A Void that Thinks: Elements of Magical Realism in Welcome to Night Vale

Mika AM
21 min readOct 19, 2023
A surreal painting of a cinema. A pair of blue eyes stare into the audience. The walls are covered in swirls of blue and yellow hues. The seats for the audience are yellow.
“The Cinema” by Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Hello readers. To start things off, a query: can the podcast Welcome to Night Vale be categorized as magical realism?

Well, Wikipedia lists magical realism as one of the many genres it encompasses so bada bing bada boom, right?


Magical Realism is a difficult term to nail down. Some argue that it should only be limited to artworks stemming from Latin America, anything else conceived in different parts of the world falling between fabulism and fantasy. Others state that political oppression and the need to deal with a harsh reality through a surrealist lens isn’t solely limited to Latin America, with many known authors claiming a place within this genre, such as: Toni Morrison (Beloved), Salman Rushdie (The Satanic Verses), Haruki Murakami (After Dark), and even Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane), to name a few.

The term magischer realismus was initially coined by the German art critic, Franz Roh, in 1925, in order to describe paintings showcasing a dream-like perspective of the world. Translated into realismo mágico, the term reaches Latinamerica and is then used by Venezuelan writer Arturo Uslar Pietri in 1948 to describe stories in which there’s a “poetic denial of reality.” While Roh applied the term to visual arts, Uslar Pietri is often considered the originator of the term within literature.

During the 20s and 30s, Latinamerican writers began exploring a kind of fiction that contrasted with the naturalism of the 19th century, a return to form with a strong basis on scientific knowledge. Uslar Pietri, alongside Guatemalan Miguel Ángel Asturias and Cuban Alejo Carpentier, essentially gathered together and realized they shared a common fascination for marginalized, indigenous cultures and how the general perspective of these people is a European one, with Europe itself setting the stage and characteristics in contrast to its own model. Magical realism then arises as a way to share our own perspective of ourselves, not through the magical lens of European mysticism, but through the lens of Latinamerican mixed race and political turmoil.

It’s Alejo Carpentier who goes on to coin a new term, real maravilloso (plainly, marvelous realism/reality), to explain just how extreme the history and evolution of Latin America is, so convoluted and conflicting, that it may seem surreal or out of this world to an outside perspective.

I would agree that the term “magical realism” shouldn’t be relegated to Latin America (though it’s always worth noting its roots in the Latinamerican Boom throughout the 60s and the profound influence it had on the literary landscape of the world). As we’ll explore further on, magical realism is perhaps more nuanced than a simple genre: it’s considered a coping mechanism, a language that can be taught but must be lived to fully comprehend, a standpoint to see ourselves beyond what outside forces choose to see.

So I ask again: is Welcome to Night Vale magical realism?

Surreal horror, satire, dark humor are all terms used to describe the kind of show Welcome to Night Vale is; these genres can often conflate with magical realism, so first let’s establish a few of the main characteristics of this movement.

Taking into account that magical realism is a genre that encompasses so many nuances and to pin it down would be an oversimplification, I believe we can boil down its main aspects into the following five, for brevity’s sake:

  1. The magical/fantastical as commonplace
  2. Time distortion
  3. A sense of belonging
  4. Clash between technology and tradition
  5. Political critique

Note: this is not an official categorization of elements that make up magical realism; this was simply the best way to narrow it down.

For the ease of newcomers to the podcast, as well as my own comfort, my focus will be limited to the first 25 episodes of the series; so the first year of Night Vale, as well as the first arc within the story (because going over 200+ episodes of a podcast that hasn’t ended yet and began in 2012 is nigh impossible.) Even so, beware of general spoilers ahead, as I will mention some events beyond the first year.

A painting of a scene from the novel 100 Years of Solitude. It depicts the character of Remedios who floats off to the heavens, holding different colored bed sheets in her hands. Three other women stare at her and try to reach for her.
“Remedios la Bella” by Helena Pérez García


The easiest aspect we can pinpoint is fantastical/magical elements presented as commonplace within the universe of the story; things that seem anomalous to the audience are ordinary for the citizens of these worlds.

In an episode of the podcast Writing Excuses, host Mary Robinette Kowal mentions that one of her favorite definitions of magical realism is “metaphor made manifest.” Characters undergoing a physical metamorphosis, ghosts or spirits as well as miraculous events, oneiric or dreamlike illusions that clash with reality, parallel dimensions, and the personification of natural elements — all of these are normal for the characters, barely remarking on them unless it has an effect on their lives, though not one we would expect. And often they disguise larger issues by being presented as hyperbolic to an audience that doesn’t belong to that universe: Us.

