A scientist and a man of faith must find common ground to save a friendly desert community in the American Southwest.
Just kidding—of course we’re back in the weird town of Night Vale, where all the conspiracies you’ve ever heard of are true. For interlopers who haven’t yet experienced Welcome to Night Vale, it started as a podcast mimicking a bizarre community radio broadcast, later became a live touring production, and lives on in a first novel by Fink and Cranor (Welcome to Night Vale, 2015, etc.). This sequel will be a delight for fans but also features a funny but nuanced story about the chasm between faith and science. Our lead character is Nilanjana Sikdar, a levelheaded scientist from Indiana who has come to work with head scientist Carlos, husband to Cecil Palmer, the voice of Night Vale. But strange things start happening when first Larry Leroy’s house and later Big Rico’s Pizza fall into giant sinkholes. On the trail of a suspect known as “the Wordsmith,” Nilanjana meets Darryl Ramirez, a good-natured proselytizer for the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, a faith that believes redemption comes from being devoured by...something. The book includes whimsical pamphlets designed by Jessica Hayworth explaining the faith. While the new story is light on our friend Cecil—whose romance with Carlos is quietly breathtaking—readers spend more time with Carlos, whose story answers some lingering questions about this strange otherworld. As the Smiling God grows more dangerous, the fundamental conflict between Darryl’s faith and Nilanjana’s science threatens to tear the town asunder. With cameos from minor characters and the same fanciful sense of humor, the authors deliver not only a love letter to fans, but also a compelling drama that shows people coming together in a world that feels like it’s coming apart—which isn’t the worst message to broadcast these days.
A confident supernatural comedy from writers who can turn from laughter to tears on a dime.