "Lovecraft had a baby with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and that baby later got plastic surgery to look like NPR and moved to The Twilight Zone."

Welcome to Night Vale is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. The host is Cecil Gershwin Palmer (played by Cecil Baldwin, the voice of Tad Strange in Gravity Falls), whose rich voice narrates various ghastly goings-on, nerve-wracking news bulletins and weird warnings.[2] While his soothing manner reassures listeners that what he reports is all perfectly normal, he also confirms that they have every reason to be terrified out of their minds. At heart, the show is a political satire, lampooning American attitudes and realities; government coverups, police surveillance and profiling, gun culture, social control through media fear tactics, and conflicting reports on health and safety.

Created by New York artists Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the show is available for free download at iTunes, and is supported by listener donations, live appearances and merchandise sales. Fans can also purchase membership at various levels to receive special announcements and premiums. A novel set in the town was published in 2015, with at least two more on the way.[3] Fink and Cranor explained the origins of Night Vale in an interview in Brainwashed.[4]

Fink was previously best known as a Something Awful goon who wrote front-page articles for that site. He occasionally brings in fellow goon Zack Parsons to write guest episodes. Cranor and most of the principal actors are well-known performance artists involved with the Neo-Futurist movement. Fink had owned Commonplace Books, a small publishing house, but shut that project down in July 2014 in order to concentrate on Night Vale and other audio projects. As of episode 71 in July 2015, the show is "a production of Night Vale Presents".[5][6]

While the majority of the podcast is narrated by Cecil, the series and live shows features other recurring voice actors, including Dylan Marron as Carlos, Kevin R. Free as Kevin of Desert Bluffs, Jasika Nicole as Mayor Dana Cardinal, and Mara Wilson as the Faceless Old Woman Who Lives in Your House.

The "Weather" in every episode takes the form of a track of independent music by various artists in styles from klezmer to rap. Listeners were invited to send in their own ideas and to contribute music for the Weather, until the producers received too many contributions.

In July 2013 Welcome to Night Vale became the most-downloaded podcast on iTunes[1], and as of October 2013, was being described by media analysts as "wildly popular" and engendering a "return to radio drama".[7] Starting in September 2013, the producers and cast also began touring live shows at various venues across America. By the fall of 2014, they had moved on to touring England and Europe. [8][9]

The Fandom

Amateur art travel poster for Welcome to Night Vale, created by tumblr user Musain.

Fandom History

Though the podcast began airing in June of 2012, it saw massive gains in popularity in June/July 2013, replacing This American Life and The TED Radio Hour as the #1 downloaded radio show on iTunes. Joseph Fink stated, "On the first anniversary of the series, in June [2013], the episodes had been collectively downloaded about 150,000 times. The following week, they were downloaded another 150,000 times." While he thinks this has to do with fan crossover from Hannibal, a TV series featuring serial killer Hannibal Lecter as the hero, most online newspapers and blogs assert that the show is just that good, citing quirky, humorous writing, the off-beat and well-handled horror, and the positive representation of gay and non-white characters.[10][11][12][13] [14][15][16]

Fink and these other sources may be overlooking that the one-year anniversary show, performed live at Webster Hall in New York, featured incidents which significantly advanced the plotline of the canon gay love interest in the show (up to that time, a minor subplot). The fandom -- and the downloads -- took off between this episode, aired June 15, 2013, and the next on July 1, as word spread rapidly among slashers and shippers, mostly through Twitter and tumblr, where Night Vale boasts a thriving community of fans.

Fan Activities & Works

While official t-shirts, coffee mugs and bumper stickers are available from Commonplace Books, fans create homemade posters, jewelry, fingernail designs, crocheted purses, shoes and other arcane artifacts. The Adagio Tea Company has even created a special (and authorized) Night Vale tea series. Initially, the creators permitted all kinds of fan creations as long as they were not sold.

Amateur art and fan fiction celebrate the show, its premises and ambiance, and especially its canon gay romance. Cosplay of various Night Vale notables is popular, especially at live shows. There are several Tumblr "answer blogs", featuring dialogue between the blogger and commenters, despite the fact that Tumblr's format makes this kind of conversation difficult and confusing.

Despite the canon being audio-only, fans have created a number of fanvids and fan trailers, some celebrating Cecil and Carlos' love through use of fanart, others taking clips from various movies and TV shows to illustrate how Night Vale might look as a film.[17][18][19][20][21]

Focusing primarily on the weird and surreal aspects of the show, several amateurs record their own shows, some based in Night Vale, some in other towns. Among them are Good Morning Night Vale Tonight, The Night Blogger, King Falls AM and the British-produced Gallowtree. There are shows hosted by Cecil's nemesis Steve Carlsburg and by Intern Maureen, who provides a survival guide for NVCR interns. They are archived by the Blood Space Armed Forces Radio Network and can be heard on Youtube. There are also fan films in which episodes are enacted over the original narration.[22][23]

TPTB's Involvement and Influence

Fink and Cranor watch fandom expressions very carefully, and have apparently written numerous elements into the show specifically to please fans. This doesn't sit too well with all listeners, who feel the show has become too fan-driven to the point of pandering.[24][25]

The creators are extremely active on Twitter, where they post enigmatic lines, hint at what's coming up on the show, and occasionally wax political, delighting SJW fans. In 2011, Joseph Fink declared "if someone says "I don't care what color a person is" & then lists colors ending with purple or green, that person is definitely racist."[26][27] Filipina blogger "nonightvalesjwsplease" discussing Fink and Cranor's political opinions, reminded readers that Fink's writing at Something Awful was characterized by extreme sarcasm and that he probably did not actually believe such things. She was immediately called out as a "white vale fuckwad".[28][29] However, many completely serious SJWs began as Something Awful goons, and SJW fans believe Fink and Cranor are sincere in such remarks as "your response screams white entitlement" and "if you use the term 'politically correct' I cordially invite you not to listen to our show."[30] Fink and Cranor are both white, and both Jewish.

Screenshot of an email from the Welcome to Night Vale staff asking an amateur series creator to remove her podcasts from iTunes and Stitcher.
Welcome Back, Desert Bluffs

In September 2015, Ren Connolly, the creator of Welcome Back, Desert Bluffs, received a curt email signed "Welcome to Night Vale":

We notice that you put your fan fiction podcast on iTunes and other major podcast apps. This is not OK with us. Please remove it from iTunes/Stitcher/etc. right away.

Citing the alleged open policy toward free fanworks in the Night Vale FAQ, Ms. Connolly posted the following on the Night Vale discussion on Reddit:

Before I began recording and releasing Welcome Back Desert Bluffs, I consulted their FAQ. Seeing those two sentences made me feel confident that what I was doing would be okay with Night Vale. I had never heard of Night Vale attempting to stifle any fan projects, in fact due to the robust fandom Night Vale boasts I thought they were the type to foster these sorts of endeavors.
Screenshot of Fink and Cranor's statement on permissibility of amateur fanworks in the Night Vale FAQ. It says "Noncommercial fan projects are fine by us. Please keep it free and let us know how it goes!"

I’m going to be honest here. The email I got from them scared me. I struggle with anxiety and storytelling is my outlet. I’d never felt confident enough in my stories to publish them online before, and now that I had, and that it was going pretty okay, all of a sudden I got notice that what I was doing was ‘not ok’. I feel bullied. I feel betrayed. I feel like my stories are not welcome in the Night Vale fandom.

I emailed them back later that day, in order to ask if there was anything I could do so I could leave my podcast where it was. I asked if the email meant they were changing their position on non-commercial fan projects. I wanted to know what I had done wrong, and I wanted to fix it.

I haven’t heard back from them yet [As of May 2016, she still has not.], but I’ve already made my decision. I’m ending Welcome Back Desert Bluffs. There are a lot of loose strings that I won’t be able to tie up for all of you, and I’m sorry about that. But I can’t keep making this podcast within a universe owned and controlled by someone who doesn’t want me here. I can’t tell stories to silence, and removing my podcast from iTunes and Stitcher would make it harder for me to have an audience.

But my stories aren’t going to end, I’m just leaving their universe. I’m going to move on, tell my own stories, and use the skills that I’ve developed making Welcome Back Desert Bluffs to make it even better. To quote Welcome To Night Vale: “It was the first thing, and it will be the last.”

I’ll make sure to keep all of you updated on where I end up, and I hope you’ll let me keep telling stories to you. I hope you’ll remember that the reason I ended this podcast is not because I wanted to—I ended it because I was pushed out of the universe it resided in. I’m angry about it, and I hope you are too. But I get it if you’re not. In the long term, this is probably for the best, anyway.

Thanks for listening.[31]

Comments to Ms. Connolly's post speculated that Fink and Cranor feared a kind of Marion Zimmer Bradley Fanfiction Controversy. Some were skeptical that the email had actually come from the creators at all, especially since Ms. Connolly received no reply. Ms. Connolly added, "I've sought some informal counsel, he says it's a 'soft' C&D. With this email sent they could contact the folks who host my work and have it forcibly removed. The tone sounded off to me too but the lack of response for three days has me stressed out enough that I don't even want to do it any more."

Robert York, the creator of Blood Space Armed Forces Radio, known as Captnq on Reddit, posted the following:

I'm just going to write this because if I second guess myself I'm going to back out.

I contacted WTNV and got a response. A poor one, but a response. It was off the cuff, curt, and in some ways, rude. However, maybe it was some over worked intern. Maybe it was Joseph Fink himself. I dunno.

I'll sum it up:

We don't trust you on sites that let you charge money for downloading your podcast. Anywhere else is fine.

Several fans, including York, posted their decision to stop listening to the show as a result of Ms. Connolly's experience. York also stopped working on his podcast Good Morning Night Vale Tonight and maintaining the Blood Space Armed Forces Radio Network, which curated Night Vale fan audio, as a result of this incident.[32]

The Dashcon Scandal

On July 12, 2014, the Welcome to Night Vale cast and crew were scheduled to put on a show and Q&A panel at the supremely badly planned DashCon. The organizers had arranged to pay them up front for their flights, hotel, and performance fee. They were unable to fulfill their contractual obligation, and the Night Vale people simply walked out.[33] The organizers claimed they actually had the money but technical difficulties had prevented them from paying.[34] A staff member claimed that the cast of WTNV lied, and that they actually were paid but chose to leave anyway.[35] The organizers offered various prizes to attendees who'd paid for tickets to the panel, including "an extra hour with the Ball Pit" which has since become a meme in discussing the convention.[34] On an anti-Dashcon tumblr blog, an anonymous commenter claimed that some of the prizes were supposed to be rewards for backers of the convention's IndieGoGo fundraising campaign.[36]

What happened to the money the fans paid to see WTNV preform? No refunds, and it did not go to WTNV? Why is anyone upset with the WTNV team at all, clearly the criminals in this are the people in charge of dashcon.[37]

A summary of what happened can be found at the Daily Dot and at Blastr.

Characters and Pairings

"It’s nice to have queer representation in media that doesn’t poke fun at the characters’ relationship," said Hannah Powers, who runs the fan blog Dark Owl Records. Baldwin put it another way: "It’s nice that that is the least-weird part about the storyline."[10]
Fanart by Simply-Psycho showing Cecil, Carlos, Khoshekh, and Old Woman Josie and her angels.

Welcome to Night Vale is unusual among shows with fannish appeal in that a love relationship between two men is canon. Cecil Gershwin Palmer, the Voice of Night Vale, is the lens through which we view the Night Vale universe. In the first episode he states that he has fallen in love with a man named Carlos, a scientist and new arrival in Night Vale. Carlos' doings are covered in recurring subplots in about a third of episodes. Their romance initially appears one-sided and progresses slowly, taking over a year to reach their first date; fannish works tend to portray their relationship in more detail than the show. [38] Some fans and critics refer to Night Vale as "a gay love story", but the point of the Cecil-Carlos romance is that it's a minor subplot in a weird-comedy series. [39] Gay fans of the show love the matter-of-fact way in which Carlos and Cecil fall in love, declaring the show is not about the relationship, but portrays it in a progressive manner.[40][41] The majority of fanworks for the series, however, are Cecil/Carlos (or Cecilos).

In addition to Carlos, fandom more extensively explores other characters mentioned in the podcast. Some of the most popular to appear in fanfic and fanart include station intern Dana, often cast in the role of Cecil's friend/confidant[42]; twelve-year-old Tamika Flynn, who defeated the dreaded denizens of the Night Vale Public Library during the Summer Reading Program[43] and subsequently led a rebellion against a hostile takeover of the town by the evil megacorporation Strexcorp; and scoutmaster Earl Harlan, canonically Cecil's childhood best friend and possible love interest, sometimes portrayed as Cecil's primary relationship before meeting Carlos. Fanworks also bring to life Carlos's team of unnamed scientists as original characters[44].

Other recurring characters include Old Woman Josie, who opens her home to angels, in defiance of a city ordinance that angels aren't real; the station interns, who disappear or die horrific deaths with red-shirt frequency; Cecil's nemesis Steve Carlsberg (often portrayed as an antagonist and/or Cecil's ex-lover, though there are other interpretations[45]); a white wannabe-Indian who calls himself the Apache Tracker; and the hooded figures who hang out in the parks and playgrounds.

A tribute to the dead or missing radio station interns. Created by tumblr user Mellific.

Many fanworks also depict Night Vale's neighboring city, the StrexCorp-ruled Desert Bluffs, and the Desert Bluff's radio host, Cecil's double Kevin. A number of these postulate a non-canonical doppelganger for Carlos, usually portrayed as in a relationship with Kevin, paralleling the Cecil/Carlos relationship. Fanartist videntefernandez[46] popularized the name "Diego" for this double and cast him as the CEO of StrexCorp, and cosplayer erika-youknowtheangel created a scientist to parallel Carlos named Braen, but there are any number of other names and interpretations. Some works present the doubles as evil twins; others make them more ambiguous.

Fan Depictions of Characters

As it is a podcast, and in effect radio theater,[47] listeners are at liberty to imagine what the characters look like; there is (intentionally) little if any established canonical appearance for any of them, and the creators encourage diverse interpretations. Fan-castings of Cecil and other characters are popular on Tumblr.[48]

Fan portrayals of Cecil run from dorky 50's radio host to immortal eldritch abomination, though there are surprisingly consistent fanon elements (see Tropes below for more details.) Non-white depictions of Cecil are sometimes tagged "POCecil" (Person of Color Cecil). As Cecil's clothes have been occasionally described (he wore his "best tunic and furry pants" on his first date with Carlos) he is sometimes pictured in outrageous or unusual fashion choices, such as explored on the blog whatwouldcecilwear.

Some fanartists and fanfic authors will use a particular Cecil headcanon, while others portray him differently with each work.[49] Fanfic writers may link to corresponding fanart or actor pictures; others deliberately avoid describing Cecil's physical appearance. In a few stories, Cecil is described as appearing differently to everyone who sees him, or simply being indescribable.[50] Some fanart may also obscure Cecil's appearance, by showing him from behind or only in silhouette. "Blob!Cecil" is sometimes used for depictions of Cecil as an entirely inhuman tentacle monster, such as illustrated on the tumblr blobcecil and in some fanfic[51] (usually he can assume human form.)

Carlos was not intended to be a permanent character but was based on the type of horror-movie scientist who saves the day and then moves on. He is established in the canon as dark-skinned and possessed of Perfect Hair, and usually wears a lab coat. Fanon imaginings often add red Converse sneakers, flannel shirts and Levis to this ensemble. Cecil Baldwin in interviews describes imagining him as a Brazilian male model wearing glasses. Judging by his name he is Hispanic, and while in the first of his few in-show appearances, he was voiced by series co-creator Jeff Cranor, later he was recast as Dylan Marron, as Cranor felt it was a disservice for a straight white man to take the role of a queer POC.[52] Otherwise, fan interpretations of Carlos' character and backstory vary widely, from socially awkward young post-doc to full-blown mad scientist; in some fics he is a trans man, bisexual, or asexual. Unlike Cecil, Carlos is primarily portrayed as human in fanworks (with exceptions, naturally! [53])

Cecil's Name

The narrator of Night Vale, Cecil, shares his name with the voice actor who plays him, Cecil Baldwin. For the first few episodes, the narrator is not named at all, but is credited at the end of every episode as "The Voice of Night Vale". In later episodes the narrator names himself as Cecil. Some fans took this to mean that the character's name was Cecil Baldwin, and named him such in art tags and fics. Fans sometimes referred to the actor as "Realcil" to distinguish him from the character.

In the episode "Cassette", posted Oct 15 2013, the character gives his full name as "Cecil Gershwin Palmer". The show creators confirmed on Twitter that this was the character's full name (and that the "Palmer" was a nod to Twin Peaks), though due to the nature of the episode there was some question as to which character was actually being named[54]. Jewish fans were happy to hear "Gershwin" (Gershowitz) and some speculate on how their faith is practiced in Night Vale.[55] In later episodes the narrator more clearly names himself "Cecil Palmer"; the creators explained that they named the character to develop him further as well as separate him from his performer.[56] Most fanfic writers began using this name, and the character tag on AO3 was changed from "Cecil (Welcome to Night Vale)" to "Cecil Palmer" in Jan 2014; some writers also chose to go back and change Baldwin to Palmer in previously posted works.

Fandom Controversies

The most contentious issues in WtNV fandom involve fans' personal "headcanon" ideas about how characters look and behave (with accompanying debates about Social Justice and Race and fandom). Since the canon is entirely audio and few of the characters in Night Vale are described in any detail, most can be interpreted as being any race or ethnic identity, and many fans encourage and perpetuate diverse interpretations.[57] Some fans actively argue against primarily white depictions of the characters[58]; other fans are troubled by the implications of potentially policing other fans' personal imaginations (even if they themselves prefer non-white interpretations).[59][60] [61]

In March 2014 the creation of tumblr white-cecil-only appeared to espouse a racist viewpoint in the fandom. Shortly after its creation, the blog's creator deleted most of the posts, and stated it had been a troll blog intended to anger other fans.[62]

Other fans have observed that the hordes of delighted fans who emit deafening screams during live performances at any reference to Carlos and his relationship with Cecil amounts to objectifying gay men.[63]

Fandom Tropes

  • Fake Episode: a written fic or podfic done in the style of the show
  • Cthulhu Mythos/Eldritch Abominations: Characters or settings are borrowed from the Cthulhu Mythos, or characters (especially Cecil) are portrayed as eldritch abominations in a general Lovecraftian tradition.
    • Several fanfics present Carlos as a graduate of Lovecraft's Miskatonic University (or a sister school).[64]
  • Cecil's physical appearance: the character of Cecil is only described in the vaguest of terms in the program itself, and the show creators and Cecil Baldwin have stated that Cecil's canon appearance is whatever the listener thinks it is. Depictions in fanart and cosplay, and descriptions in fanfic of Cecil often include certain fanon characteristics, in particular a third eye, esoteric sleeve tattoos, and tentacles; he is often shown with glasses, white hair and purple or all-white eyes as well.[1][48] These fanon details are so strongly established that newcomers to the series may mistake them for canon. (The tumblr blog "Night Vale Community Fanon" keeps a record at NVCF Canon Primer of what is and is not canon in terms of character appearance and traits, along with other common questions. While non-canonical, these fanon consistencies allow the character to be recognizable across a wide range of depictions, especially in fanart and cosplay. Even after they've been completely jossed, many fans still hold to their personal images. And as reality in Night Vale is supposed to be a bit fluid, if not bizarre, why not.
  • Tentacles: While tentacles have never been mentioned in any context in the podcast itself (at least as of Feb 2014!) they appear frequently in fanworks, especially sported by Cecil. There are over 130 fanworks on AO3 tagged with "Tentacles"[65] (and 30 works specifically tagged "No Tentacles".[66]) Unlike the cliche "tentacle rape", many Night Vale fanworks feature fully consensual and even fluffy tentacle sex.[67].