In WTNV, our main and only narrator is Cecil Palmer, host of Night Vale Community Radio. While at times his broadcasts may come across as one-sided — does the entire town actually hate, despair, and love Carlos’ perfect hair in equal measure? — his words are seemingly agreed upon by the rest of the denizens of Night Vale. And it’s his voice that takes us listeners through the most peculiar events:

The Glow Cloud — all hail — that floats over town, causing people to go into a trance like state worshiping its very existence; it possesses the ability to rain creatures all over town. The Cloud also holds an important position in town by becoming head of the Night Vale School Board after its child is enrolled into the school. Most citizens accept its odd presence in town (perhaps due to mind-control), and the dead animals it rains are taken as a learning opportunity or a hazard as bothersome as any other rainfall.

Then we have the existence of dragons through Hiram McDaniels. He’s often mistaken for his fake identity, a human called Frank Chen, despite the accompanying description of “18-foot tall, five-headed dragon.” Rather than facing persecution due to being an eldritch terror that breathes fire, Hiram is wanted for insurance fraud. During his trial in later episodes, Cecil comments on the fact that he can’t have a jury of peers because dragons just don’t exist, a mere technicality that stalls the trial.

Funnily enough, we have an opposite example with the Angels, all named Erika. The very first episode tells us that citizens of Night Vale aren’t allowed to know about angels and the hierarchy of heaven by government mandate, purposefully denying the Erikas’ nature as angels. There’s no question dragons exist, even though it’s just Hiram (and perhaps a sister), yet the Angels, who play an active role throughout different arcs and are known to be housed by Old Woman Josie, go resolutely unacknowledged by sheer will.

Furthermore, there’s Station Management and their overall “presence.” They never seem to leave their office yet send out word through shrieks, howls, and the occasional letter spat out from under their door. Employees of the station seem to put up with whoever their mysterious employer is, fearful of their reaction if vacation time is requested or their contract negotiation is broadcasted live, but more as one would fear an overbearing boss than a possible murderous entity.

One my favorite episodes, #13, A Story About You, is based on the premise that Cecil knows exactly everything that is happening with You during the broadcast, narrating each step, thought, and decision as it happens in real time. However, it’s never explained how Cecil knows this and is seen more as a fascinating happenstance, because You always wanted to be on the radio.

Other more episodic examples:

  • The time an airliner flew through the Night Vale gymnasium during basketball practice without any negative effect, other than making people suspect foul play from the Desert Bluffs’ rival team.
  • The odd events surrounding the Apache Tracker, a man of Slavic background who somehow physically transformed into a Native American; no one seems to question how he altered his race and instead is only criticized for being a racist embarrassment to the town (this, however, may be Cecil’s own opinions about him).
  • The clock tower that no one can see and constantly teleports.
  • How quarterback Micheal Sandero grew a second head, which his mother likes more than his original son.
  • Megan Wallaby and her very existence as an adult man’s hand.
  • Khoshekh, the cat floating in the men’s bathroom at the station; employees seem more concerned about how to feed him and whether management will let them keep him (they don’t, but it remains impossible to move him from his spot) and, in later episodes, whoever records him on their phones or tries to take pictures suffers devastating consequences.
  • Holidays and special events such as Street Cleaning Day or Valentine’s Day, which are met with deep horror and an actual death count despite being, to our eyes as an audience, completely ordinary days.

It’s easy to find examples of the strange being normalized in any WTNV episode. The absurdity of some instances make for an amazing, comedic angle, and at the same it draws in the listener, making you feel a part of this little town.

A surrealist painting depicting six figures on a raft in the middle of the ocean; they are all wearing animal-like masks. The sail for the raft is skin-colored and has an odd face with a large eye and elongated lips like a peak.
“La Regata de Caronte” by Pedro Peralta


Time and space find themselves warped in magical realism, authors exploiting its metaphysical aspect to bring about a sense of the unreal to its narratives. Poet Alberto Ríos states that, in magical realism “time is often everything, but the clock is nothing. The minute hand is replaced by the breath, the hour hand by a rhythm of yawns.”

Often these stories are often told in an erratic order, events seemingly disconnected yet showcasing the circularity of time and the events that repeat themselves throughout history. Time can also be perceived as merely irrelevant, emotions and people transcending the boundaries of time and space.

In the first year of Night Vale there is some play with time, and time travel. However, this aspect becomes much more exaggerated in future arcs, with the passage of time becoming a nebulous concept as Cecil congratulates local legend Lee Marvin on his 30th birthday throughout several years, for example.

We can see a few of examples in the first year: one being episode #18, The Traveler, which tells about a time traveler who comes from the future to save Night Vale from ruin, thus changing his own future forever. Though becoming quite popular in town and even marrying the third most beautiful woman in Night Vale, Cactus June/Judy/Jane, who quickly gives birth to their son, he is whisked away by the government and no one really seems to comment or remember him, and it remains unknown what peril he saved the town from by traveling into the past.

Then there’s episode #7, History Week, in which the station showcases different points of interest about the town’s history. Putting aside the often ludicrous anecdotes about Night Vale, Cecil gives a brief history about the year 2052, describing future events such as: the scion of the Dark Order, a plague, and how the City Council will devour half of the town’s population.

Intern Dana, having entered the forbidden Dog Park in episode #20, Poetry Week, is able to communicate with Cecil despite spending months in this other world adjacent to Night Vale without a phone charger. It’s also briefly mentioned that she hopes people will toss snacks over the fence, having managed to survive without food, drink, or rest.

Episode #21, A Memory of Europe, briefly touches on this when Cecil shares the news that the world’s deadliest spider has been discovered, and it was found on your dead body. He stops halfway to clarify that the report is from the following week, insisting you to forget about this news, and offering an apology for the mix-up since their wire services began using time machines.

These examples showcase that time travel and other such trans-dimensional events are probable in Night Vale simply because this very town breaks the laws of time and physics, creating a warped sense of reality that its citizens find normal. This aspect is addressed by outsiders to the town, such as Carlos or You, not being able to remember how much time has passed since their arrival, be it weeks or years. Nevertheless, residents of Night Vale don’t focus or care about the passage of time, or whether the sun sets at a different time or not.

Characters who are long-lived or who come from alternate dimensions are barely commented on, their existence taken at face value. And this goes without mentioning later episodes where Night Vale seems to exist in a time and place outside of the real world, despite its very real connection to it.

Just out of sight enough to pass overlooked, but present enough in reality to be affected by it.

A painting depicting the transition from a sea landscape to one underwater. It is nighttime and the clouds slowly transform into whales, with two swimmers seemingly flying in the sky alongside them.
“Union of Sea and Sky” by Rob Gonsalves


Magical realism often tells tales set within a specific location, centering on a specific family or group of people. Most often they take place in small, rural towns where everyone knows their neighbor, ideas and rumors shared mouth to mouth. These places may be real or fictional but almost always with a basis on reality. Night Vale itself is a fictional town but is set “somewhere in the American southwest,” with a clear culture and mindset as that of the United States, albeit pushed to the extreme.

Sometimes real countries will be mentioned, such as Russia or Mexico (and Double Mexico), but the show plays with fictional places as well, like Nulogorsk, Svitz, Franchia, and Luftnarp, all containing absurd landmarks or strange citizens that Cecil merely chalks up to a difference between American and European culture.

Meanwhile, Cecil will often wax poetic about the town, the night sky above them and the particular lights that glare overhead, of the vast desert and unbearable heat that defines the climate of their home.

But this is merely the setting.

Author Wendy B. Faris states in her book Ordinary Enchantments that “magical realism reorients not only our habits of time and space but our sense of identity as well. The multi-vocal nature of the narrative and the cultural hybridity that characterize magical realism extends to its characters, which tend toward a racial multiplicity.

Several eccentric figures comprise the town of Night Vale, each a permanent fixture throughout town yet with a kind of one-dimensional personality, though perhaps that stems from Cecil’s perspective as an “objective” reporter: There’s mayor Pamela Winchell and her obsession with surprise press conferences, John Peters, you know, the farmer, Juanita Jefferson who constantly cries “Trees! They are us!”, and even Simone Rigadeau, the transient living in the Earth Sciences Building who claims the world ended decades ago.

However, they all share a collective identity as native members of this town, often manifested in odd belief systems and practices that may seem outdated or even taboo (but more on this later).

For example: Night Vale Radio features a community calendar segment, detailing events that are mostly absurd (“Wednesday has been cancelled, due to a scheduling error” or “Friday is an oasis”) but more often than not are for the benefit of its citizens, broadcasting the time and date of either recreational or mandatory events.

We have the Bi-Weekly Fire Person Appreciation Parade, which includes floats depicting famous fires from Night Vale, and where no actual fires will be taken care of due to the parade. Or the Annual Parade of the Mysterious Hooded Figures held on November 10th, held in honor of the town’s favorite Hooded Figures, even the one that occasionally openly steals babies.

In fact, look no further than the town motto first mentioned in episode #10, perfectly encapsulating not only the general vibe of the town, but the manner in which the residents view themselves and the core of their beliefs:

We have nothing to fear except ourselves. We are unholy, awful people. Fear ourselves with silence. Look down, Night Vale. Look down and forget what you’ve done.

As previously mentioned, only outsiders (and a few citizens) are privy to the odd scientific phenomena plaguing the town, and boy do the townsfolk let them know. In later episodes it’s established that a common greeting for newcomers is shouting the word “Interloper!” while pointing a finger in their direction. Yet even these outsiders find a home in Night Vale; they are granted a place despite suspicion and government surveillance, having suddenly appeared one day in Night Vale and simply never left.

This aspect goes even beyond the confines of Night Vale to reach its very audience. Many news stories play with the concept of you as an active participant, Cecil seemingly addressing the listener at that very place and time. In a very Blue’s Clues kind of manner, the show draws in its listeners and plays along with the concept that the only people who would listen to the radio show are citizens of Night Vale.

Further ahead we have episode #94, All Right, that directly asks for audience participation and a specific manner in which to listen to the episode.

Though family ties are strong within Night Vale (the plot to the first novel, aptly titled Welcome to Night Vale, contains a struggling mother-son relationship), the entire town is home to itself, in the sense that everything is accepted (as long as you play the part), and more often its instances of found family that carry the emotional weight of the podcast.

This sense of belonging ties very very closely to our next characteristic.


The 20th century was a time of great technological progress, radical changes and advancements, and the beginnings of what we now know as globalization. News, technology, lifestyle and culture — these have never traveled faster throughout the world than today and it stems from the absolutely ridiculous changes that occurred during this century. Think how 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez begins: with the town patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, fascinated by an ice block, marveling at this invention when not only is this normal for the reader but the rest of the events in the story are fantastical in nature and beyond anything we could imagine.

On this Reddit post explaining the difference between fantasy and magical realism, user Varathien comments that the genre “requires you getting into a pre-scientific mindset.”

In the making of The Village, director M. Night Shyamalan states that he wanted to make a period piece because he was interested in the concept of innocence, and how in the 1800s there were still gaps in knowledge that, coupled with this innocence, could lead to the belief in creatures we don’t have anymore. Shyamalan focuses on geographical gaps, swaths of unknown land where anything could lurk, friend or foe. However, it’s this innocence, not ignorance, that colors the world in a very different manner than what we’re used to now. Just as user Varathien states, modern writers have to work backwards from their 21st century scientific knowledge and ask themselves what the world would look like from a point of view that didn’t have easy access to answers at the click of a button.

Night Vale is such a town; smack-dab in the middle of the desert, with little connection to outside towns other than Desert Bluffs through a one-sided rivalry, the town begins and ends with itself, the townsfolk enmeshed in a very specific way of life and ideology.

There’s the absolute non-belief in mountains, or the refusal of angels, the way they ignore the existence of the state of Michigan, and the overall acceptance of a vague yet menacing government surveilling their every move and thought.

We have the existence of librarians as dangerous creatures rather than regular people with a regular job, who attack and hold children hostage within the library; bearing claws, tentacles, and eyes in other parts of their bodies, they remain a permanent danger to anyone who dares check out books from the outdated Public Library. In fact, episode #16, the Phone Call, has the City Council announce improvements for the Public Library “after several months of protests from Night Vale citizens of stout and sturdy character.”

There’s also the mandatory lottery mentioned in episode #8, where citizens draw either a white paper or a purple one, which means they have been chosen to be ceremoniously disemboweled and eaten by wolves. It’s considered an outdated yet necessary practice in order to feed the wolves from the Night Vale Zoo.

Even Carlos’ presence and desperate attempts to understand and save the town go mostly unnoticed, as the townsfolk do not particularly care for his improvements and studies. Even Cecil pretends to have an interest in science (mostly to flirt) but catches himself judging Carlos for “not knowing basic architecture” in regards to the Night Vale Clock Tower. Later in episode #27, First State, Cecil asks Carlos if he wants to join in on a round of the recreational activity that is “pointing at the sky and shouting in terror.”

