Tag: joseph fink

LGBT Pride & Queer Reads

Hit Americana Mystery ‘Alice Isn’t Dead’ Nominated for Lambda Award

If you’ve been sleeping on Alice Isn’t Dead, we hope you’ve caught up on your rest. Once you dive into this clever, creepy lesbian road trip mystery, you may not be sleeping again for awhile.

This poignant, witty, and deeply unsettling podcast written by Welcome to Nightvale co-creator Joseph Fink—and its novelization has been nominated in the 31st annual Lambda Awards under the Lesbian Mystery category. An homage to the classic American road-trip, this eerie and contemplative podcast follows Keisha, a brave yet anxiety-ridden woman whose wife mysteriously disappears. The obvious assumption is as awful as it is incorrect: Alice died mysteriously while working for her job, a fast-paced corporate position that led to her frequent domestic travel. She wrote lovingly throughout her travels, sending emails from small-town bed-and-breakfasts, describing sunny summer afternoons.

But what if the weather reports say there was no sun that afternoon in the town Alice described? What if there was no bed-and-breakfast in the town she wrote about, a lie Keisha never thought to question? What if Alice isn’t dead?

What if it gets worse than that?


Alice Isn't Dead logo

Image via a suivre


Our story opens with the distinct tone of nightmare—something familiar left out to rot. Keisha is in a diner, and a man is eating an omelette. Only he’s not really eating the omelette so much as he is devouring it with a violent, mindless need. There’s something wrong with his fingernails. There’s something wrong with his eyes.

Keisha has left her job and life behind to journey into the liminal space of the American highway, a vast and threatening emptiness in which anything could be lurking—whether it’s a sinister truth or something even more frightening than knowledge. Joining trucking company Bay & Creek Shipping, Keisha talks to Alice on her CB radio.

But Alice might not be the only one listening.

The story unfolds with all the logic of a dream: the same town appears endlessly along the same stretch of road, an image repeated into meaninglessness. A factory looms on the edge of an ocean, populated by a single worker who is moving sideways through time. Keisha hears footsteps in the bed of her truck, but no one is there when she stops to check. Things are and then aren’t. Things aren’t and then very much are.



Creepy 'Alice Isn't Dead' art

Image Via Lady Geek Girl


Alice Isn’t Dead is a wonderful example of LGBT+ media entering the mainstream; although its popularity arose in part because of Joseph Fink’s reputation, the podcast and novel earned attention for their expert storytelling and striking fixation with the uncanny as the story journeys deeper and deeper into America’s messy innards. It’s no mistake that the podcast ran from 2016 – 2018, a time in which America’s political climate was another strange and inhospitable landscape. Fink boldly places a queer love story in the wildest reaches of the United States: where police won’t help, where the threat of violence doesn’t seem entirely supernatural. Although Alice Isn’t Dead will compete against some incredible titles, its wide reach into the mainstream represents a serious accomplishment.

The Lambda Literary Awards, established in 1988, honor works exploring LGBT+ themes across an exciting range of genres. Though the award was initially for gay and lesbian works, its scope expanded to include bisexual and transgender categories as the community became more inclusive. The 31st annual Lambda awards judges have chosen from over 1,000 nominations—so you’d better get to reading! Tickets for the award ceremony, held in NYC, are now available for purchase.


Other Lambda Literary Award Nominees

A Selection of 2019 Lambda Award Finalists
Image Via Them


Other high-profile nominees include Elizabeth Acevedo’s National Book Award-winning The Poet X, renowned lesbian poet Eileen Myles’ Evolution, and acclaimed author and reviewer Alexander Chee’s How To Write an Autobiographical Novel. The categories cover an inclusive spectrum of genres and identities: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Mystery, Memoir/Biography, Romance, Anthology, Children’s/Young Adult, Drama, Erotica, Graphic Novels, SF/F/Horror, and LGBTQ Studies.

As of 2019, only the first three categories exist in subcategories Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender; the remainder are generally divided into Lesbian and Gay. Perhaps, with the modern increase in queer content, the award will recognize an even broader selection of sexual and romantic identities.

Check out the full list of Lambda Award nominees in Lesbian Mystery and all other categories!



Featured Image Via Medium.

Image of a book on a leaf-covered floor.

7 Books You Have to Check Out This Fall!

Don’t worry, you still have time before the end of summer, but it’s never too early for book hype!

Here are some bonkers-sounding page-turners coming to shelves in the next few months.


1. The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley, Aug. 1

The cover of The Bedlam Stacks, which is a blue and gold illustration of monkeys and birds surrounding a lantern.

Image courtesy of Bloomsbury


In 1859, Cornish smuggler Merrick Tremayne embarks on a journey into the Amazon to gather quinine. The thing is, every previous mission has met its end at the hands of something mysterious and possibly magical.


2. The Walls by Hollie Overton, Aug. 8


The cover of The Walls, which is of a chainlink fence and a mysterious silhouette behind it.

Image courtesy of Hachette Book Group


Kristy Tucker works on death row as a prison counselor, and is content with her job as it supports her family. However, her home life is filled with a different kind of horror as she deals with her abusive husband, Lance Dobson. The inmates she works with give her an idea for the perfect crime, but she has to decide if it’s worth putting her family at risk.


3. The Cuban Affair by Nelson DeMille, Sept. 19

The cover of The Cuban Affair, which shows a red silhouette of palm trees.

Image courtesy of Amazon


When Mac is hired for a routine fishing trip in Cuba, he has a feeling there’s more to it than that, and soon finds out his clients are hunting for buried treasure. As relations between the US and Cuba are relaxing, someone is bound to dig it up soon; he just needs to be the first.


4. Fool Me Once by Catherine Bybee, Sept. 19


The cover of Fool Me Once, which shows a woman in a black dressing sitting in a white room.

Image courtesy of Fantastic Fiction


Lori Cumberland is a divorce attorney who’s given up on love. That is, until she meets Reed Barlow, an undercover private investigator who’s been hired by one of Cumberland’s angry clients.


5. Paradox Bound by Peter Clines, Sept. 26


The cover of Paradox Bound, which is of a car driving on a moebius strip.

Image courtesy of Amazon


A time traveler driving a Model-A Ford keeps bumping into Eli Teague, and he can’t wait to meet her again. But when she drives back into his life, she brings with her a sprawling adventure that puts all of Time in danger.


6. It Devours!: A Welcome to Night Vale Novel by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, Oct. 17

The cover of It Devours!, which shows an endless circle of teeth on a yellow background.

Image courtesy of Harper Collins


It Devours! follows up the bestselling novel Welcome to Nightvale, and tells the story of scientist Nilanjana Sikdar. Nilanjana must uncover the mysteries of the local cult The Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, but her plans are complicated when she catches feelings for Darryl, one of the Congregation’s devotees.


7. Artemis by Andy Weir, Nov. 14


The cover of Artemis, which shows a black and white image of the Moon.

Image courtesy of Nerdist


Author Andy Weir stranded Matt Damon on Mars with his bestselling debut, The Martian, and is following it up with Artemis. Jasmine Bashara, or Jazz, like any small town kid wants to escape into something new and exciting. The interesting thing is her small town, Artemis, is located on the moon. When she engages in smuggling, she soon finds herself in a conspiracy endangering Artemis.


Featured image courtesy of Favim