Skip to main content

Welcome to Night Vale Newbie Recap: Episode 28 “Summer Reading Program”

Reading is deadly and comes with a gore-streaked sticker chart.

Welcome to Night Vale Logo

The Summer Reading Program has begun at the Night Vale Public Library. This is surprising, given that the program was banned by the City Council years ago, after an incident referred to only as “The Time of Knives”. Posters have appeared around town, alternately encouraging kids to get into a good book and flat-out threatening to force children into books where they will be trapped. The posters also have the tagline “Catch the flesh-eating reading bacteria!” It comes with adorable art of a germ reading a book while sitting in a beach chair made of a human skeleton. Apparently this image was so popular that the Night Vale crew decided to merchandise it. It’s in their store on a tote bag.

In a couple of quick stories we learn that, after much debate, murder has been declared illegal in Night Vale. Cecil also offers tips to beat the summer heat that include reasoning with the heat and pretending that you’re actually cold.

Back with the summer reading situation, we learn that fourteen kids and teens have been reported missing and are feared to be in the library learning. The doors and windows to the library have vanished, making it hard for anyone to stage a rescue attempt. In an effort to be at all helpful the Sheriff’s Secret Police have advised citizens to shoot anyone who looks like a librarian on sight as well as any teachers because “what the hell, as long as we’re at it!” I guess this must be an exception to the “no murder” thing.

Next up is a complex story about recent changes to the divisions of the Freemasons and the Illuminati. The Freemasons have now been split into the additional categories of the Retail Masons, the Wholesale Masons, and the Discount Masons. The Illuminati have divided into “Red, Green, Eagle, Faction Four, the Real Illuminati, the Other Real Illuminati, Red Again, Alpha, Windhind, and Hungry Man Brand Frozen Foods Officially-Sponsored Illuminati.” We’re also reminded that our minds are actually unable to comprehend any of this information. We barely understood anything, even as Cecil made the announcement.

Now the summer reading issue has grown more serious. Over one hundred children and teens have gone missing, including our latest red shirt, Intern Paulo. People outside the library can hear inhuman shrieks and smell blood coming from within, all standard parts of the Summer Reading Program. Fearfully, Cecil takes us to the weather.

This episode’s weather is “You and I Belong” by Simone Felice.

Once we’re back we learn that, surprisingly, the library has released its victims. The surviving children look emaciated and feral, like they’ve been gone much longer than we perceived. Among them is their apparent chosen leader, twelve-year-old Tamika Flynn. Tamika comes out with an angry snarl, a gore-streaked sticker chart, and the decapitated head of a librarian. They suggest that Tamika is both a very advanced reader and a ferocious warrior. As a dedicated reader myself, I applaud her. Cecil is also proud of Tamika and congratulates her and the other children on their survival skills and the victory that’s been won for literacy.

And that about wraps this one up. Tune in next time for a look at some terrifying new additions to Night Vale’s public transportation system.

As always, let’s finish this off with a look at the Conspiracy Tracker.

1. Angels are living with Old Woman Josie and the City Council denies they exist.
2. There’s a house that doesn’t exist.
3. The Apache Tracker died to save Carlos’ life.
4. Time isn’t real in Night Vale.
5. Cecil wants to be swallowed by a giant snake.
6. There’s a city of tiny people underneath the Desert Flower preparing for war.
7. Literal five-headed dragon Hiram McDaniels wants to be the next mayor.
8. Pets become perfect when you accept them…
9. What the heck is the dog park?
10. Russian=Weirdness
11. Cecil hates Steve Carlsberg for unknown reasons.
12. Night Vale has a surprising fixation on actor Lee Marvin.
13. Night Vale is prone to duplication and Desert Bluffs is one of the duplicates.
14. A dark planet is calling to people.
15. People are shipping crates with tiny houses inside.
16. There’s an old oak door on John Peters’ farm.
17. Desert Bluffs is controlled by the evil company StrexCorp.
18. A blinking red light is coming from somewhere unknown.
19. Simone Rigadeau thinks the world ended decades ago.
20. Cecil doesn’t know how old he is.
21. Earl Harlan thinks he and Cecil could have had something.
22. Mayor Winchell is retiring, possibly not by her own choice.
23. The Faceless Old Woman is running for mayor.
24. Cecil will be killed one day and it will involve a mirror.

Alex Townsend is freelance writer, a cool person, and really into gender studies and superheroes. It’s a magical day when all these things come together. You can follow her on her tumblr and see her comments on silver age comics. Happy reading!

—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—

Do you follow The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: