News Archive

Jul
28th
2014

Today's story is, quite simply, poetry in motion.

RUN

[Romance] [Tragedy] [Alternate Universe] • 6,647 words

We were the summer-sunset-wind, warm and wild and untouchable.

We were rulers of a crumbled-down kingdom, prince-and-princess of the sandstone sky.

We were long-day shadows, stretching ourselves dark and blurry past our breaking points and more.

We were pulsing breath-and-blood, flowing fast through veins of buildings and wide-open spaces.

We were rebels rivals friends lovers runners...

Until that moment, that second, when it all fell away.

FROM THE CURATORS: "It’s about an adult Scootaloo and her boyfriend living a high-stakes life of parkour and not giving a f**k about anything," Present Perfect said when introducing this story to us. And while there was some disagreement on how to summarize it — "It's about two ponies who can't live lives where they're whole, and can't survive being broken," Horizon suggested — what we immediately agreed on was the gripping power of the prose.

"This piece marinates in style.  It's featurable for its narration alone," Horizon said.  Present Perfect agreed: "The words are thrown like knives, but they’re all on target and everything is just so tight.  This is the first fic I’ve read since White Box that makes good use of textual gimmickry, and the effect is wonderfully kinetic."  That gimmick — lines with single words shifting the visual direction of the text — "was very well done," JohnPerry said.  "It never felt hokey in its execution, which is a feat in and of itself."

But even beyond the surface flash, this found ways to delight us.  "It packed an emotional punch with a very minimalist style," JohnPerry said. "It takes the 'Scootaloo as cripple' idea and actually does something clever with it, and the characters are strangely engaging."  Though the Alternate Universe tag is well-deserved, that gave it the breathing room to build itself into one of the most approachably literary stories we've reviewed.  "The author needs to get off this site and go write a Pulitzer-winning novel," Present Perfect said, though we're quite grateful for the ponyfic in the meantime.

Read on for our author interview, in which Stereo_Sub discusses invisible monsters, mutual catharsis, and nocturnal productivity.

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PresentPerfect · 684 views · Edited 1d, 10h ago · Report
Jul
24th
2014

As the prophecies have foretold, a bunch of story recommendations rise up on this day, to fight the evil empire and stuff. They will lead us into a new golden age, where we shall forevermore be free from want, disease, and famine.

At least until everyone finishes reading these recommendations and The Royal Guard has to go 'round looking for more.

UNTIL THEN, though, there will be stories for you to read. Many stories.

But before those, here're some links for you:

-The Royal Guard Group

-Submit Your Story!

-The Royal Guard's Reviewing Omnibus

-Join The Guard!

AND NOW FOR STORIES!

This Week:

Slice of Life

Festival of Lights, by Cascadejackal

The Wrong Side of Tomorrow, by Pascoite

Time Enough for Sisters (Five Rarities, One Sweetie Belle), by sparks2037

Comedy

The Awfully Repetitive Vengeance of Ahuizotl the Terrible-ish, by thesecret1

Sad

The Good You Might Do, by Pascoite

The Dull Afterglow, by ThatOneWriter

Dear Mom, by Thak

Dark

The Ultimate Alicorn, by Cerulean Voice

Eclipsed, by InquisitorM

Romance

Maud Pie Falls in Love with the Narrator, by Flint Sparks



SLICE OF LIFE



Festival of Lights, by Cascadejackal

Once, every decade, the changeling race prepares for their most sacred of days. It is a celebration of life, of the past, of the bond between all Queens, past and present, and their subjects. It is a time of joy, when all changelings return from the world beyond Flutter Valley to be with their families.

But one filly looks forward to it more than most. For Chrysalis, future Queen of the Changelings, this is her first Festival of Lights and her first step on the road to becoming Queen.

Will I like this? It's a brilliant little world-building piece with enough heart to feed a hungry changeling hive. "Festival of Lights" is a story you'll be glad to have read. —R5h


The Wrong Side of Tomorrow, by Pascoite

Scootaloo only wants to spend her birthday with her idol. Rainbow Dash would normally love to accommodate her, but… she doesn't want to talk about it. So nopony'd better ask.

Will I like this? A heartbreaking story featuring a very well characterized Rainbow Dash. It gives a good look into her relationship with Scootaloo, and is rare in that the tragedy doesn't come from some massive problem that's going to end their relationship tomorrow, but rather something simpler. Very well done. —BronyWriter


Time Enough for Sisters (Five Rarities, One Sweetie Belle), by sparks2037

Fashion shifts fast-forward for Rarity one fateful summer day.   It's the day that her four future selves, each carrying a magical time amulet, show up in her studio!  But will her destiny, her sister Sweetie Belle’s destiny – and the future for all Equestria for that matter - be irrevocably changed by what they tell her?

