Title: Mostly Void, Partially Stars
Author: Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
Genre: Fiction, podcast, script, horror, science fiction, comedy, fantasy, surrealism
Where I got the book: I purchased this book through Book Depository.
My rating: ★★★★★
Summary: A dog park where no dogs or people are allowed, a vague, yet menacing, government agency, and a mysterious glowing cloud… Welcome to Night Vale, a desert town where bizarre (and often deadly) events are a daily occurrence, where the inhabitants are strange but friendly, and where every conspiracy theory is true. Through a local radio broadcast hosted by the somewhat omnipresent Cecil Gershwin Palmer, we are introduced to this curious small town community.
“There is a thin, semantic line separating weird and beautiful, and that line is covered in jellyfish.”
– Mostly Void, Partially Stars/Welcome to Night Vale, Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
I have been a listener and huge fan of the podcast-series “Welcome to Night Vale” for quite a while now. I started listening to it back in 2013 and I’m delighted it became so successful that it’s still going! Now, over 100 episodes later, I have rarely found myself bored listening to it. It’s creepy, weird, hilarious, and diverse – it’s basically everything I love – and it just continues being creepy, weird, hilarious, and diverse. So please keep in mind that this review is probably a bit biased as I’ll love just about anything WTNV throws at me. Since “Mostly Void, Partially Stars” is a scriptbook for season 1, I guess this is also more of a podcast review (and me fangirling about it) than it is an actual book review.
Last summer I was beyond excited when I got my hands on the novel loosely based on the podcast, and I really enjoyed it. It features both familiar and new characters but with an entirely original plot. I have to say, though, that it is definitely quite a different experience reading about Night Vale than it is actually listening to it, and I prefer being a listener by far. However, this scriptbook is such a lovely treat to all fans! It was a great experience to be able to re-live all the episodes. It’s been a while since I listened to it but I’m surprised at how much I remember, especially considering the vast character gallery and all the different events. On the other hand I’d also forgotten and missed out on a few things as well, so seeing it in this format was really nice.
For the most part, the podcast is episode-based and deals with one key event, element, or character each episode. There is essentially no plot but things do relate to each other and are brought up again from time to time, so there is a kind of loose storyline present. It’s hard to make the story progression entirely cohesive and chronological when the format bases itself on a daily radio show that consists of different segments reporting on different things, so naturally, jumps in the “story” are expected.
I think this scriptbook is a must-have for any fan. It includes some amazing and very creative illustrations by the talented Jessica Hayworth, and each episode starts with an introduction written either by the creators or the contributing cast. It gives a nice glimpse into their lives, and also how the original idea of the podcast was conceived and the creative process of writing and recording episodes, which is fascinating in itself.
However, if you’re new to Night Vale and curious what it’s all about, I wouldn’t start by checking out any of the books. I would definitely start with the podcast instead. The novel especially will throw you into this universe without any background information, and I believe it will all make much less sense and seem incredibly random. Secondly, listening to it is just a whole different experience that involves so many great things! Even though it has bonus stuff, you’ll miss out on a lot by just reading the script. The podcast has a strong, distinct narration, a huge variety of interesting and diverse characters, and the show as a whole is incredibly atmospheric. One of the key features of WTNV is the theme- and background music, which sets an eerie, contrasting mood. The “weather” section of the show also features different indie music each episode, which is a great way to give new artists exposure and also for listeners to discover new music.
Overall I absolutely loved this book and I’m giving it 5 stars for the generous bonus content, the nostalgia, and the fact that season 1 is hands down one of my favorite seasons. It’s where it all started! Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys listening to “Welcome to Night Vale”.
Author information on Goodreads: Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
Welcome to Night Vale website: welcometonightvale.com
Link to book on Goodreads: Mostly Void, Partially Stars
Link to review on Instagram: Mostly Void, Partially Stars review