Welcome To Night Vale / It Devours
By Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Definitely a product of modern times, these two novels are spin offs from a podcast which details the fictional goings on in the bizarre and twisted town of Night Vale, a place which has its own bizarre rules and regulations which make perfect sense to its strange collection of inhabitants. I like the concept of the podcast but find it a bit of a struggle to listen to as it’s a single narrator (presented as a weekly news report about the town) and I find his voice quite difficult to focus in on. Translated to the page, it’s a more satisfying experience for me - their working is very suited to being either aural or prose as, life a twisted sci fi version of The Goon Show, it’s about the wordplay fo surreal concepts sometimes that couldn’t be realised on the screen. I imagine they’re probably in talks for a screen version of this in some way, shape or form but I think that actually pinning it down visually would rob it of some of its appeal. If you like your fiction strange and surreal with a bit of humour to it, give these a try.
James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes
By James Acaster
Being a bit of a comedy junkie, I like a good comedy book and they generally fall into two camps - the spin-off book of new material (a la The Goodies, Monty Python, League Of Gentlemen, Mighty Boosh) or the largely autobiographical. James Acaster's falls into the latter camp. I haven’t really seen mushy of his stand-up; just the odd appearance on panel shows so was going into this one a little bit cold. I really enjoyed it - he has a very engaging way of spinning the occasionally mundane into something more eventful. On some occasions the material feels a little bit thin but it was carried through by his engaging way of writing. A good, quick comedy read.
A Closed And Common Orbit
By Becky Chambers
Sci fi is, of course, the other main source of entertainment for me, This is the second book (so far) in the Wayfarers series and to say too much about this one would spoil a fairly major moment in the first book. I hesitate to use the term “plot point” as there’s a fairly loose structure to these books - it’s more a series of incidents that happen to these characters as they go about their lives. That’s by no means a criticism - both this and the first book are immensely readable slice of life overviews of a set of characters. Chambers has also crafted a compelling universe to situate them within and I’m looking forward to the third one which is out later this year.
So there you go. Some word-based entertainment for you where you have to make up the pictures to go along with using your mind. Give ‘em a go if that’s your sort of thing.