Will I like this? Time Enough for Sisters is a story that handles the often difficult task of creating a time-travel story and frames it in such an elegant way that, despite never leaving the same room during the majority of the tale, we as readers are more than enthralled by the story's pacing and plot. The characters are well delivered, and the overall tone shifts from the average to the unexpected. —Garnot



COMEDY



The Awfully Repetitive Vengeance of Ahuizotl the Terrible-ish, by thesecret1

Daring Do, savior of the Tenochtitlan Valley time and time again, discovers a book. And not just any book.

What would you do if the diary of your arch nemesis was suddenly in front of you?

Will I like this? With its tight pacing and easy readability, this charming exploration of the roots of the antagonistic relationship between Daring Do and Ahuizotl is sure to please anyone looking for either a fun romp or a bit of extra depth for those characters. —Prak



SAD



The Good You Might Do, by Pascoite

Twilight Sparkle enjoys her friends' visits. They only want to help, after all. But when the line between dream and reality blurs, she must decide whom to believe, the ones she's known for so long, or the one she mistrusts the most.

Will I like this? The Good You Might Do takes you on a psychological ride that manages to both sadden and grip you. An excellent story for those who are looking for a little bit of melancholy. —NightWolf289


The Dull Afterglow, by ThatOneWriter

Alone in bed one morning, Octavia is left to think about her life. She has given up a lot for Vinyl, but is it really worth it? Just how much is her relationship worth to her? Is she even able to walk away?

Every choice has a cost, as Octavia will soon learn.

Will I like this? An engaging internal conflict piece that shows just how difficult it can be to break a routine—even a destructive one. —GaryOak


Dear Mom, by Thak

Life has been hard for Scootaloo.

But with her best friends can she overcome her struggles and find a way to go on?

Will I like this? Scootaloo writes a series of letters to her mother. Adorableness ensues. For anyone who feels they need more Scootalove in their lives, look no further; there are some great feels ahead. —GaryOak



DARK



The Ultimate Alicorn, by Cerulean Voice

Twilight Sparkle has obtained the combined power of all four princesses of Equestria. Wielding this power, she confronts Lord Tirek, but the result of their fight is a tie. When he holds her friends hostage, she is forced to make a difficult choice.

All is not lost, however. One force remains in Equestria that could give her the edge she needs to defeat her foe, save her friends, and restore the world. She need only retrieve it from Zecora and place it around her neck...

Will I like this? With its high stakes, compelling characterization, and dire consequences, this alternate take on the climactic events of the season four finale will appeal to fans of dark fare. —Prak


Eclipsed, by InquisitorM

When darkness and despair comes to claim you, it doesn't matter what you fight for, so long as you fight for something that matters.

Will I like this? War is hell, but this story is poetry. The unnamed protagonist in battle, an uncomfortably parallel to reality, masterfully paints a picture in such a short amount of time. It is, indeed, poetry.—Flint Sparks



ROMANCE



Maud Pie Falls in Love with the Narrator, by Flint Sparks

Maud isn't like other earth ponies. She's special, like her sister.

She can hear a voice, a voice from another world. At first it torments her, then comforts her, then befriends her. Naturally, Maud does the rational thing: she falls in love.

But will it last?

Will I like this? A "character interacts with the narrator" story done right, something very unusual. The comedy comes from just how absurd the whole thing is. It's definitely worth a look, if for no other reason than to see how bizarre it is. —BronyWriter

Obselescence · 1,700 views · Report
Jul
22nd
2014

Today's story is a stirring, inspirational tale about courage in the face of the unknown … or, more accurately, the complete lack thereof.

Twilight, There's A Ghost In Your Basement

[Comedy] • 8,636 words

Twilight firmly believes that ghosts belong in the realm of fantasy. But after multiple brushes with the supernatural in her home, she turns to the one pony who can help. Now Fluttershy, Twilight and Spike must banish the spirit before it starts flinging her pans and clogging the toilets.

FROM THE CURATORS: "I spent my lunch break today desperately trying not to break out into laughter as I read this story," Chris said with the vote that earned this story its feature. "Kitsune's got a way with deliciously ridiculous metaphors which puts a neat little bow on the jokes proper."  The rest of us agreed.  "It's certainly funny," Present Perfect said, "a remarkable example of wordplay."

It also shone in its thoughtful presentation of the characters. "My goodness, Twilight and Spike had the perfect, funny but real brother-sister dynamic going the whole way through," Chris said.  Horizon appreciated that more broadly: "There are some magnificent character moments for Twilight that come out of nowhere and leave an impact regardless. … Digging into characters' heads in a comedy takes some tonal juggling, but it keeps all the balls in the air."

Our disagreement over this fic centered, of all things, on ladybugs.  "The scene with the ladybug tiptoes over the line from funny into simply bizarre, but it's that same straight-faced presentation of the absurd that led to some of the moments I found most hysterical," Horizon said. Chris countered: "By the ladybug's fourth or fifth mention, the sheer contrast it made to the events proper (and the fic's dogged insistence on including it) had me nearly in stitches."  And Present Perfect offered a laconic dissent: "What."

Read on for our author interview, in which KitsuneRisu discusses Twist, pie, mud, and the unholy fusion of two creatures that should never have seen the light of day.