While Night Vale undergoes some transformation and improvement in its infrastructure, most establishments are unique and have a specific function within the town. For example: Big Rico’s Pizza, the only pizzeria in town not burnt down due to an unsolved arson case. It’s not only the only place to find pizza (and other services), but it’s mandated by law for citizens to eat there alongside the Hooded Figures. There’s also the hole in the vacant lot out back of the Ralphs, where you’re expected to go and huddle with us. Who are we? Good question.

Other than the dark conspiracies that run the town, Night Vale’s traditions, people, and cultural staples persist throughout the show’s run, allowing the audience to become not just familiar with the town, but to also feel a part of it.

This aspect comes more into play in later arcs, especially when StrexCorp comes into town and monopolizes every business. Episode #48, aptly named Renovations, has new hosts Kevin and Lauren Mallard broadcasting to the audience the various “renovations” StrexCorp has in plan to modify Night Vale, many of which include tearing down infamous locations whilst keeping Night Vale citizens permanently trapped in the “Company Picnic.”

Later on, in episode 49 divided into two parts, Old Oak Doors Part A and Part B, Kevin tries to convince Steve Carlsburg of joining his belief in a Smiling God, arguing if it’s fair to live and fight for Angles, Hooded Figures, a menacing Glow Cloud, and even a Secret Police that “can invade your home at any time, without so much as a letter from Human Resources.”

To which Cecil cries, “But they are our Hooded Figures. And it is our Glow Cloud! And this is our town! And it is terrible, but it is ours.”

And it isn’t until Kevin suggests “fixing” Steve’s stepdaughter, Janice, who can’t walk since birth and must move in a wheelchair, that Steve turns his back on him and is the one who defeats Kevin, claiming a love for his town (which has darkness that only he can see), his stepbrother (who wastes no breath in hating him), and his stepdaughter.

Once again, the sense of belonging is brought to the forefront whenever the town is in danger, which tends to be more often than not; Cecil begs the listeners outside the universe of the podcast, you, to take part and defend your home.

Especially when dealing with forces that employ a fierce takeover of the townsfolk, their livelihood, and their culture.

A painting of a parlor room with a brown wallpaper covered in flowers. On the wall there is a painting and a cuckoo clock. From right to left: there is a round table with a lamp on it, then two chairs. Two spectral figures occupy the chairs: the first is a ghostly woman holding a long string of unraveled, white yarn. The second is a shadow floating above the chair, a loop of the white yarn tied around his left leg, connecting him to the woman.
“Atada a un recuerdo” by Marina Pallares


Arguably, one of the most important elements.

So many of the authors of magical realism came from countries that were in constant political turmoil during the 20th century. Author Anne-Marie McLemore claims in an article that magical realism has its roots in oppression, and that in a culture of oppression “seeing the magical in the midst of the tragic, the unjust, the heartbreaking, is a way of survival.”

We see themes of war, both within and without the narrative space, of foreign takeovers, especially when Latinamerican stories talk about the clash between their native roots, European conquest, and intervention from the United States. When these novels were being written and published, Latin America was fraught with war, coups, artistic censorship, and the vanishing of people that were never really solved. Knowing that the government took and executed a family member doesn’t really answer the question of why, or where they are now.

WTNV leans on heavy satire and absurdism to get their critique of politics across, coming off as either comical due to the extreme, ridiculous measures Night Vale politicians decide on, or transgressive, employing shock value to bridge the gap between the audience and taboo subjects.

Take for instance:

Thought crimes and the existence of mind-scanners.

The blatantly illegal and concerning behavior of the government, in the form of both the Sheriff’s Secret Police and a vague yet menacing government agency (the title alone). How they urge citizens to talk loudly about interesting subjects because they’re listening anyway, or how they sometimes up and take children because why not. There’s also the common practice of kidnapping family members and holding them in a not-so-secret location that is the Abandoned Mine Shaft outside of town unless their families vote for the “correct” candidate. Cecil remarks that he’s impressed prisoners have access to HBO, and overlooks the fact that citizens are openly killed if their families vote incorrectly.

The many slogans of the local chapter of the NRA, direct and to the point while being irrational and nonsensical:

“Guns don’t kill people. It’s impossible to be killed by a gun. We are all invincible to bullets and it’s a miracle.”

