May
29th
2016

The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM me (Wanderer D), Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.

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May
28th
2016

Sorry I didn't get a chance to make the post today because I was at the hospital since I'm now a proper uncle :O

Anyway, APPLEJACK. PROGRAMMING PARALLELS.

May
27th
2016

Your home is where your heart is — and today's story is waiting for you there after the long, cold journey back.

The Old Country

[Adventure] • 18,673 words

Spike's fed up of Outer Yakyakistan, a perpetually frigid land of biting wind, blinding snow, and little else. No one actually lives here, not even the yaks themselves. Twilight's company is the only silver lining, but even she can only lift Spike's spirits in short bursts. He wants to go home to Ponyville.

But as they clamber up the final mountain in Outer Yakyakistan, the wind changes. Spike becomes sure that he's been here before. Except ... he hasn't. Not in living memory. So why does it feel like he's already home?

FROM THE CURATORS: As long-time readers of ponyfic, all of the Library's curators appreciate when a story tackles a heavily covered topic in a way that brings something truly new to the table — and that's where this fic shines.  "I've seen many 'Spike finds his origins' stories, and they tend to just slap your average fantasy dragon over the top of him," Present Perfect said. "But The Old Country keeps in mind what kind of a place Equestria is; the friend aspect of the dragon he finds thus keeps the world-building in line with the greater setting."

What's remarkable is that, while we agreed this was feature-worthy, we all loved (and disliked) very different things about the story.  "The first half is a slog, the second half does everything right," Present Perfect said, while AugieDog's praise was the reverse: "The first two chapters really set things up nicely — Spike comes across as full of 'teen angst,' and that serves the story's purposes quite well."  Chris found elements to like throughout: "The author builds crisp, vivid visuals of windswept tundra, of claustrophobic caverns, and more.  This could have just been a travelogue and I'd still have enjoyed it; the descriptions are that strong."  There, Horizon agreed: "The sense of place in this one is amazing."

Another thing we agreed on was the exemplary work put into the depiction of the story's supporting characters.  "As something of a dragon expert, I can tell you that there's something unique in Ormr's portrayal here," Horizon said.  "Everything about it, from its psychology and physiology to the little details like its lack of gendering, make it almost a force of nature at the same time as it's characterized deeply and effectively."  And Chris found something equally unique in the yaks.  "This is the first story I've read to date which uses Prince Rutherford and his yaks effectively in an otherwise serious story," Chris said.  "They're gruff, quick to violence, and as perfection-obsessed as ever, yet they never turn the larger tale into a joke."

Read on for our author interview, in which Astrarian discusses username faff, immersion-breaking actors, and the 'wow' factor of butterflies.

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May
22nd
2016

Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.

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May
21st
2016

What kind of whaaaacky adventures will Rarity find herself in this week?

May
20th
2016

Today's story lets a novel interpretation of Princess Celestia shine.

A Million Little Lights

[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 2,176 words

Tonight, Celestia will talk to Shining Armor. With just one conversation, she needs to save Equestria.

FROM THE CURATORS: The core of this story, which earned rare unanimous curator approval, is "Celestia trying by sheer force of will to stop ponies — including herself — from believing in her divinity," as AugieDog put it.  And both the vision and the execution of that idea were exemplary.  "This is a really singular 'goddess Celestia' story," Present Perfect said. "It's clear the Celestia in this story could solve the world's problems in a heartbeat, or the problems of single ponies, but if she does, they won't learn anything. Assuming she doesn't make things worse somehow, as her sorrowful monologue at the end suggests."

But while this shines as an idea story — "The idea of walking the tightrope between being a living symbol and being the object of zealotry is explored concisely, but compellingly," Chris said — its depth as a character piece won our equal acclaim.  "Celestia's a remarkable combination of alien and all-too-comprehensible," Horizon said, and AugieDog found her extremely sympathetic: "Her inner struggle is so nicely rendered — very calm, very quiet, very Celestia, but very heartfelt."

That sympathetic portrayal made this story both a moving experience and an easy choice for a feature.  "Celestia repeating her phrase like a mantra drives home just how easy it is for even a creature who can all but see the future to become trapped into a world — and a role — they can't abide," Chris said.  And its economy of storytelling was the cherry on top of the narrative sundae.  "This is a fantastic little one-two punch of a story ... it really is remarkable how vivid a picture this paints given its length," Horizon said. "Not a word feels wasted here."

Read on for our author interview, in which Aragon discusses finger guns, nightmare retardant, and boys named Texas.

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May
14th
2016

The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM me (Wanderer D), Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.

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May
14th
2016

Christmas? In May? Well, I'm in the UK so it's more likely than you think but NOT TODAY.

May
13th
2016

...Therefore, by Farnsworth's logic, we were always meant to feature today's story.

A Brief History Of Time

[Drama] [Sci-Fi] • 5,861 words

“Anything that happens, happens.

Anything that, in happening, causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.

Anything that, in happening, causes itself to happen again, happens again.

It doesn't necessarily do it in chronological order, though.”

- Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

Twilight and Minuette discuss Starlight Glimmer's timeline disruptions.

Twilight just wishes the conversation had happened in chronological order.

FROM THE CURATORS: There are two types of fanfics — those which leap from canon into the unknown and unexplored, and those which dig into the details of the show to bring new context to the moments we love — and this is an easy exemplar of the second type.  "At its heart, this is a short and simple exploration of how to reconcile the S5 finale with It's About Time's premise of stable time loops," Chris said in his nomination.  Horizon praised the nuance with which it handled that topic: "The way this squares two episodes with seemingly incompatible time-travel theories is sharp, and it's got a good eye for the multiple-timeline consequences the episode leaves unexplored.  It's nice to find writing both this smart and this clear."  AugieDog especially appreciated that clarity: "Time travel stories in general make me itchy, so anything that serves to lessen that itchiness is always welcome."

But this fic isn't content to merely bat around time-travel ideas.  "There are tons of cool little details, like the idea that Equestria would have a journal for both fiction and true accounts, or the rotation of the magical bubble," Soge said.  "It takes a premise which could easily fit a blog post, and turns it into a full fledged story thanks to some great characterization work."

It was that "terrific character writing," as AugieDog put it, that sealed the deal on the feature.  "I love it when Minuette gets serious and Twilight realizes that this isn't just a theoretical discussion they're having — and the way the story comes up with a Pony-logical solution for the problem it's addressing," AugieDog added.  Soge enjoyed the characters as well: "Minuette is adorable, Twilight is perfectly in character, and it has amazing comedic timing," he said.  And, as Chris noted, Minuette's personality served the story very well: "Her cheeky carefree-ity is used to keep what could easily have become an overly-technical bit of headcanon from being too narrow in scope or dry in tone."

Read on for our author interview, in which Doppler Effect discusses Novikov consistency, Terminator predestination, and Asimov's ambiguously real goose.

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May
8th
2016

Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


"So who are you?"

"Core. I've been here for years."

Alexmagnet (for it was he!) frowned and shook his head. "Doesn't ring a bell."

"I'm here more than you are!"

"Mmm... nope, still not seeing it."

Across the room, beyond a glass wall, Plum and Ferret watched with concerned expressions as the scene played out. Little could be said, but Plum decided to say it anyway.

"How long?"

"Days," Ferret replied. She put her paws against the glass. "It was all going so well, but now there's this whole delusion that Alex came back, and don't get me started on the flying space tree."

"It was real!" Core flailed against the glass, eyes wide. "I saw it! A man walked on the ceiling! There was a donkey in a suit! We wrote fanfic reviews together!"

"It was a dream," said Plum.

ROUND 83

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