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PresentPerfect · 1,058 views · Report
Jul
20th
2014

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


Alex sat a rickety folding table in the Seattle’s Angels secret subterranean volcano lair with a bowl of cereal in front of him. Scooping out a spoonful of Trix, he stared at the soggy pieces for a second and then blinked a few times. “Hey,” he said, looking over to Burraku_Pansa who was sitting on the moldy couch, “wanna do an all-Trixie review round?”

BP paused for a moment, then folded the newspaper he was reading in half. Peering over the fold, he shrugged. “Whatever.”

Alex nodded, popping the spoonful of cereal into his mouth. “Cool.”

ROUND 48


STORY 1

The Showmare’s Tale, by Chris

As Trixie finds herself performing for her smallest audience yet, questions abound. Can her ego take the strain? Are the old stories still worth telling? And just how did Prince Blueblood get his title, anyway?


Burraku_Pansa:

Those of you who are aware of Chris probably aren’t surprised to see something of his appearing here again, though it’s been… 42 rounds since the last thing, wow.

To start off, it’s worth mentioning that this story is an older one—over two and a half years old at this point—so there’s a few things about it that feel a bit outdated. The big one is that the main character apart from Trixie is a white-coated, pink-maned mare named “Sunny Days”, and if a thing like that doesn’t date your fic, then there aren’t a ton of things that do. So, yeah, I’m not sure whether the reveal of who this mare is was supposed to be a surprise or not, but either way, two years of hindsight made it feel a bit cliché, though that’s not really the fault of the story or its author.

Moving past that, I have this to say: I love origin stories. I love their grandiose air, I love their godly figures, and I love their weird dramatic logic. In The Showmare’s Tale, the titular tale that Trixie tells to Sunny Days has all of these excellent things and more, but more than the tale itself, I love the way that Trixie tells it. When someone in real life tells you a story, it isn’t often a one-way process—you can cut in, ask questions, express disbelief or wonder, or anything else. That interactive nature is rarely included in stories-within-stories, and we often just wind up with the reactions the listener has before and after the story, but nowhere in between. That’s understandable, in a way, since those sort of stories are often more about the inner story than the framing one, but here in The Showmare’s Tale, it feels as though equal weight is given to each—Sunny is able to ask for extra info and Trixie is free to add notes about how she’d normally perform the story in front of an audience, and so on. If I sound like I’m going on about this one facet a lot, it’s because it really struck me. Chris used it to great effect to craft a piece that bounced between the present time and an origin story in a really living, breathing sort of way.

As far as issues go, I found myself getting caught up on dialogue tag punctuation errors an awful lot, though apart from that, there wasn’t a too much to complain about. This story easily makes up for its flaws and its slightly clichéd points. If you’re down with Slice of Life stories, you’ll probably like it, and if you’re not, I apologize for how many of them there are this round.

alexmagnet:

Trixie fixed her eyes on the white pony.  “Do you wish to hear Trixie’s story or not?”

As a grown man who enjoys reading stories about colorful horses talking to each other and generally being dicks for my amusement, it’s frankly not often that I come across a story which so wholly embraces the art of storytelling. The Showmare’s Tale isn’t just a story, but it’s a story about a story, and both the framing story, and the story within that story are excellent, despite some of the framing story’s weaker aspects.

[Insert your own tired Inception joke here]

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Hey, y’know what I’d like to read more of? Stories about Trixie actually doing the thing she’s supposed to do, that being telling stories,” then this fic is for you. Also, why would you think that? There’s like a thousand stories that do that. That being said, you know what those 999 other stories don’t have? Excellent characterization, a compelling, classic-style fairy tale, and an ending so heartwarming you’ll have to start taking Bayer’s aspirin.

What Chris has managed to do with this story is commendable for many reasons, but for me, the one thing I really want to get across in this review here is that this story has a lot of subtlety to it. There’s lots of little things that happen that, in and of themselves aren’t particularly important, but they add to the overall character of the story. This is a fic which continues to build on itself as it goes, and it does it quite well. I won’t spoil who it is that Trixie tells the story to, but it should be fairly obvious to anyone reading, given that there are many hints dropped along the way, and one huge one that, unless you’re familiar with fanon, might pass over your head. But anyway, at the risk of simply repeating what BP said, I just want to reiterate something that this fic does very well. Trixie tells the story extremely well, and it’s compelling in its own right, but the interjections from listener really add to the overall feel of it. It makes it seem like she’s really sitting there telling a story, and the questions asked of her are ones I was asking myself, so it made the breaks in narration feel natural and smooth. Everything flowed perfectly from one scene to the next.

If I have any complaints, and since I’m me I do, it’s that while the framing story’s ending was very well done, the fairy tale’s ending was… lackluster. Don’t get me wrong, I liked it well enough, but it sort of sets itself up as this grandiose tale of betrayal and thievery, and then it just kinda ends. Minor complaint since the whole thing still works very well, and there’s a good amount of symbolism and subtlety going on, but I would’ve perhaps liked a more solid conclusion. Anyway, this story is pretty short, and if you have any love for the art of oral storytelling, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this fic, and it’s by Chris besides, so you know it’s at least going to be pretty good.

