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  • E Dinky's First Kill

    Like every little filly, Dinky loves everypony and everything... except spiders.
    3,649 words · 6,161 views  ·  538  ·  6
  • E Dance 'Til We're High

    Twilight looks for love at the Winter's Eve Ball. What she finds is like nothing she expected.
    12,494 words · 11,359 views  ·  778  ·  20
  • E Whisk

    A colt and his fathers move to Ponyville to start a new life.
    13,364 words · 1,912 views  ·  113  ·  1
  • T Epic Unicorn History: The Beards of Harmony

    Barely three years old, the fledgling nation of Equestria is threatened by chaos foretold in a dream. It's up to Star Swirl and five erstwhile, beardy stallions to brave the Forest Ever Free in search of their only salvation.
    30,755 words · 2,191 views  ·  228  ·  5
  • E A Lovely Apology

    Spitfire decides to make up for an embarrassing mistake by inviting Filthy Rich out for a night on the town.
    6,802 words · 1,819 views  ·  136  ·  2
  • E The Sun Shines Brightest at Night

    Nightmare Moon's defeat meant more to Equestria than just the return of the sun and their Princess. Witness the conclusion of a story one thousand years in the making, through the eyes of a Hoofington nurse.
    6,108 words · 932 views  ·  90  ·  1
  • T Laugh, Laugh

    Though she admired him, Pinkie Pie was never close to Ponyacci. She wasn't expecting him to call her to visit. She really wasn't expecting to find him like this...
    1,122 words · 655 views  ·  111  ·  2
  • E Treehouse

    She stumbles into the Whitetail Woods one last time, to finish what she'd started so many years before...
    1,988 words · 1,252 views  ·  102  ·  2

Blog Posts635

  • Today
    The Loneliest Laundromat followup blog!

    13 comments · 70 views
  • Thursday
    Fic recs, October 23rd!

    Did you know I follow 26 people who haven’t written anything? Crazy, right? Some of them are admins who aren’t writers. Some are musicians or VAs who aren’t writers. And then there are the people who I hang around with all the time and tend to forget are not writers. And then I judge them. I am judging them right now because they need to start writing. :|

    Pascoite’s begun an interesting conversation about EQD, fic rejection and decreasing numbers of writers seeking help over here.

    Neighrator Pony needs more exposure! He’s done a reading of Old Friends by RBDash this time, which is an excellent story. Dude just keeps cranking these out. :D Remember, you can follow him on Fimfic to get the updates, he cross-posts the videos. :B

    Lastly, after the my last blog’s impromptu poll, I will be doing a Skywriter edition of fic recs sometime in the future! I chose him out of a three-way tie mostly because he has fewer stories that need vs. posts than Cold in Gardez. <.< (Also damn, it’s amazing how many stories from both of them I read before I started reviewing.) So he can expect to have his entire life’s work shit upon get some analysis of his stuff soon! :B Ish. My next project is reviewing all the writeoff fics, of which there aren’t as many (in the group anyway) as you’d think. (It’s also worth noting that, since he got a number of votes, I have added all of autumnschild’s stories to my RIL, and I added a few stories by other people who were voted for, but who I'm not following. Expect some reviews eventually!)

    Anyway, I have no idea how this one got so huge that’s what she said, but hold onto your butts RILs, 'cause it’s about to get bumpy!

    H: 0 R: 9 C: 3 V: 3 N: 0

    Mr. Lonelyheart Meets Miss Lovestruck by scoots2

    Genre: Romantic Comedy

    Cheese Sandwich is called upon to throw a wedding party for Braeburn. The only problem is, Braeburn hasn’t exactly met his bride-to-be, and neither is what the other expected. This is fun for a couple of reasons, and the big one is Cheese. He makes a great foil for Braeburn, and he’s characterized really interestingly. In Pinkie Pride, most of what we remember of him is the wacky party pony, but it’s easy to forget that he spent the first and final few minutes of the episode being very serious. It’s suggested, in no small amount of words, that he only gets silly once there’s partying to be had, and because no wedding party is imminent in this piece, he remains stoic. I will say I was a bit put off by the reasons why Braeburn and Cherry Jubilee are disappointed in one another, mostly for Braeburn’s side, though they do balance. Cheese sees her as older than expected, overweight, and very much made-up, while Braeburn is too young and not the rich, middle-aged ranch owner Cherry was expecting. The clincher is that one is meant to stay on an apple farm, and the other on a cherry farm, and they sort of neglected to mention that in their letters. I want to give this points for having a really great punchline, which is something that’s been rather lacking in stories I’ve seen of late. On the whole, if you’re up for a low-key comedy featuring an interesting mix of side characters, check this one out.

    Recommended

    The Great Ponyville Snowball Fight by 8686

    Reading by Goombasa

    Genre: Comedy

    After Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie declare snowball war on Twilight and Applejack, things begin escalating. This is one of the best slice of life (that is, no-stakes) fics I think I’ve ever read. Central to it is a true understanding of the ethos of Equestria: that it is perfectly reasonable for an entire town, even its leaders, to drop what they’re doing in order to engage in what is essentially a huge game of pretend. Missteps were few. There are a couple spots where the comedy is meant to come from overblown language that doesn’t really fit the tone. I was surprised when, partway in, Twilight was addressed as “Princess”, because given her “what is the point of this frivolous activity, oh wait, now I am experiencing this emotion known as ‘fun’” reaction to the snowball fight, I had this pegged as a season one fic. The Princesses’ arrival was, I felt, wholly contrived, though Luna absolutely steals the fic with a single line. Derpy’s scenes were maudlin and helped drag the story out a little too long, and that is where the major issue lies. There are so many spots where it seemed like the comedic beat of the moment would be the perfect punchline to end the story on, but it kept going and going. For the most part, this worked, but the author got greedy and kept pushing for more, driving up the chance of narrative overreach. Derpy’s scenes were partly to blame for this; the CMCs were another part. I wouldn’t hold this story up as an example of pacing, but as a light, show-tone comedy, it’s really fantastic. I like this 8’s and 6’s man.

    Recommended

    Lyra Grows Fingers by Scramblers and Shadows

    Reading by Doctor Cobra

    Mature: Gore

    Genre: Horror

    So I went into this expecting a little of this action, and I was so very, very wrong. Lyra grows fingers… from her shoulder. Oh my god this story is creepy. D: Body horror is a really good way to get a reaction from an audience, but few are the ponyfics I've seen that have actually been able to pull off any real kind of horror. It’s not just that fingers are growing from a place they have no business growing, nor that they’re sentient and start attacking her, nor even that they keep fucking growing. What sells the body horror is that Lyra feels through them. And much like Ash in Evil Dead, she’s gotta hack them off herself. The writing is perfect, showcasing Lyra’s obsessions in good order and using the “pop” sound effect to make everything that much creepier. (The innocuous noise Doctor Cobra uses for the onomatopoeia in the reading really helped.) Missteps are few; mostly I was just concerned by how bitchy Bon-Bon is. She wasn’t selling “they’re in a relationship” very well, though she makes up for it by the end. There’s also a good bit of swearing and some other, minor asides that didn’t feel too pony, which surprisingly bothered me more than anything else. I was thrown by the phrase “horn field”, though it’s at least easy to figure out what it means. I did like making Lyra a music teacher, as that’s a rather unusual, but entirely believable step for her as a character. I was absolutely riveted by this story, and fans of Stephen King will find a lot to enjoy. As for the rest of you, ‘tis the season for creepy shit, so turn off your Mature filters (it does get very gory toward the end, and though somewhat gratuitous, I will say this is the one fic where gore actually adds to the narrative) and go check this out! As horror, it’s up there with NIGEB, and as an inversion of fandom tropes, it’s tops.

    Recommended

    Best Friends Forever by Obselescence

    Reading by Scribbler, Ghostly Hamburger and Wish Lotus

    Review #1400!

    Genre: Psychological

    Celestia pays Twilight and her friends a visit. I would love to leave the review with just that non-descript summary and “it’s Obselescence, go read it”, because going into this story blind is so very rewarding. But if that's not enough for you, let me give you a taste of what to expect. It’s obvious that something is wrong early on because Celestia is flying over an abandoned Sweet Apple Acres and she has to disable magical wards to get into Twilight’s castle. Most importantly, the castle has a nursery, and its cribs are filled with… Twilight’s friends. The rest, you get to find out yourself. Suffice to say this is one of the best “Crazy Twilight” fics I’ve ever read, and the ending is fantastic. It carries a really weird idea all the way through. I will say that there were a couple spots where I wished the narrative wasn’t telling us what was going on, but in the end, this one’s totally worth reading. And in season!

    Recommended

    Fluttershy’s Night Out by Bad Horse

    Reading (part 1) by Hero541

    Genre: Real Issues

    Fluttershy goes out to a bar and meets someone. This is a story about a lot of things, but I’m not sure I can figure out what it’s about about, and I fault myself. I feel like all the parts are there and I’m just not putting them together. If I had to sum it up, I would say “sex doesn’t make you a whole person”, but I think that would be missing something. There’s Fluttershy, pre-show, trying to find her place in Ponyville, conquer her fears and grow up all at once. There’s the ponies vs. animals thread, which I couldn’t figure out at all. Then there’s the fact that this was written by Bad Horse and I spent the whole time reading it in a tizzy, waiting for the big R to drop. But while you could read consent or lack thereof into this story, it’s plainly obvious that that isn’t the point. The point, as I think is more clearly stated by the epilogue (added in after a year), is kindness, and forgiveness, and quite possibly that forgiveness is more about the forgiver than the forgiven. Definitely worth a read.

    Recommended

    To Be a Mule by archonix

    Genre: Politics

    A young mule in love with a unicorn has a lot to learn about the rules of life. I like this because it focuses on Equestria’s institutionalized racism without having that be the entire reason for the protagonist’s problems. It’d be a little pat if it had. Added to this is Dal’s father’s views on romance, which are wholly realistic and entirely appreciated. This is a short piece, but in it we get a lengthy view of Equestrian society from those on the bottom of it, not to mention a rundown of one man’s regret. It’s really worth the read.

    Recommended

    Gateway to Happiness by Spacecowboy

    Genre: Epistolary

    I ran into this feller while in the midst of Project Bookshelf, and he basically goaded me into reading one of his fics. :V That said, most of his big ones were pretty long, so the chances of me picking something good out of the short ones were low (as I have found tends to happen). This one, for instance, needs some work, mostly just in the writing. It takes a few paragraphs, for instance, to really sound like Twilight, and there are some spots where sentences could use some ironing out. But at its core, this presents an interesting idea: Twilight telling Celestia what she’s learned about other ponies by looking in their eyes. This is, if anything, a refutation of your standard immortality fic, taking place as it does between seasons 3 and 4, and I appreciate that.

    Recommended If You Value Substance Over Style

    Magic, and Mayhem, and… Murder? Oh My… by Invictus

    suggested by Blood_rose_doll for being my 468th follower

    Genre: Psych Crossover

    An Earth-banished Nightmare runs afoul of fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer in her attempts to return to Equestria, and ends up dragging him along with her. I don’t know jack shit about the show this is a crossover with, but from what I can glean through the Wikipedia page, main character Shawn Spencer is a gifted, Sherlock-Holmes-level detective who, for some reason, isn’t really a detective and has to use his deductive powers and eidetic memory to pretend to be a psychic so he can actually help the police. It sounds funny, at least. Needless to say, when I was assigned this story to read, I was dubious. I certainly wouldn’t have read this story on my own, but happily, I’m glad I did, and I’d like to thank Blood_rose_doll for recommending it and being patient while I got around to it. (I might even consider checking out the show now!)

    So what worked? For starters, Shawn comes off as your standard snark-fueled protagonist, which may turn off those leery of HiE’s. However, what the author does right by him is A) not make him the only POV character (though the first switch to someone else was rather jarring), and B) not make him the only funny character. (I was impressed, for instance, that Shawn was not the one to make the requisite “only the Shadow knows” joke.) This story has a good Pinkie Pie, and Shawn plays off Rainbow Dash remarkably well. He actually turns out to be an interesting character on his own merits. We get to see him both exercising his detective skills, and putting on his psychic act not only to bamboozle his opponents, but to impress his allies. I particularly enjoyed the running gag of his malapropisms, which was never overused. (Oddly, I found myself comparing him to Harry Dresden a lot; I mean, he even has a tiny car with a name!) Ultimately, the story ends up being about Celestia trying to atone for her mistakes, which is a plotline I always find compelling.

    There’s a huge amount of really great world-building in this, as the last half takes place in a lawless city of thieves and smugglers, whose existence is explained quite well. (And in the ballsiest use of canon to justify breaking tone, Pinkie is linked to it just as believably.) The best world-building involves the minotaurs, though I also liked the snatches of Diamond Dog language. And on that note, this is one of those stories that revels in spotlighting all the ‘major’ races of Equestria, yet manages to do so without feeling contrived. There are plenty of great side characters, not all of them ponies. This is also a story an example of a crossover done well. There was only one spot where a reference to Psych lost me and was never explained, but it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sort of thing whose loss didn’t negatively affect the narrative.

    The story comes in three acts. The first quarter or so is more or less your standard HiE: Shawn comes to Equestria, has to figure out what’s going on, makes friends with ponies. It’s honestly the weakest part of the story, with only one bit making it interesting: the question of what will happen to the Nightmare in his head. (An aside: I fully expected that Shawn would end up possessed by the Nightmare, or at least unleashing it into the world; that’s not what happened, so I have to assume I read something into the story that wasn’t there. Hopefully that doesn't ruin the first part for you.) The second third or so involves Shawn getting caught up in a murder investigation in Canterlot. Now, while the reasons for this happening are pretty contrived, once you’ve made that transition from HiE to “oh, now he can can show off his detective skills”, things really pick up. Not to mention, the ponies’ reaction to things like crime and death really sells the difference between Earth and Equestria. What follows in the rest is a long adventure piece, with lots of politics and skulduggery and all that world-building I mentioned before, not to mention explosions and some really excellent action scenes. The story pacing isn’t perfect, but on the scene level, nothing ever felt dragging or overly detailed.

    What didn’t work? Well, the humor was kind of hit-and-miss. Shawn does a lot of pop culture referencing, which I have to imagine is true to his show, but wasn’t always appreciated. (Another similarity to Dresden.) Most of what I didn't like was just little things, but there were also a couple of big, sexually-themed “it’s not what you think it sounds like” jokes that I didn’t appreciate. There were a couple spots where the narrative went in a direction I expected and didn’t want; the identity of the noble’s daughter is the big one that comes to mind, though it ultimately was a non-issue. This is one of the few stories I’ve ever seen whose writing is a valley; that is, it starts out fine, gets worse in the middle, and then recovers by the end. I’m not sure what happened there, but having a mostly typo-free ending was appreciated. Also, Shawn thinks Val Kilmer is the best Batman, and that is just not cool. Really, in hindsight, far more worked than didn’t.

    Ultimately, whether you read this will come down to two things, and I’ll say this: don’t let the crossover balk you. It’s fine. The HiE stuff at the start is both pat and a bit of a slog, but once you hit the first investigation, it all becomes worth it. I’ll be holding this up as an example of a good crossover for a while.

    Recommended

    A Bad Plot by Achaian

    Reading by Akash the Reader

    Genre: Metafic?

    After overhearing what she thinks is Rarity and Rainbow Dash deriding her posterior, Twilight goes a little nuts trying to find out the truth. There’s a lot going on in this story, and it’s all baffling; suffice to say, this is an awful lot of work to make a pair of bad jokes. The first is the old fanon standby of “plot = ass”. The second is the book Twilight sharing a name with one of this show’s characters. And that’s more or less all there is to this. You’ve got Twilight acting like an idiot for a few thousand words, a la Lesson Zero. You’ve got a background running gag about Fluttershy that, while humorous in its reveal, is very transparently meant as a red herring/distraction from the main story. Pinkie is admittedly pretty funny in both of her main scenes, and I was amused by Luna’s awkward attempts at the end to be amorous. Oh, and I called this a metafic because I'm pretty sure there's a running thread of comparing the standard story plot -- rising action, climax, all that -- to an orgasm, while both are happening in real time. But honestly, I'm just not sure. Really, I just don’t think this was worth it, though given my opinion on Lesson Zero, I have to imagine the whole fandom will enjoy this story.