Along with a large number of tropes described at TvTropes, the show is beginning to generate its own specific tropes and catch phrases:

  • "And now, the weather," has become something of a Tumblr meme, where users append this tag from the show to non-Night Vale-related blogs, when posting or reblogging writings that are creepy or esoteric in nature, similar to the style of Cecil's narration preceding the musical segment.[68] '
  • And now, the weather has also been picked up by people critical of the NSA spying program, drone warfare, and other covert and not-so-covert government operations. There is actually a blog by that name which covers these topics.[69]
  • Similarly, "news of the weird" news items and reports of Fortean type phenomena on newspaper and television websites outside of tumblr and outside of fandom have been attracting Night Vale comments. [70]

Transcript Projects

Because this canon is audio in nature, there have been a variety of transcripts projects.

"Sleep heavily and know that I am here with you now. The past is gone, and cannot harm you anymore. And while the future is fast coming for you, it always flinches first, and settles in as the gentle present. This now, this us, we can cope with that. We can do this together, you and I, drowsily, but comfortably. Good night, Night Vale. Good night.

Notable Fanworks

This article or section needs expansion.


  • Somewhere A Band Is Playing by indigostohelit. 2013-07-05. A loving tribute to Ray Bradbury, through the eyes of Night Vale.
  • The Rat and the Ruby Slippers by indigostohelit. 2013-07-08. "Carlos is having the strangest dreams, and the strangest headaches, like there's something he's supposed to be remembering. Not to mention the intern's wedding coming up, and that new chemical Strexcorp wants him to develop. It's going to be a busy week. ..."
  • a love song for schrödinger by patho. 2013-07-17. "With his own two eyes Carlos has observed a house that empirically doesn’t exist. He’s never seen a quantum particle, but his computer models and lab readouts reassure him of their presence. Cecil – lovely and wonderful and strange Cecil – is comforting and solid in every way…except in Carlos’ peripheral vision, when his edges waver as though the lack of direct observation has left him unsure of what shape he should be.... It means absolutely nothing, to see a thing in Night Vale."
  • How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4 by thingswithwings. 2013-08-06. "The first book on Tamika Flynn's Summer Reading Program Sticker Chart is Lord of the Flies.... She doesn't really like it." Many fans cite this as one of the best Night Vale fanworks ever.
  • The Partially Stars series of novellas by thebookofnights. Begun 2013-09-17 and still in progress (slowly). "After the dreams -- the dreams, the dreams, and the soft, deep, commanding Voice still lingering in his ears, even after he’s been awake for hours -- the arrival in Night Vale is almost an anticlimax. . . . Almost."
  • History Forgot About Us by nataliewrites. "The void could have opened up and swallowed Night Vale whole; Station Management could reveal itself to him; the librarians could escape the library and prey on the citizens of Night Vale. Cecil would not have noticed... It is a regular day in Night Vale when Cecil Baldwin falls in love." Epic, romantic retelling of their first meeting.
  • Ayo Caddi Aymay by Maiden of the Moon. 2013-09-22. Night Vale as seen through the context of Aztec mythology.
  • The Shadow Under and Slightly to the Left of Innsmouth by tikistitch. 2013-10-13. "Cecil and Carlos vacation in a charming New England village. Is it their fault the place turns out to be full of tentacle-bearing Elder Gods?" Crossover with parody of Lovecraft's "The Dunwich Horror".
  • Voidbucks by MostFacinorous. 2013-10-14. "Night Vale Coffee Shop AU. Due to damages done to the radio station, Cecil and Dana find themselves taking a temporary position selling coffee. While on the job, Cecil meets a scientist who seems to be testing his flavors. Scientifically. And Cecil falls in love instantly."
  • A Blinking Light Up On The Mountains of Madness by tikistitch. 2013-11-24. " Carlos, an impoverished graduate student attending Miskatonic University, joins an expedition to the Antarctic..." Crossover with parody of H.P. Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness".
  • He Says He Is An Experimental Theologian by ErinPtah. 2013-11-29. Ever since Carlos was little, he and his daemon have been fans of Dr. Lyra Belacqua. Both as the most groundbreaking experimental theologian of the 20th century, and as the heroine of dozens of fantasy-adventure children's stories (based very loosely on her own mysterious childhood)... Crossover with His Dark Materials.
  • Unvoiced by Xparrot. 2013-12-30. "StrexCorp makes its move against the Voice of Night Vale, and Carlos struggles to handle the aftermath and its impact on Cecil, as the entire town rallies to save their community."
  • From the Ground Up by Xparrot. Completed 2015-08-18. "Carlos is a loyal [Strex] company employee, who has never been to any place called Night Vale and never met anyone named Cecil. . . which doesn’t explain the mysterious woman appearing in his lab, or these dreams he’s started having. . ." This novel-length tale is Xparrot's final and most detailed Night Vale work.
  • Not Over-roasted, Just Lightly Charred by Fluffifullness. 2014-10-11. Carlos just really likes coffee. And other things. (Coffee shop AU)