STORY 2

An Extended Performance, by Jordan179

The Great and Powerful Trixie is unhappy when her Summer Sun Festival night gig in Manehattan turns out to be a show at an open-air neighborhood festival in a seedy Lower East Side park.  When the Sun refuses to rise on schedule, Trixie finds herself giving the greatest performance of her life to an increasingly-terrified crowd.  But darker forces are moving events to an inescapable confrontation.


Burraku_Pansa:

I’ll begin by saying that Jordan179’s An Extended Performance is a sequel/side story to a piece that I’ve not read, and the author’s notes tell me that it borrows a bit from one or more other universes. It didn’t seem to impact my experience, though it seemed like I simply had to accept that the world of this fic is just a tad darker than canon—I was readily able to do so, but perhaps the same might not be true for everyone. Let’s get into it.

This story needs an editor, and there’s no two ways about it. Jordan179 has done awful, sick things to hyphens that I didn’t even think possible, in my tender innocence. If you can’t tell from the fact that I always devote at least a small segment of my SA reviews to mechanical issues, then let me make it clear that they matter a great deal to me, and in force, can easily ruin my impressions of a story. I hope that makes my meaning abundantly clear when I say that I thought this fic was excellent anyway, despite the fact that it might be just about the most poorly edited fic I’ve yet recommended on here.

While there is no reason at all for the author not to grab an editor and go through this, An Extended Performance still speaks very well to the author’s storytelling talent. The world-building was excellently done, and while there were points I feared I might have been being given static, pointless dumps of exposition that wouldn’t factor into the story, the fic was always quick to pull back and relate it fluidly to the present time. If I have a complaint regarding the storytelling, it’s that there might’ve been a few too many points where the narrator told me how a character would feel and/or what would happen in the future, rather than just showing me when it came to pass.

Apart from that, it was an intriguing piece. The characterization was wonderful—perhaps not always for the OCs, but certainly for the main perspective characters of Trixie and Celestia. The story had this interesting sort of feature in that the third-person limited narration would exposit about a character’s past and current feelings the same way we move between our thoughts, in this sort of unbroken chain that only makes sense as a sequence when we see all of the pieces. That, I liked, as well as the way that the tone and subject matter changed almost completely between the thoughts of the different perspective characters. Since this is a piece that retells a moment from canon—the first episodes—the value of the alternate perspective on events is important, and it’s also another thing that this story does well.

I’ve spoken enough about it, I think. Bottom line: there are flaws here, to the point that they do detract from the story, but even still, it deserves your attention. I hope you enjoy it.

alexmagnet:

Always leave them wanting more.

It’s with a bit of trepidation that I use that pull quote above. You see, An Extended Performance, as BP has said, has many issues, and they do detract from the story somewhat, but the thing I can say with great certainty is that it left me wanting more. But more of what, exactly?

If you could drink this fic, I’d probably taste like Tolkien mixed with Lovecraft.

There are a lot of things to like about Jordan179’s fic, and maybe some about Jordan180’s, but the main thing, I think, is that Trixie’s characterization is excellent. She’s arrogant, haughty, completely full of herself, and yet still likeable in a Han Solo sort of way. She may be rude, and somewhat homicidal, but she’s charming, great at what she does, and has no small amount of flair. Flair is something that I’ve always been attracted to, and it’s perhaps why I like Trixie so much as a character, and this fic has absolutely no shortage of that. Much like previous fic, this is a story about storytelling, though this one, admittedly, has a lot more going on in it than A Showmare’s Tale did.

However, beyond the characterization, there are some problems I have with An Extended Performance. For all that I liked about it, there were quite a few things that rubbed me the wrong way. The world is far darker and more cruel than happy-go-lucky world we’re used to, and a lot of the character actions, specifically Celestia’s, feel too large for a story like this, but I understand it all the same. See, this isn’t so much a story about Trixie, as it is a story with Trixie in the background. She’s not a character who things happen to (except at the end), and she’s not exactly a character who does things to other ponies, but things happen around her, things out of her control. This is a story about Nightmare Moon’s return, and while I could’ve done without the overly melancholy tone, and the somber nature of the story, I like the idea of Trixie being one normal mare who has no way of taking place in any of the major events of the world, but still finds a way to be her own small center of attention.

As I said, there are some things about this that I didn’t like, in fact almost everything that wasn’t directly about Trixie I didn’t like, but I dislike it for reasons that are wholly my own. Beyond some annoying technical errors and the like, this is a story that I think will have a lot of appeal to people who aren’t me. If you like darker stories, or darker characters, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this immensely. It does all that very well, I just didn’t care for it. What I did care for, however, is the fantastic world-building. The way Jordan179 goes about expounding upon Manehattan’s history is fascinating, and it makes me wish the story were more about Trixie and Manehattan, than Nightmare Moon’s return. But, alas, that is not the case.

So, I said at the beginning that this fic left me wanting more, right? What I wanted more of was Trixie. Despite nominally being the main character, she has not as much screen time as I would’ve liked, and her story feels somewhat insignificant in the face of much larger events unfolding around her. I think I would’ve much preferred a story where the focus never shifts from Trixie, and we’re only given hints at the larger story happening around her. To me that would’ve made her a much more compelling hero. But anyway, for what it is, An Extended Performance is an undeniably excellent story, and there is much to like and appreciate about it. It’s one of the few multi-chapter fics we’ve reviewed that’s complete, and it’s absolutely worth your time.


STORY 3

Trixie’s Clubouse, by Bootsy Slickmane

It's been a long time since Trixie last came to Ponyville, even longer since she did a show there. Yet here she is, back again, and this time appealing to a new, younger audience. But, as she feared, her past once again comes back to haunt her, this time in the form of an alicorn princess.


Burraku_Pansa:

I know I’ve likely said it before, but if there’s one thing I love to see, it’s strong characterization. It bothers me slightly that it seems Slice of Life is where I have to turn if I want the best odds of finding it—the bother coming from the fact that, if nothing else, SA rounds that include me tend to be saturated with them—but I suppose that’s just the price I pay.

So, strong characterization. Bootsy Slickmane’s Trixie’s Clubhouse is inundated with it, for so short a piece. The principal characters are Trixie and Twilight, and the former is deliciously proud and bitter while the latter is perfectly understanding-to-a-point. They fit their show counterparts to a tee, even in the sort of casual situation in which this story places them, which the show has no precedent for. The emotion present here is quite powerful for the space it takes to develop it—perhaps a touch too powerful and overt in the final lines for my tastes, I suppose, but still excellent overall.

On top of those points, I’m happy to say that either Trixie’s Clubhouse is perfectly edited, or I was simply too immersed in it to notice any flaws. A very short piece with no real barriers to enjoyment here, so give it a look.

alexmagnet:

"Hey everypony, where do you wanna go?"

The crowd cried out in unison, "Trixie's Clubhouse!"

There are a lot of things in this world that I want to see. I’d like to see Joan of Arc’s boobs. I’d like to see the edge of the universe, and I’d definitely like to see an animated movie starring Trixie fighting side-by-side with Twilight against hordes of robo-dragons, but Trixie’s Clubhouse is none of those things… it’s even better. This is a fic about Trixie running the pony equivalent of a Chuck E. Cheese (or Showbiz Pizza if you’re one of those people), and it’s a fic about dealing with regret, much like the regret you’d have from going to a Chuck E. Cheese.

Look, I don’t think I need to go into detail about where that bear’s eyes are pointing.

At the risk of introducing bias into this set of reviews about nothing but Trixie fics written by two dudes who love Trixie, I’ll just say that Trixie’s Clubhouse is far and away my favorite of the bunch. That’s not to say the others aren’t good, because they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t, but there’s no denying that good ol’ Bootsy Slickmane is coming out on top of this Trixiepile.

A common theme among this set of fics this time is excellent characterization (which I suppose should be expected), and Trixie’s Clubhouse is no exception. How she’s portrayed in this, to me, is the most accurate and believable characterization. Trixie runs what basically amounts to a daycare where she performs magic tricks for children. She says she’s “world famous” and her name is on the lips of every foal in Equestria… but so what? It feels like Trixie has everything she ever wanted. She’s got fame, fortune, and even her own show running seven days a week, and yet she’s still unhappy with it all. She almost seems to despise the foals she entertains, and she certainly doesn’t seem to derive any happiness from it, despite what she says about it. Because really, what does fame matter when the ponies you’re famous to will forget you the second their baby teeth start falling out? What kind of fame can you really have among children? It’s these kinds of questions that, while never specifically addressed in the fic, are ones that I’m sure Trixie would be asking herself in that situation.

Anyway, the fic starts off strong with some good backstory on why Trixie is where she is now, and it says a lot about Bootsy Slickmane that you can get a really good feel for her character within just a few paragraphs. But this fic really gets going when Twilight shows up, and that is most definitely where it shines the brightest. When Twilight appears, volunteering herself for the show, it brings back a lot of bad memories for Trixie, and forces her to remember a time when she wasn’t the mare she is now. To her, Twilight is a representation of her weakness, her inability to connect, and seeing Twilight again hurts her.

I don’t want to give too much away about what happens, but I will say that despite my affinity for Twixie shipping, I think this story does a really good job of telling what might happen if Twilight and Trixie ever met up again (note: this is pre-Magic Duel). Bootsy Slickmane has something written on his author bio, “Fair warning: I like sucker punches” and he certainly accomplishes that here. The ending of Trixie’s Clubhouse is at once heartwarming and heartbreaking, but above all else it is worth reading.


STORY 4

0G Network Coverage, by Estee

Are you a pony who travels?  

Do you need to communicate on the go?  

And do you totally lack any and all dragons in your life?  

Then you need -- Slate!  

Everypony does!  

Unless they can think.

Which just might leave Trixie out.


Burraku_Pansa:

If there’s one thing I love to see—and if I’m not talking about any of the numerous other one things I love to see—it’s an experimental format being used well. 0G Network Coverage is a story of pure dialogue, which is something I’ve puzzled over how to do properly myself, in the past. Estee’s answer to the issue is so natural that I’m ashamed I didn’t think of it: radio. 0G reads exactly like an infomercial you might hear on a radio, if such a thing actually exists.

And it’s just that, really—a lengthy commercial instead of an actual story. There are but two characters: the enthusiastic but vaguely shady salesman who may or may not be either Flim or Flam, and the random passerby in the form of Trixie. There is no plot but for a sales pitch, almost no action but for discussion, no description but for what comes across in dialogue. And it works, in its own silly way. There isn’t very much substance here, as a result, but it’s a good, light read.

Naturally, there are some unavoidable issues that come along with the format. The largest is probably that anything needing a visual description requires that description to be somewhat awkwardly vocalized by the characters. From one perspective, this adds a bit of a nostalgic feel to the piece, because that’s exactly the sort of thing you’d hear in a scripted radio program—characters describing what they’re doing or what’s around them because that’s the only option. From another perspective, though, the story as it’s presented can’t use that as a leg to stand on because, as far as I can tell, this encounter between the salesperson and Trixie is not scripted, so the descriptions are awkward all on their own simply to fit the format. But that was just a niggling issue, really, and the story was quite decently edited besides, so there’s little to complain about here. A worthy, fun little read.

alexmagnet:

”How do you take back a mistake?"

"Oh, there's no mistakes..."

"You see that 'demonstrafing' over there?"

"Everypony knows that just means a very high-speed demonstration!”

Now this, this is what I love. Among other things, 0G is a parody fic, and a pretty funny one at that. As should be made obvious by the title, this is really a parody of cellphone companies, but really it could be taken to be a parody of really any sales rep for any product. Having just recently spent several hours myself dealing with a Verizon sales rep while trying to set up my phone (among other things) I can certainly sympathize. My only issue here is that this is almost the only thing really going on here…

At least I only have to deal with Verizon and not Comcast or Time Warner…

See, I say almost because it’s not just a parody fic, but it’s also an interesting experiment. It’s a story told entirely through dialogue, and it actually manages that really well. It’s admirable how easily Estee is able to paint a picture with just two ponies talking. I can picture the cheery grin on the salespony’s face perfectly, and I can see Trixie’s increasingly-annoyed face every time she has to ask another stupid question so she can get another stupid answer.

Unlike the other fics this round, Trixie feels… not out of character, per se, but perhaps a bit less like what I normally see her as, and I’m absolutely okay with that. Trixie still feels like Trixie, but maybe a somewhat watered down Trixie. She doesn’t refer to herself in third person (she didn’t always in the show either, just when she was on stage or in her stage persona), and she’s not particularly arrogant, though she is rather short-tempered. If there’s one thing I really admire about Trixie, and it would be easy to name a dozen or so other things, is that she doesn’t suffer fools. She may be a fool herself, but she at least knows how to deal with those as or more foolish than her.

All in all, while the payoff at the end of the fic may have been a bit lackluster, and I could’ve used a bit more comedy and snarkiness from Trixie, this was definitely an entertaining and short read. If you’ve ever had the displeasure of dealing with a pushy salesperson, then you’ll probably relate rather well to this, and get a kick out of it as well. The only reason I can think of to not read this would be if you’re a heartless soul-sucking monster. But other than that...


Maniacal laughter filled the room, causing Alex and BP to, well not jump, but sort of vaguely look around to see what caused the noise.

“Huh,” said Alex, scratching his ear. “Wonder what that was?”

BP shrugged. “Probably that ghost that’s been hanging around.”

“Oh, right.”

“You fools!” came a sudden voice from somewhere. It was a girl’s voice, that much was sure, and it sounded haughty and arrogant, almost like it was so obvious who it was that there would be no point in playing coy about it. Suddenly, a door slid open near the back of the kitchen and a smirking pony jumped out, pointing her hoof at the two. “You fell right into Trixie’s trap!”

“Eh?” said Alex, raising an eyebrow, but not getting up from his seat, or even really acting that surprised.

Trixie laughed like a maniacal maniac, saying, “How could you be so foolish!? It’s so obvious, isn’t it? Trixie can’t believe you fell for such a basic trick.”

BP frowned, setting the newspaper aside. “Trixie, ignoring the fact that it’s completely illogical for you to be here… why are you here?”

Standing up on her hind legs, Trixie held out her forelegs like she was going to call down lighting onto the soles of her hooves. “Because Trixie tricked you into spreading Trixie’s greatness through your stupid organization! Muhahahahaha!”

“What are you going on about?” asked Alex.

Trixie smirked, pointed to the bowl Alex was eating from, and then the coffee cup near BP. “Trixie laced your food and drink with a serum that would force you to do her bidding, and it worked!”