    Vaguely Recommended

    Scootaletter by Poultron

    Genre: Flashfic

    You know, I had Poultron in my “need to review one story by everyone I follow, but only has incompletes” pile, but he’s also got this story, which I had already read! There’s honestly not much here. It was published before the encoded word limit and doesn’t even hit the minific limit of 400 words, and it’s just a short letter written to Rainbow Dash by Scootaloo. I don’t really get anything out of it, but I’ll say this: he captures the mindset of an excitable six-year-old writing about something she dearly loves. It’s just unfortunate that that mindset is kind of… annoying. You won’t find any deep character reveals or plot twists… or plot at all, really. But if you like slice of life stuff, this won’t take up too much of your time.

    Vaguely Recommended

    Coming for to Carry Me Home by MillenniumFalsehood

    Genre: BiE

    I’m reading this piece for the same reason as the last one, though it’s kind of unfair to really critique it since it was apparently a commission. Well, beggars can’t be choosers. This tells the story of Mark Adams, the brony son of a minister, who ends up going through a lot of shit when his parents find out he likes ponies. The approach to bronies here is pretty light; phrases like “He’d watch Rainbow Dash create a Sonic Rainboom later” feel disingenuous in this sort of story, like the author doesn’t really know what MLP fans do in their spare time. Mark’s conversation with his friends likewise feels more like a pastiche than a real discussion. What’s worse, Mark’s dad is pretty much every ultra-religious stereotype rolled into one character: he’s raised his son to be manly, he hates “fags” and of course he won’t stand for any of that sissy, sinful stuff influencing his children. If not for the fact that this purports to be based on real events, it would be comical. And that’s what this really comes down to. The writing isn’t the best and the characters are stereotypes, but real people have gone through real situations like this for the same reasons. I do wish this hadn’t gone the BiE route, because it adds another layer of preposterousness to the whole thing, not to mention cheapening whatever real ills others may have gone through. Then there’s the whole “Celestia as agent of God” thing that just… I really can’t take that seriously. It’s no surprise, though, I knew this wouldn’t appeal to me when I went into it, so I’ve got no one to blame but my own silly OCD.

    Recommended Only If You’re Actively Smarting from Your Ultra-Religious Parents Having Found Your Pony Stuff and Thrown the Book at You for It

    Hips Don’t Lie by Syeekoh

    Genre: Crackfic

    Rarity is mesmerized by Adagio Dazzle’s swaying hips. This is actually a pre-Rainbow Rocks fic, written based off the Battle of the Bands promo video, and as such, a few bits of it don’t line up with the movie, which is fine. It’s obviously not meant to be taken seriously, and it’s amusing as-is. I do find it odd that Rarity was picked as the one for the joke to center around; it could have been any of them, honestly. And I kind of feel like the ending joke about Sunset Shimmer eating meat is somewhat funnier than the one all the buildup was for, but that’s just me. This is short and fun, and that’s all I needed.

    Recommended If You Like Silly Stuff

    Overture by SuperGiantRobot

    Genre: Monologue

    Vinyl Scratch tells the story of how she met Octavia. My review shelf is getting me into trouble already. City of Doors reviewed this, and I noted that I had read but not reviewed it myself and had to wonder just why I upvoted a ScratchTavia. (One not tagged Romance, I’ll note.) The draw here is the voicing: it actually sounds like (stereotypical fanon) Vinyl telling the story. Not just being the “I” in something that could just as easily have been third person, but actually relating a tale to an audience sitting right in front of her. Her asides are humorous and she injects a lot of personality into a story that’s basically “I was curious about classical music, went to see it, and it was generally not my scene, except, oh, that cellist was hot”. The buildup makes her getting sappy about everything work even better. And, well, other than the first scene telling us that they got together afterward, this ends up not being a ScratchTavia at all, just an emotional recounting of a musical performance by someone who didn’t expect to get caught up in it. And now I know why I upvoted.

    Recommended

    Rarity Sprains Her Hoof Applebucking by SuperPinkBrony12

    Reading by Goombasa

    Genre: Alternate Episode Ending

    Story synopsis is right there in the title. I am thoroughly baffled by the existence of this. The “Pony Does X” title, tags, and general setup suggest a crackfic. Instead, we get Rarity spraining her hoof, Applejack taunting her a bit, Applejack taking her to the hospital, and Rarity ending up in a wheelchair for a little while. It’s played completely straight, and I have to wonder what the point is. (That she and Trenderhoof have a sober conversation toward the end of the story might be a clue to the author’s intentions.) I really don’t know who would want to read this, but I suppose it works as a thoroughly realistic “what-if” for Simple Ways. It's certainly not written poorly.

    Vaguely Recommended

    Spike’s Hoard by Shotoman

    Reading by Dr. Wolf

    Genre: Future Fic

    Spike meets the Cutie Mark Crusaders’ newest member ahead of a day filled with crusading. This is the second piece in today’s journal that I would consider a refutation of standard immortality fic tropes. It’s obvious what Spike’s hoard is going to be from the start, but overall the tone is upbeat and the ending happy, if also genuinely touching. I really appreciated the use of fandom characters as descendants of the mane six; I also liked that Pee-Wee shows up, but only as having found Spike centuries after they last parted. The author set out to show that memories of past friends and family make outliving them bearable, and he has done precisely that.

