Jackie had never felt fear in her entire life. She had felt caution, and unease, and sadness, and joy, which are all similar to fear. But she had never felt fear itself.I don't think I have previously written up here my thoughts on Welcome to Night Vale, the serial podcast about life in a very strange town somewhere near (but perhaps not quite in) the Southwestern USA. The audio version, in hour-long episodes, is anchored by the reassuring tones of Cecil Baldwin as radio presenter Cecil Palmer, reporting on the horrific absurdities of the town and musing on the latest findings of his scientist boyfriend. (Incidentally, I always pronounced "Cecil" as /ˈsɛsəl/, to rhyme with "trestle", but the US pronunciation seems to be /ˈsiːsəl/, almost rhyming with "diesel".) I listened to every episode from the beginning to about the middle of 2016 and then got out of the habit, mainly due to the competing attractions of Duolingo and Pokémon GO absorbing the time that I had been spending listening to it. I still really enjoyed it, particularly the arc in which the station intern Dana Cardinal, played by Jasika Nicole, becomes mayor of Night Vale.
The novel isn't quite the same. Two women protagonists go in search of a secret which takes them out of Night vale to California; meanwhile we have interjected commentary from Cecil's radio show which isn't really connected to the plot, such as it is. I thought that the Cecil sections were funny and sinister and kept the spirit of the podcast. I was less impressed by the main plot, which started promisingly, faffed around a lot in the middle and finally reached something like a conclusion. I didn't get a strong feel for the main characters' motivations. It is a decent enough read but not as epic as the original medium. You can get it here.
This was my top unread book acquired in 2016. Next on that list is Hardwired, by Walter Jon Williams.