“Oh,” said Alex, nodding sagely. “I was wondering why I felt suddenly compelled to write about Trixie. I thought it was just the cereal. Makes sense.”

Frowning, Trixie slumped back to the ground. “Aren’t… aren’t you upset? I tricked you into doing this. Shouldn’t you be mad at me?”

“Nah,” said Alex, waving his hand dismissively. “We probably would’ve done it anyway, right, BP?”

BP nodded. “Yeah, probably.”

“This isn’t how it was supposed to go!” shouted Trixie, taking off her hat and tossing it to the ground. “You’re supposed to do what I command!”

Alex started, “But we—”

“You’re not supposed to like it!” cried Trixie in frustration.

Silence filled the room, reverberating off the walls silently, like a silent ghost… in silence. After what felt like it should’ve been an awkward couple of minutes, Alex held out his cereal bowl. “You want some?”

Trixie made a pouting face. “No.”

Alex shrugged. “Suit yourself. It’s probably better anyway. I don’t think you’re supposed to give a horse sweets… or was that just dogs?” He glanced over at his friend. “Hey, BP, was it just dogs, or was it horses too?”

BP took a sip from his coffee and then set it back down. “Dunno.”

Falling back on her haunches, Trixie crossed her forelegs and seethed. “This sucks.”


Feel free to visit our group for more information and events, and to offer some recommendations for future rounds. See you all next time!

Alexstrazsa · 1,283 views · Report
Jul
18th
2014

Today's story: Eighty-eight paragraphs.  Two sisters.  One poignant examination of love and loss.

Statistics

[Sad] • 1,042 words

Sometimes, all we need are a few stats to shed some light on a subject.

FROM THE CURATORS: Our shortest feature yet — which barely clears FIMFiction's thousand-word minimum — illustrates that what makes a piece of fanfiction exemplary is being exactly as long as it needs to be to tell its story effectively.  "Statistics packs a lot of punch for something so small," Bradel said. "I read this back when I'd just joined the site … I started skimming it to refresh myself, and even that got me teary-eyed."

Stories that draw emotional depth from the relationship between Celestia and Luna are common, but we all appreciated the novel twist this brought to the genre. "This uses an original device to good effect, and that is exactly the sort of thing I love for us to feature," Chris said.  Present Perfect agreed: "For all this looks like an accountant's ledger, it was rife with emotion and ultimately accomplished what it set out to do."

And what it accomplished was to imbue those numbers with gravitas — a remarkable feat, considering that the story contains nothing but the titular statistics.  "The typical abstraction of large-numbers math is that 'one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic'," Horizon added.  "This is worth reading simply for its inversion of that."

Read on for our author interview, in which xTSGx discusses moral debates, lion mercenaries, and the Great Hnnnng War of 2012.

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PresentPerfect · 1,119 views · Report
Jul
16th
2014

To save spamming more site posts I thought I'd wrap these up together.

Using my amazing last minute planning skills (because I'm an idiot and should have decided on this ages ago) I'll be going to Galacon this year. So, say hi if you see me or something. I'll most likely be wearing my fimfic shirt as usual.

Also I'll be doing BUCK again this year in Manchester, and I'll be hosting a panel with Blueshift so make sure you come along if you can and say hi

knighty · 5,281 views · Edited 1w, 6d ago · Report
Jul
14th
2014

Times change.  Friends change.  But there are some things, as today's heartwarming story reminds us, that remain constant.

The Firework Lotus

[Slice-of-Life] • 16,670 words

The Firework Lotus Celebration, a grand festival which celebrates the dawn of a new year, is a tradition held near and dear to Spike's heart. But when the winds of change threaten to take this special time away from him, Spike is forced to make a difficult decision. Which is more important: what he knows to be right, or what he feels to be right?

And as Spike soon discovers, it's a choice best made with the help of some friends.

FROM THE CURATORS: It's difficult to summarize what it is that gives this story its raw emotional power, as Chris discovered when nominating it: "The only notes I ended up leaving myself on the story were 'wow,' 'super-sweet,' 'perfect Spike moment,' another 'wow,' and 'important theme,'" he said.  But he gave it a second shot: "It's the kind of sweet but memorable story which sticks with you.  It's got wonderful, powerful moments scattered throughout, it deals seriously but hopefully with the need for change, and is just generally beautiful."

The exemplary writing of the story is easy to see from the first scenes, where it follows Twilight, Spike, and the friends and family surrounding them through many years of holidays.  "A shining example of why 'show, don't tell' is such common advice; this is exquisite, exquisite showing, simply playing off the contrasts as the whirlwind of history sweeps around the calm eye of the event itself," Horizon said.

And even after it unfolds those years and spends most of its length discussing a single, pivotal celebration — with some strange but memorable digressions into the routines put on by the supporting cast — it closes strong with some important and affirming lessons that feel exquisitely and laudably pony. "I love it when stories make me applaud for them," Present Perfect said.

Read on for our author interview, in which ArgonMatrix discusses Equestrian innocence, authorial road trips, and universal protagonism.