Episodes such as #8, The Lights in Raydon Canyon, and #10, Feral Dogs, where the City Council, alongside mayor Pamela Winchell, blatantly gaslight the town about events they clearly witnessed, like the Pink Floyd Multimedia Laser Spectacular paid for with government funds, or the pack of feral dogs terrorizing the town and attacking children. These episodes end with the local government urging its citizens to look away and stop remembering; when questioned by the press, the Secret Police “ethically kettled the pool of reporters, gently coercing them with pepper spray […] taken away peacefully in handcuffs and black hoods.

The overall death toll within the show, and how no one seems to care, even when they were caused by people rather than supernatural events. In episode #6, The Drawbridge, Cecil breaks the news on a softball game between the Sheriff’s Secret Police and the Fire Department, and how the latter’s entire bullpen was assassinated with blow darts, leaving these murders “unsolved and uninvestigated.”

Or the running joke that the station’s interns constantly wind up deceased, with Cecil having to give his condolences on the air. The joke even breaks the fourth wall: at the end of each episode, during the credits and daily proverbs, they will sometimes mention that an intern of the actual podcast passed away due to mysterious and absurd circumstances.

However, during the StrexCorp arc, the metaphor is completely lifted and the audience is made to listen to a full-on protest, subjugation of said protestors (many of them book-loving teens), and a rebellion against a company that forces its workers to permanently live at a “company picnic” surrounded by electrified fences.

Truly, a kind of dark humor you must either take with a grain of salt, or have a taste for. And yet, how many times have we witnessed political parties pointing fingers at each other without coming clean and fixing their own mistakes? How many people have been killed or mysteriously vanished only for the media to downplay their disappearances or ignore it completely? How many elections have been rigged to force a population into subjugation and silence, or else claimed to be rigged as a way to instigate a frenzy into devout followers?

To be fair, if the whole point of magical realism is to showcase the manner in which we perceive ourselves and our perspective of the tormented reality we inhabit, conspiracy theories and all, then what better example than Welcome to Night Vale to glimpse into the mind of a culture that seems to thrive on excess, on capitalism and overabundance? How else do we, from the other side of the border, try to understand the institutions that govern with such recklessness in pursuit of freedom and rights that, at times, don’t seem to apply to those who don’t fulfill certain societal, political, and economical standards?

In an interview, writer Joseph Fink states that he “came up with this idea of a town in that desert where all conspiracy theories were real, and we would just go from there with that understood.”

It’s a sad world we live in if I can safely assume that most, if not all countries, possess a certain level of conspiracies, hidden agendas, and strict government policies that at times protect its inhabitants, but at others fall prey to extreme measures.

I wonder if people out there question the merit in creating a magical realist story, rather than opting between realism or fantasy. Why bother when we live in such a technologically advanced world, with access to information and any answers to questions at our fingertips, with a reach to other parts of the world readily available without the need to travel?

Just as science fiction acts as a mirror to reflect our reality, and flaws, back at us, so too does magical realism encourage us to look through the perspective of marginalized groups. Magical realist stories aren’t set in fantasy worlds, but the real world; they bring about real conflicts, historical figures and, most importantly, the true heartbreak that goes with watching the world around you change. More than believing the olden days were better than now, magical realism can be more like a sense of grief, of confusion.

It’s similar to the phenomenon of millennials believing themselves — ourselves — to be deeply conflicted since our childhood saw a rapid change in technology, globalization, and political events changing the manner in which the world functioned just as we were getting the hang of it.

The show has been a trailblazer for speculative fiction within podcasting, as well as for LGBTQ+ representation; so many fans have commented on their shock at the casual mention of Cecil, a man, falling in love “instantly” with Carlos the Scientist during the very first episode, a sentiment that hasn’t changed all throughout the show and the characters’ developing relationship.

Having started in 2012, Welcome to Night Vale has been a constant presence in the podcasting world; in over 10 years we’ve walked along its citizens while undergoing many conflicts, wars, presidential elections, coups or attempted coups, even a widespread pandemic that creators Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor addressed and held our hands as we watched it pass by. More than nonsensical news editorials and slightly horrific incidents, WTNV tackles racial politics, gender orientation and equality, as well as the questioning of a far-reaching government.

And with the current state of the world, an impending sense of doom and impotence, a little absurdism with which to sit back and contemplate our time on Earth doesn’t sound too shabby.

So yes, all in all Welcome to Night Vale is a magical realist story.

And now, the weather.

Mika is a Mexican writer and translator, pretender, pet-lover, and a mess at 1 in the morning.



Mika AM

Writer, daydreamer, procrastinator. Always late to the party but loves platypus(es)