“A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.” The Welcome to Night Vale podcast is like A Prairie Home Companion from a place where every supernatural theory and government conspiracy is horribly and yet mundanely real. The podcast, unusual for being a dramatic fictional production rather than just a couple people conversing into recording software, is done in the format of a radio show: From Night Vale Community Radio, our host Cecil gives the sort of general news and community information you'd hear on any little talk radio station in small-town America. But it's clear right from the beginning that something is horribly wrong in this little desert town. Cecil tells us in his matter-of-fact way about the new dog park that's opened in town, which is populated by “hooded figures” and no one is to enter or even speak of it under any circumstances. There's a man named Hiram McDaniels who is wanted by the Sheriff’s Secret Police on suspicion of insurance fraud. Wait, did I say man? I mean five-headed dragon. And it looks like he wants to run for mayor! There's a floating cat in the station's men's bathroom; they've decided to name him Khoshekh. But all this is perfectly normal, right? Which is why Cecil is amused and delighted by the arrival of a group of scientists who declare Night Vale to be “the most scientifically interesting community in the U.S.” The only thing that amuses and delights him more is the scientists' leader Carlos, with whom he immediately falls in love. The deadpan presentation of the show is a perfect compliment to the often unnerving nature of the story. For Cecil and the other residents of Night Vale, all of this is perfectly normal. Sometimes they are terrified for their lives, and station interns die horrible deaths with alarming frequency, but even that's just part of everyday existence. The terror is never neutered by the mundane tone and it gives the show a perfect balance of horror and humor. One of the best segments is “the weather,” which is not actually a weather report but a song from a different independent artist in every show. The weather presents a range of genres from indie folk to rap. In its early days the weather was open to submissions, but the show's growing popularity has given them a backlog and their website now notes that “The weather section is booked for well over a year into the future – if you believe in such things as 'the future' and 'music.'” Background music for the show itself is by Brooklyn-based indie ambient artist Disparition. Produced by Commonplace Books, information on downloading or streaming the Welcome to Night Vale podcast can be found at commonplacebooks.com. The show is an independent production – the “sponsor” spots in the show are not actual paid ads, not even the ones declaring that Amazon.com is suddenly the only web site on the internet – and they welcome donations.