    Recommended

    I love how "brony son of a minister" sounds like an epithet. :B

    28 comments · 241 views
  • Tuesday
    Project Bookshelf finished!

    Yes, I'm done spamming people!

    Project Bookshelf (which is what I’m calling adding all those fics to my new Reviewed Shelf) has turned up some interesting things. Like just how long it took me to start bolding the titles of the reviews, and that that was after I put in the “HRCVN” tallies at the top. Also, my greatest conditional recommendation remains “Recommended for Sneeze Fetishists and People With High Degrees of Self-Loathing”, which came from Ethesto’s peachfic. (Of course, I fucked up My Little Rarity: Rarity Is Rarity by not rating it "Rarecommended".) Good times! :V

    God, I hope I got everything though. c.c Interestingly, going through the reviews led me to find a number of stories, mostly from contests, that had been deleted. I’ve struck-out the titles and removed the links for those, but the reviews will stay.

    ALSO! I ended up adding a bunch of story collections to the shelf because someone did a reading of one or two entries. Because I am OCD (for srs), I want to get all those chapters read, so expect to see a lot of stories from a LOT of the same names in the near future, especially Cold in Gardez, Benman and Esle Ynopemos. (I am not, however, doing the one with 316 thirty-minute stories. I’m sorry, no.)

    The upshot is, things will be better for me in the long run, because when I run into a story marked read and it doesn’t have that big red checkmark on top, I’ll know it’s time to reread it and review!

    Speaking of which, now I find myself wanting to go through various authors' galleries and finish up reading all their stuff. People like The Descendant and Pascoite, who I tend to follow but occasionally miss releases from, and who likely don't have more than a half-dozen stories I still need to read. The only author on the site who I've made a concerted effort to read all the fics of is Device Heretic (oh, well, and Goris the Deathclaw). So who would you want to see me do a featured author fic rec journal for? Note that if you say someone like RainbowBob, it'll just be one story per page. :B Also, it'd help if they had 5-10 fics in their gallery, to increase the chances that they have five stories I haven't read. Make suggestions in the comments! (No voting for yourself! :V)

    28 comments · 259 views
  • Monday
    Fic recs, October 20th

    Bad news first: Hero541 has hung up the fic-reading towel. :( And here I’d only just gotten into his channel!

    There's no good news. :B Well, not yet, I suppose.

    H: 1 R: 0 C: 5 V: 1 N: 1

    Wonderful by obabscribbler

    Reading by GutiuSerenade and GloryoftheRainWings

    I guess I’ll just comment on these guys quickly. The reading’s on Scribbler’s channel, but she’s not in it. Gutiu is a good narrator, and I’d go for more readings by him, but all he does is creepypastas, not ponyfic. And Rarity has all of one line, so I didn’t get a good feeling for Glory. (Actually, she plays a couple parts in the Truth Be Told radioplay, and she's quite good at them.) She seems to be more of a singer anyway. Okay then!

    Genre: Alternative Narrator

    One of Rarity’s mannequins has a few opinions on her. Y’know, length aside, this could’ve been a decent Outside Insight entry. Okay, maybe it’s not so much about ponies, but it has the same sort of setup. It’s pretty easy to tell who’s speaking after a bit (I thought it was Spike at first), and otherwise it’s a solid little vignette. I can think of one or two ways to expand on it, but for what it is, it’s a decent read. (And, I should note, the second entry of Scribbler’s Dancing on a Looking Glass that I’ve read. Interesting.)

    Recommened as Light Reading

    Dream by Cascadejackal

    Reading by Illya Leonov

    Genre: Big Ideas

    A clockmaker, feeling his hopes and dreams have left him, finds the strength to dream anew. This is a marvelous piece of prose, lyrical and flawless, fairy tale-like in the first part and philosophical in the second. It’s so dense and rich, I was shocked to find out how short it was after hearing the reading. It raises a lot of big questions, mostly about the pursuit of beauty, and has a naturally emotional end. Plus, it's got a clockwork pony. It’s pretty much a perfect story, and high-minded on top of that.

    Highly Recommended

    Twilight Eats Sonata’s Taco by Admiral Biscuit

    Genre: Silly

    It’s pretty obvious, once you click the link and discover a lack of a Sex tag, that this exists primarily to have a sex-joke title. I can get behind it, however, as the author mentions he hasn’t actually seen the movie and was going off the Wikipedia article, which explains why the plot doesn’t make a damned bit of sense. This spends a little too much time setting itself up, but I’ll say that if you like stupid comedies like this, the ending definitely pays off. If not, well, this is not high comedy and can be skipped. (Also, not enough Sonata.)

    Vaguely Recommended

    Quills and Sofas by Just Horsing Around

    Genre: Silly Comedy

    Twilight’s dad is visiting, helping her answer fanmail, when he learns of Ponyville’s local eccentric, quill supplier. What follows is Night Light goading Davenport in the most hilarious way possible while trying to get to the bottom of the mystery: why quills and sofas? (He never finds out, spoilers.) While this has the trappings of a crackfic — goofy premise, opening narration full of terrible puns — it really comes off as more of a classic comedy. Davenport knows a lot about weird things, Night Light is kind of a jerk (though I was amused at how well he handles the strange situations his children get into). They butt heads, the result is amusing. That said, I’ve read funnier, and I don’t think this is one I’ll remember for long. It’s still worth a quick read, though.

