Authors: Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Read if: people and God confuse you and you wish the world was a bit weirder.
Spoiler-Free Review: If you’re a fan of the Welcome to Nightvale podcast, you are prepared to love this book in all of its splendid peculiarity.
If you are not familiar with Welcome to Nightvale, you should know that while on the surface this is just a story of a confused scientist on a mission, this novel covers issues as deep as the intersection between religion, belief, and observation. Why we believe in what we believe and how this shapes the way we interact with other people. The plot itself is lighthearted and the characters are complex and peculiar. This is not a book that will have you at the edge of your seat, rather it’s simply meant to be a lighthearted adventure through a really strange town.
I’d recommend reading this with an open mind and be prepared to laugh. This book is smart and weird in the best way possible. If this sounds appealing to you, go check out the Welcome to Nightvale podcast too!
Overall: 4/5 Stars. This book made me think and laugh.
Goodreads Synopsis: From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God.
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different worldviews as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret.
“Do you know the difference between faith and science?” the pastor said “Here we believe. We believe in each other, and in our community. Ours is a way of trust, of loving honesty. In science, they are taught the opposite. They are taught to doubt. Every aspect of the world, a scientist must doubt it, and test it over and over, and even then they must doubt what they’ve learned.” (156)