Podcasts & Podfic

Moodboards & Aesthetics


External Links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Welcome to Night Vale, the #1 Podcast on iTunes You Didn’t Know Existed on Wired, By Rachel Edidin, 08.21.13
  2. "This is amazing, especially when you kinda tune out and it rolls over you like NPR until you pick out '...because of his religious objection, he did not believe in the past.' Metafilter user TheWhelk, April 4, 2013. Welcome to Night Vale: Vigilant Citizen article coming soon? "Ever watch one of those shows set in a town with odd happenings (ie, Gravity Falls, Eureka, Twin Peaks), and wish you could listen to their community AM radio station? Welcome to Nightvale has you covered."
  3. Samantha Nelson, Welcome To Night Vale novel sticks too closely to the podcast’s rambling format. The AV Club, October 19, 2015.
  4. Celebrating Their Corpse-Strewn Future: Welcome to Night Vale. Brainwashed, May 26, 2013.
  5. Commonplace Books was something I started as an outlet ... Joseph Fink, July 2014.
  6. Soraya Nadia McDonald, How “Welcome to Night Vale” creators turned a podcast experiment into an industry. The Washington Post, November 12, 2015.
  7. Slate's Culture Gabfest: Radiators and Bassoons Edition, dated October 22, 2013.
  8. Niall Whitehead, Review: Welcome to Night Vale – The Librarian. In The Nouse, Univ. of York, Oct. 28, 2014..
  9. Lauren Murphy, Review: Welcome to Night Vale Live. Irish Times, Oct. 17, 2014.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Adam Carlson, America's Most Popular Podcast: What The Internet Did To Welcome To Night Vale. The Awl, July 24, 2013.
  11. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, In the surreal shadows of "Night Vale", a new fandom lurks. The Daily Dot, July 23, 2013.
  12. The Daily Dot is wrong about this being the first ever all-audio fandom. That honor goes to The Firesign Theater, whose totally insane, no-holds-barred genius graced the airwaves of underground and community radio via live shows and a series of commercial recordings endlessly played in college dorm rooms beginning in 1968. (As the Los Angeles Times put it upon the death of Firesigner Phil Austin: In dorm rooms across the country in the late 1960s and early 1970s, sometimes through a haze of pot smoke, a recording could be heard that sounded like an old-time radio detective show mixed with Eastern mysticism..) They were themselves influenced by The Goon Show. Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman and Philip Proctor were an important influence on Fink and Cranor, as is heartwarmingly obvious to Firesign fans who tune in to Night Vale. They had a huge fandom, which produced art, fan fiction, zines (including Four-Alarm Firesignal) and other fanworks. The release of The Thrilling Adventure Hour/Welcome to Night Vale Crossover in October 2014 contributed substantially to the sense of deja vu among older listeners. Night Vale also has elements of ZBS Media's Jack Flanders adventures, which began with The Fourth Tower of Inverness in 1972.
  13. Erin Hill, Welcome to Night Vale: What Is Normal? TechGeek, August 11, 2013.
  14. "Night Vale's masterful balance of mystery, humor, and horror has made it the #1 podcast in America. Night Vale employs the techniques of H.P. Lovecraft, specifically his masterful manipulation of THE UNKNOWN, but the medium chosen makes it literally impossible to visually depict its universe. And it is questionable, in our hypervisual culture, whether we are truly able to cope with the mysteries of Night Vale." How Night Vale Confronts Us With The Unknown, PBS Idea Channel.
  15. Embrace Your Fears Or They'll Embrace You: Welcome to Night Vale. NeonTommy, October 2013.
  16. "The podcast has earned an enormous following by taking the mundane format of community radio and peppering it with constant, barely explained references to the horrors that lurk in the fictional desert town where the broadcast is based." Samantha Nelson, explaining why the book doesn't work as well, Welcome To Night Vale novel sticks too closely to the podcast’s rambling format. The AV Club, October 19, 2015.
  17. Welcome to Night Vale Fan Trailer by HatterM, using "Sing, Sing" by The Bones of J.R.Jones.
  18. The Voice of Night Vale: Officially Unofficial Trailer by Error's Errors.
  19. Welcome to Night Vale Fan Trailer by tumblr user theoidos, using Imagine Dragons' "Natural".
  20. Welcome to Nightvale Trailer by Raihan Edwards, using Florence & the Machine's "Bedroom Hymns"
  21. Night Vale: So Damn Dysfunctional by youtube user LyProductions5.
  22. Welcome to Night Vale: A Story About You and Welcome to Night Vale: A Story About Them, both by Tristan C.
  23. Welcome to Night Vale: Station Management (Short Fan Film) by Jaanelle Yee.
  24. Comments to Samantha Nelson's Welcome To Night Vale novel sticks too closely to the podcast’s rambling format. The AV Club, October 19, 2015.
  25. Fan blogger Armiesupthesleevies, Am I the only one not happy with the show's direction? on Reddit, June 20, 2015.
  26. Joseph Fink's "planetoffinks" twitter, 2011-03-23.
  27. Possibly the most famous utterance of that stock phrase was actress Eartha Kitt who was Afro-American and white: "I've always been multi-cultural myself. I'm not black and I'm not white and I'm not pink and I'm not green. Eartha Kitt has no color, and that is how barriers are broken." Presented by racist white players with a petition to keep Afro-American Jackie Robinson out of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team in 1947, manager Leo Durocher barked "Listen, I don’t care if this guy is white, black, green or has stripes like a zebra. If I say he plays, he plays."
  28. Lately I’ve seen these tweets by Joseph Fink being cited as some kind of holy truth about racism and prejudice. nonightvalesjwsplease, post dated Oct. 12, 2013.
  29. "wow, the creator of the fucking podcast calls out the fandom on it’s racist bullshit and white vale fuckwads still feels the need to defend their shitty racist actions...fucking incredible", undated post on harukamakos' tumblr blog. Again, these comments were made about a Filipina blogger.
  30. "I don't think they've gone full SJW. I honestly think they are trying to be good guys in a fandom that has displayed some genuinely racist behavior (trying to rationalize Carlos being white for example)... If they ARE purposefully pandering to the fans, they clearly don't realize that they are pandering to a very small but vocal section of them, and a section that will not hesitate to cannibalize them the second they slip up." Entire comment by Floating Bathroom Cat is worth reading at "One of the Welcome to Night Vale creators has gone full SJW :(" by an unknown, now-deleted user at Reddit, posted 15 December 2013.
  31. Ren Connolly, WTNV wants me to take down my podcast. Welcome to Night Vale discussion on Reddit, posted September 9, 2015.
  32. Robert York (Captnq), I'm just going to write this..., comment to Ms. Connolly's Reddit post, Sept. 9, 2015.
  33. Apologies to fans in Northern Illinois tumblr post dated July 12, 2014; WayBack Machine link.
  34. 34.0 34.1 CLARIFICATIONS AND BACK UP PLANS- tumblr post dated July 12, 2014; WayBack Machine link
  35. Wtnv Lied Just So You Know… tumblr post dated July 13, 2014; reference link
  36. Trashcon tumblr post dated July 13, 2014; reference link.
  37. Reddit user Damphon, comment to "DashCon and the awkwardness" by hannid20, Reddit post dated 13 July 2014.
  38. "It happened again, someone started up on a show that’s been around for a fairly long while and posted about it on Tumblr." Welcome to Slash Vale in The Shipping News" July 2013.
  39. "I think it’s very important, and I think it’s a very large reason why a lot of people have become so enamored with Night Vale, but it’s definitely not the main point of the podcast." Cecil Baldwin. at Lifting the Vale, an Interview with Cecil Baldwin at Pop Mythology, Nov. 30 2013
  40. "The love story is quite a small part in comparison. But to them, its "OMG TEH GEYS SO HAWT THE SOCIAL JUSTICE I CRIE" and they miss the whole point of the show." Comment by gay fan Silvertaste on Reddit, comment on One of the Welcome to Night Vale Creators Has Gone Full SJW dated 2013-12-15.
  41. "As long as films — animated or otherwise — with LGBT characters keep being categorised as special interest pieces, we won’t really have equality in media, no matter how many LGBT characters find their way onto the screen." Dani Colman, in The Problem with False Feminism, a lengthy debunking of Frozen.
  42. Dana Cardinal was appointed Mayor of Night Vale on July 1, 2014.
  43. (described beautifully in Thingswithwings's popular story "How I Survived My Summer Vacation, by Tamika Flynn, Age 12 3/4")
  44. Carlos' team is described in detail in fan/pro writer thebookofnights' series Partially Stars; linguafranca's A Logical Explanation, and in pippinsqueaks' lengthy tale A Momentary Lapse of Reason, among many others.
  45. AugustaByron's The Citizens of Night Vale Official Bowling Team casts a friendly Steve as Cecil's former stepfather, and DJClawson's "The Journey of a Malcontent" has Steve as Cecil's best friend.
  46. formerly known as "nazi-nurse" and credited as either
  47. Night Vale, Neverwhere and the Magic of Audio Theatre. The Afictionado, August 15, 2013.
  48. 48.0 48.1 Minor internet celebrity Josh Macedo was recently surprised and pleased to find himself fancast as Cecil. Tumblr celeb stumbles into starring role in "Night Vale". Daily Dot, July 31, 2013.