    Recommended for Laughs

    Let’s Find You a Date! by soundslikeponies

    Reading by Hero541

    Genre: Shipping

    After Rarity brings up the topic of Twilight’s love life, she decides to help Twilight figure out this whole ‘dating’ thing. But Twilight has her eyes set on one mare in particular. This story does a lot of things right, and a few major things, if not wrong, then not-right enough that I felt uncomfortable about them by the end. What I particularly liked was the first chapter’s exploration of sexuality. Twilight’s never considered it before, and though it’s resolved in the first few thousand words, the way they go about figuring out that she likes mares is natural. Not to mention, Rarity puts up with a lot for her sake, despite professing to be bi-curious at best, so she gets a Good Friend award. With that said, let’s talk about character. Rarity I had some qualms about, in regards to her romance-novel approach to dating and her seeming lack of social awareness, but that second part at least is recontextualized nicely in the final chapter. Twilight was a bit more problematic. I’m okay with the fact that she makes mistakes in the pursuit of something she doesn’t know anything about (honestly, if anyone makes an unreasonable mistake in this story, it’s Rarity for letting Twilight off on her own too early, though even that’s cleared up by the ending), but she acts altogether childish throughout a lot of this story. Granted, that didn’t include when she was acting adorable as hell, because this story has a lot of adorable moments, but she still seemed oddly petulant more often than not. The one character who really stands out is May Flower, an OC, a model who acts as something of a sexual antagonist for most of the story. Out of the three mares Twilight ends up entangled with in the course of this piece, May is the one who not only wants her, but knows how to get her. I think the only reason she doesn’t is that A) she had at least a few morals, and B) she’s charmed somewhat by Twilight’s naivete. On that note, Carrot Top. I felt SO BAD for this girl. It’s obvious from the moment Twilight first talks to her that she’s even more naive than Twilight, and the fact that the story makes no bones about being a Twility vehicle makes this revelation even harder to stomach. I was waiting and waiting for Twilight to give up on Rarity and realize she had something good going on with Carrot, but I’m sorry to say it never happens. There’s what I want as a reader and what the story needs narratively, but all distaste for using a pony to get two others together aside, darned if I can’t really figure out what this was about. There’s a passing-of-the-torch thing going on with Twilight and Carrot’s relationship at the end, from what she and Rarity do at the beginning, but that’s about it, and it’s a bittersweet end for CT regardless. Overall, no one who’s not interested in shipping is going to want to read this, and even if you are, well, be warned, you need to be going in with the right expectations.

    Recommended for Shippers Only

    Peachocalypse Now by Justice4243

    Genre: Peachfic

    This one slipped through my peachfic-finding attempts, so I thought I’d remedy the oversight. The Peachening is upon us and everypony has gone insane, except Pinkie Pie and Spike. This is about as silly as you’d expect, though I like that Pinkie ends up being the straight man. The story doesn’t appear to have been proofread and the ending doesn’t really work, but I have to say, this is the rare story that would have been improved by the addition of more references. This is totally a Wickerman scenario and I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Pinkie to shout, “No, not the peaches! Ahh, they’re in my eyes! My eyes!” (Though there is one pretty phenomenal reference joke in this that more or less makes up for the lack of Nicolas Cage.) In all, it’s a pretty fun crackfic, if you like that kind of thing!

    Recommended If You Like Silly Things

    Twilight’s Play by Twi-Guy

    Reading by Akash the Reader

    Genre: Comedy

    Twilight’s stuck inside without anything to do because reasons, so she gathers up some books and brings them to life. I am thoroughly baffled as to what the point of this story was. The comedy is not terribly strong and is almost entirely centered around some very poorly-titled books (they’re not even puns, just synonyms for actual titles; I mean, “Hook-22”? That doesn’t even make sense!) coming to life and acting like pastiches of their plots: Jurassic Park talks about chaos theory, Fahrenheit 451 is a pyromaniac, The Shining is homicidal. In all, it suggests little more than a passing understanding of any of the books featured. The only one I found actually funny was the untitled self-help book, which seems in need of a dose of its own medicine. More comedic inversions like that might have helped this along. Oh, and this is the punchline, verbatim. Lastly, looking at the text, it’s pretty poorly written. You can safely pass this one up.

    Not Recommended

    Lone Princess by InkRose

    Reading by DrWolf001

    Genre: Psychological

    A lone princess, trapped in an empty world, sees snatches of what she truly desires. This is a strange case, because the reading linked above only covers first part; there isn’t another, yet the story is two chapters and an epilogue. And unfortunately, while the first chapter is pretty great on its own, the other two don’t add anything to it. The second chapter is just a rehash of the first, and the epilogue puts a needless period on the end of everything. But let me talk about that first chapter for a moment. It does a really great job of showing what’s going on. At first, it seems like this might be after some apocalypse causes the sun to go out, given all the ice on everything. Then, it seems like it might be Luna trapped on the moon. The actual answer is a lot cleverer, and it ends up being a great character study of Luna, in the way that the second chapter is not particularly enlightening about Celestia. Also, given the timeframe of when it takes place, the ending is beautifully tragic. It does suffer a bit from word choice issues, weak words keeping the prose from being as evocative as it could be. But if you like Luna, and you want to see a Sad Luna piece that actually works, do check out the first part of this. The rest you can take or leave.

    Recommended for the First Chapter

    25 comments · 293 views
  • Sunday
    Into Filly Funtasia?

    It seems to be making a comeback after all! :D Well, I discovered that execrable IP two years ago, bought two of the toys, hated them, and vowed to write horrible crossover fanfiction to showcase their terribleness for all the fandom to see.

