Cultural differences: Polish fandom of Welcome to Night Vale

Agata Włodarczyk, Marta Tyminska

Abstract


Welcome to Night Vale (2012–) is an intertextual podcast in the tradition of popular horror and weird tales. Listeners are meant to be part of a (fictional) community, listening to the radio in the small desert town of Night Vale in the Southwestern United States, although neither the state nor the exact time are specified. We follow the host of the program, Cecil Palmer, as he describes the town's community life, although the events presented in the show are far from normal. The first episode was published online June 15, 2012, with no marketing to accompany the event. Many had first heard about Welcome to Night Vale through fan art available via social media, including Tumblr, Soup.io, blog communities, Facebook groups, and deviantArt. Although the production is available in English only, it has a Polish fandom. We describe the difference in perception of this popular text based on differences in the cultural background and literary knowledge of the listeners. We also attend to fan practices such as fan art surrounding Welcome to Night Vale because their content correlates with the creator's culture of origin, as well as the issue of funding the free podcast among fans from different countries and different economies.

Keywords


Audio drama; Fan art; Podcast; Reading practices; Visualization; Weird tales

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3983/twc.2015.0591

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC), ISSN 1941-2258, is an online-only Gold Open Access publication of the nonprofit Organization for Transformative Works. TWC is a member of DOAJ. Contact the Editor with questions.