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PresentPerfect · 877 views · Edited 2w, 1d ago · Report
Jul
14th
2014

Welcome once more to an informative site-rule blog!

It is my pleasure, as a member of staff, to remind you all about the basic rights that you, as a fimfic user, possess when it comes to blogging.

Have you ever seen one of those blogs that simply make you want to go in and punch the author repeatedly until the blog is gone by the indirect power of your fists on their face?

(Every punch blurred the lines of what was appropriate and not)

The fact is that people like that exist all over the world.

Fimfic is a place populated by authors and commentators, critics and readers, and all of them have opinions to share.

And so, in his mighty wisdom, knighty saw fit that we are all provided with blogs to do so.

These blogs are governed by three rules, and those are the rules we mods will respect and act on when we deal with blogs.

The three rules are as follows:

1) Do NOT post any illegal content in your blogs.

2) You shall not post NSFW pictures and content in your blogs.

and

3) There shall be no personal attacks on other users in your blog.

That is to say, you can criticize someone’s work or stories, since you’re sharing an opinion on their work but it’s not okay to write a blog where you directly insult the author and/or direct your followers to go attack them or incite them into some sort of confrontation.

Maybe you find a blog by some total moron, containing sociopathic and worryingly stupid ideas which he felt needed to be shared with the internet. Perhaps this person is, in your opinion, a complete douchebag, barely deserving to breathe the same air, much less share their decidedly abrasive and ill-conceived interpretation of the words of higher beings.

Just as you have the right to comment and disagree, this bigot person, has the right to post his ideas and with the exception of the rules above, we won’t take action against sharing an opinion, as stupid as it might be to anyone else, with your followers.

It doesn’t mean we approve.

It doesn’t mean we agree.

It just means that you’re free to dig your own tomb over here in fimfic.

If you write such a blog, expect a negative reaction, and don't come whining when people crunch you to pieces in the comments.

As users, however, you shouldn’t feel the need to report these blogs, as offensive as they are, since they are basically contained to those few that have the misfortune of following the individual that wrote said blog or somehow found their way into the cesspool of the bloggers writing.

Yes, the content might be extremely offensive to your personal views, but we mods are not here to control what people think or want to share as long as it's within the site rules. That's what comments are for.

So no reporting people for blogging their bigotry opinions, alrighty?

Unless they break the rules above, in which case I will take great pleasure in administering the appropriate response to the user.

All aside, if you have shitty views Alex is going to be waiting under your bed.

Note: The comments sections are a completely different arena and harassment, being a dick, and all those other site rules people like to ignore, will be enforced regardless of how much the blogger needs to be slapped in an infinite loop of pain.

Wanderer D · 4,932 views · Edited 2w, 1d ago · Report
Jul
12th
2014

Hey folks! I'm writing to you today because I was approached by one of our own, Afalstein, who is attempting to conduct a little research project about fanfic authors. He's gotten feedback from a few other places, but who better than FIMFiction to show them how it's done? If you'd like to help out, click here to take the survey; it's anonymous* and should only take you a few minutes. After you fill it out you can immediately see the raw data, and a little while down the road Afalstein will be compiling a report analyzing the data in a followup.

Thanks for playing, and have a nice day!

*The first question gives you the option of entering your username; if you do, this will only be used to credit you as a participant. It will not be included in the raw data, so you can't be ID'd.

RBDash47 · 2,532 views · Report
Jul
10th
2014

Are you starting to feel restless?  Do you need more from your ponies than the typical tales you see repeated in the show?  As the protagonist of today's story will tell you, you're not alone.

Games

[Slice-of-Life] • 13,391 words

Twilight asks Discord for a game of chess. Discord agrees - in order to make a point.

And in order to ask Twilight to complete one simple task.

FROM THE CURATORS: This story starts with an idea that's oddly rare in the fandom — Discord is an embarrassingly intelligent being who has no inherent stake in chaos, he's merely driven to extremes by boredom — and then it ups the stakes by taking that idea to a logical extreme, deconstructing his defeats and posing Twilight the challenge that drives the remainder of the story.  "This is a marvelous take on Discord, up there with Diary of a Pliant Tyrant. I would go so far as to call him sympathetic," Present Perfect said.

But it earned its feature for more than its excellent Discord character study.  "The series of encounters with the Mane Six feels remarkably authentic," Horizon said.  Chris added, "There was a logical reason for him to visit each of them in turn, and none of their appearances felt gratuitous.  Also, I liked how short those chapters were — I didn't need more than a taste of each."

And the story sealed the deal by closing strong.  "My biggest worry in the opening chapters was that the author was going to hit me with something expectedly unexpected and I wasn't going to be able to buy that a real, workable solution had been found," Bradel said. "But the ending was a solid payoff for the setup … and the author nicely foreshadowed it."  Horizon agreed: "The ample foreshadowing all points in one direction, but the delightful epilogue turns it from obvious to clever."

Read on for our author interview, in which CCC discusses subtle surprises, earned endings, and Earth's Equestria.

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PresentPerfect · 1,108 views · Report