    That... never really happened.

    So, today, you can see the first, and only, two chapters of "The Brony Princess" in my speedfic collection. There will never be any more (I include notes about what would have happened had I continued the story, at least). Get it now, while supplies last!

    And don't buy any Filly Princess toys, for srs. D:

    3 comments · 101 views
  • ...
 77
 3,319

A mysterious machine appears in Ponyville. At first, it's a curiosity. After its purpose is discovered, however, it quickly becomes a menace and Twilight must figure out a way to destroy it before peaceful Ponyville is torn apart at the seams.

A crossover with Machine of Death intended for readers unfamiliar with the novel.

Published on EQD September 15, 2012. Cover art rendered by Alexstrazsa.

First Published
10th Sep 2012
Last Modified
10th Sep 2012
#1 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

*providesblood sample*

death by SnuSnu.


huh? wait.. what does that mean.. ohmygodno aaaahhhh!!!!!

#2 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

Hmm... Well it tells them how they die, it doesn't cause premature death, right? So maybe not so bad. OK, I'll read it.

#3 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

I assume Twilight's and Celestia's strips read "Act of Will" just based on the story title, but I was wondering what others' take on their fates was. Or is it clearer if you read the original story?

#4 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

interesting...

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#5 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1254548

You're correct about the first part, not sure what you mean about the second. Takes on their fates?

#6 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1254790

As in what they thought the strips said. Figured I might have missed something by not reading the original story

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#7 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1254829

Well, the 'original story' is actually a collection of short stories.

And the reactions are varied. I go into some of them in the text. That's kind of the whole point, actually.

#8 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

Good stuff. Written in a Mary Shelly/Bram Stoker style fitting of the subject matter.

#9 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

“ACT OF WILL"?

Do you actually have an explanation in your own mind as to what this means, or is it supposed to be vague but without true meaning?

Either way, this was great! It's time for me to look up the original stories, because this is such a great concept. Awesome job here! :twilightsmile:

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#10 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1255296

There's a meaning behind it. Just think about what it pertains to. :)

#11 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1255654

Okay, I do understand what you're getting at, I think...

...But I prefer to think of it as, say, Twilight willfully acts to save a town of ponies in a dragon attack or something. :scootangel:

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#12 · 110w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>1255714

Machine predictions are finicky things. That's not what I intended, but I like the interpretation. :)

#13 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1255746

Your interpretation does sound like a very Celestia-ish thing to do, if you imagined a future where ponies are extinct and Celestia (and Luna, maybe) are the only ones left. But the way I personally interpret Twilight's personality...I just can't see it happening. So instead I'm going to say that they both got the same slip of paper, but they refer to very different deaths.

By the way, just bought the anthology for my Kindle. Thanks for introducing me to it!

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#14 · 110w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1255791

A benefit to writing crossovers. :)

Ezn
#15 · 110w, 2d ago · · ·

Dat cover image.

Nicely improved from when I checked it out on /fic/. Very cool stuff, PP -- I'll admit to liking this story more than one or two of the ones in the original collection.

I'm a Dinosaur Comics reader and unsuccessfully tried to write something for the second volume when submissions were open last year, so props for succeeding at writing another take on the concept. MLP certainly gives it an interesting flavour.

#16 · 110w, 2d ago · · ·

I haven't even started yet, but seriously, thank the lords of Kobol that someone gets that indents and paragraph spaces do not mix...

Back later!

*reads*

Right!

PP, that, was legendary. Sure, I get that the style may have been taken from other similar stories using the premise, but it's rare that I find short stories on here that actually achieve so much with so little. If I were to hold up an example of how to do a short story, this would be it as of today.

It's positively dripping with emotion, it's concise, it conjures vivid imagery. It gives the reader a sense of knowing what's going on (a much needed sense of attachment all too often missing from MLP fics), without them actually knowing anything truly relevant. It adds mystery, without the reader feeling cheated when it isn't resolved. It carries tension sublimely while never explaining a damn thing. And, of course, it carries an underlying observation on a very real issue of perceiving the value of life and death.

If I knew the alt-code for those little starts, I'd give you six on the spot.

Also, I hate you for knowing someone who does pony art. C'est la vie.

-Scott

P.S. You're getting a blog-post for this one PP!

#17 · 110w, 2d ago · · ·

Very well done and effective. I think that "ACT OF WILL" is one of the few things that I'd accept for a cause of Celestia's death, and it creates a lot of dramatic tension by foreshadowing an ominous  future. That it matches Twilight's own is even more tantalizing.

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#18 · 110w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1263434

This comment means a lot. I figure most people are not going to know about MoD in the first place. And yes, not all the actual stories are created equal. (In truth, I have not even gotten halfway through the first book. I wonder if I ever shall...)

>>1263454

Alex is awesome. :D He whipped this up for me in like an hour and a half, based off the actual cover art for MoD. (To wit, the only parts of the original left are the floor/skyline/sky, the X and the manhole.)

Most people tend to give out moustaches here, I've noticed. :B :moustache:

Wait, blog? :O Wut? Link me. If you've got a blog, I should know!

And thank you! :D

>>1264190

You've got the (intended) meaning down! :)

#19 · 110w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1266379 If there is one thing I definitely can't be accused of, it's being anything like 'most people'.  And no, just a regular blog post on here, i'm afraid. I don't think I'd have enough to say to run a real blog! Well, not enough that anyone would want to listen to anyway...

Maybe when i actually finish my story one day and actually start writing something else, it might become more worthwhile.