  49. In neveralarch's fic, Cecil is described variously as having "cool black skin", "brown skin" and "long black hair", "light brown, freckled" skin, and "close-cropped and thinning hair".
  50. In When You're Finished Struggling, Are You Free Tonight? by Chash, Carlos cannot mentally picture Cecil when not looking directly at him.
  51. AO3 tag Blob Cecil, with 4 works as of Mar 9 2014
  52. "It sucks that there’s a white straight male (me), playing a gay man of color (Carlos). Look, I know it’s a voiceover, but it’s not just that. We do live stage shows, and that’s a visible role for a PoC. Plus, fans often google the actors who play each character, and what does a Latino/Latina teen think when my face might pop up (or worse, no image pops up) as the actor playing Carlos? What am I doing voicing this major character when there are so many talented, gay, Latino or Hispanic men who can/should be doing it? Why didn’t I think of all of this before ep 16? I don’t know." --Jeffrey Cranor's blog, December 2013
  53. Both Cecil and Carlos are eldritch abominations in fairbreeze's As Mirrors Are Lonely
  54. "Am I the only one who still finds it ambiguous whether the Cecil on the tape is our regular radio host, and that his reaction to that section is not clearly indicative that they share a name?" measured-words on tumblr, Oct 15 2013
  55. See the tumblr tag Jewish Cecil, although the blog Jewish Cecil is Canon is devoted to general Social Justice concerns.
  56. "We’d never given him a last name but we’d never thought of his last name as Baldwin. That was one of those rare instances of us taking one really particular fan question and addressing it really directly in the script."Interview: Cecil Baldwin and Jeffrey Cranor of “Welcome to Night Vale” on The Backlot Oct 31 2013
  57. The last two years have seen an increasing number of live stage performances of special episodes, with the cast touring the U.S. and Europe repeatedly. As more and more actors are cast in the roles of familiar characters, and subsequently appear in those roles on the regular broadcast, some jossing of fans' personal ideas of those characters has occurred.
  58. "I frequently reblog white Cecil head canons and cosplays, so I’m not against white Cecil. However, I like to reblog more POCecil.(...)The problem is that so much of the fandom sees him as white, and in fact refuses to see he could be anything OTHER than white. I’ve seen many people claim that Cecil MUST be white, or that it’s stupid to think he could be a person of color. That’s very suspicious." words-are-vibrations on tumblr (accessed 9 Mar 2014)
  59. "I’ve lost count of how many capslock rage-matches I’ve read over race, sexual orientation, headcanon, and fanfiction ideas over the last several months. And I don’t even follow the dang tags." Tumblr blogger hecallsmehischild, An Open Letter to WTNV Fandom, December 29, 2013.
  60. "I have seen harassment on a sickening scale towards cosplayers in the Night Vale fandom because their “skin” isn’t right. I have seen people leave this fandom and stop listening altogether because they were afraid to post a headcanon, afraid of being called a racist, or ignorant, or told that they were wrong, even though never were they imposing their headcanons to be right." Tumblr blogger wailtothethief, I really wonder if Fink and Cranor know how much hate goes on... January 2, 2014.
  61. The fan blog No Night Vale SJWs, Please, run by a Filipina woman, discusses the place of social justice arguments in Night Vale fandom and the fact that many fans, including fans of color, find these arguments detrimental to their enjoyment of the show.
  62. "I’ll say it again, THIS WAS A TROLL BLOG. No one was seriously going to make a ‘white!cecil only’ blog. Jesus Christ. It was up for barely 24 hours because that’s how long it took for me to realize how fucking seriously you guys were taking this. POCecil is not under attack, calm down." this was a goddamn troll blog. (acceess Mar 9 2014)
  63. Kiri Von Stanten, On the Fetishization of Gay Men by Women in the Slash Community. The Mary Sue, January 17, 2015.
  64. Carlos's alma mater was explored (possibly for the first time) in DJClawson's "The Night Vale Horror" (accessed Mar 9 2014)
  65. Welcome to Night Vale on AO3, filtered by freeform tag Tentacles, Mar 9 2014
  66. Welcome to Night Vale on AO3, filtered by freeform tag No Tentacles, Mar 9 2014
  67. Such as in novembersmith's "tentacles in fortunate places", showing a virginal Carlos's first time with Cecil. (accessed Mar 9 2014)
  68. For example, "A horde of feminists all stand exactly 50 feet around you...."
  69. And Now, The Weather
  70. For example, Why an Oklahoma Restaurant Has a Monument to the Dark God Azathoth, originally posted on the New York Daily News website, received a string of Night Vale quips when it was reposted to io9.