#20 · 109w, 6d ago · · ·

A wonderfully depressing story! Thank you for bringing Machine of Death to my attention: it seems very interesting!

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#21 · 109w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1276754

You're quite welcome!

#22 · 109w, 6d ago · · ·

Zero feels, zero creepy feelings. Letters... why?

Bleh.

Loved the concept, but the execution did pretty much nothing for me. Sorry, Pres.

#23 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1280102

If you're interested in other stories with the same concept except told with humans: Link to Machine of Death pdf ebook

It's an actual book, it's free, and it is fantastic.

#24 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1254425 You shall be snu-snued by the most beautiful women. Then the large women. Then the petite women. Then the large women again.

#25 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1255654 They were killed by some guy named William?

#26 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

Now I want to read the book...

#27 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

I got MoD on my kindle when it first came out, but I burnt myself out trying to read all those stories at once. This makes me want to go back to the book and read the rest. Or maybe even try my hand at a MoD story (though that's honestly unlikely).

I very much enjoyed the story and thought it was well executed.

As for Celestia and Twilight, my thought would be that they actually both have the same kind of death, and the machine isn't using it's... unique charm in this instance. It makes sense that imortal Celestia wouldn't die so much as she would simply choose to not live anymore (though the distinction is probably lost on the MoD, it is just a machine after all). As for our purple friend, Twilight-as-Celestia's-successor is a common enough trope that I'm guessing the same can be said of her.

#28 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1283560

That's kind of what I'd assumed as well. That 'ACT OF WILL' means it was either a form of suicide, or murder from a Higher Cause (IE, the Fausticorn/Scriptwriters).

Either that, or the minotaurs are a bigger menace than first thought.

#29 · 109w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Act of will...Action taken on purpose...Twilight and Celestia's death cards..

....Suicide? :rainbowhuh:

#30 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

I really wish I had heard of MoD before this, seems interesting.

Anyway, finally, a fic that's just the kind of fic I like! Short, concise, suspenseful, focusing on the emotions and reactions of characters in stressful and terrible situations, while giving just enough of a resolution so one doesn't feel cheated, while not so much that nothing at all is left to think about. Good job!

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#31 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1284487

Wow, thank you! This is precisely the sort of reaction I'd hoped for! :D

#32 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

*tests machine, gets slip of paper*  404...

:trollestia:

#33 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

I pretty much screamed in delight when I realized that this was about the Machine of Death. And I must say-- had this been one of those included in the anthology, it would have been one of the better ones. Very well done.

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#34 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1284982

Man, I'm so glad this is pulling folks out of the woodwork who actually know about MoD. :D

#35 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

I've actually started reading MoD because of this. It does not disappoint.

#36 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

Honestly, it rustled my jimmies. :fluttershyouch: It was so... freaky.

Very emotional and tense. I'm not necessarily the open ended type of guy, but this one got me thinking... real disturbing things. Definitely. :pinkiecrazy:

I love it. You did a good job.

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#37 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1285636

Thank you. These are all good feelings to have. :3 At least, from where I'm standing.

#38 · 109w, 5d ago · · ·

Looks at linked PDF...

==========================================

[HIV INFECTION FROM MACHINE OF DEATH NEEDLE]

"Well," I thought, "that sucks"

==========================================

^ BEST STORY EVER!!! :rainbowlaugh::facehoof::trollestia:

You did a good job writing this. My jimmies... Dear Luna, they have been rustled!

#39 · 109w, 4d ago · 2 · 1 ·

I think we are all missing the point.  Twilight's card obviously means that she will be killed by Iron Will when he returns for revenge

#40 · 109w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

Does Ryan North know about this?

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#41 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1287846

Do any crossover media or other IP creators ever know about fanfiction?

#42 · 109w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>1287893

Whups, I meant that like 'You should tell him about this, he seems like a cool guy who'd get a kick out of it', instead of 'I must inform him that someone has been STEALING HIS IDEAS'.

#43 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

You've got me downloading the original and ordering the book online. Congratultions.

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#44 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1287935

Well if anything, he can be happy with how many people have gotten interested in the book since I

>>1288167

THERE'S ANOTHER ONE :D

#45 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

very thrilling. i found out about machine of death through this. I've been listening to the audiobook/podcast, and reading the .PDF form their website. needless to say, i'm hooked. i'm a junkie of psychological thrillers and this pushes all my buttons in just the right way. i'm probably going to buy the book as soon as i get some money. please, make more of these. or, if at all possible, maybe hold a pony MoD spin-off competition? i'd love to participate in something like that. if you do plan something like that, please let me know, you'll be making a stupid fat kid really happy.

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#46 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1289695

I've really got no desire to make more, expand this, or write sequels. I wanted an MLP/MoD crossover, so I made it, end of story.

#47 · 109w, 4d ago · · ·

>>1290712

i see. it's a shame, this is a really good story, and i'd love to see more from it. maybe i'll make my own crossover someday, and be called a an un-creative ripoff artist. lol :P

#48 · 109w, 3d ago · · ·

Oh, curse you and your ambiguity. I couldn't figure out what Twilight's slip said until I realized it (probably) is the title, and I went and looked up "act of will" to find out what it meant and it turns out to be the most vague idiom I could imagine.

The first thing it brought to mind though was suicide, since I think I'd heard the idiom used in that context, and if an act of will is an intentional action, then it would mean death would have to be intentional.

In any case, overanalysis aside, I loved this. Maybe I'll go and get Machine of Death now.

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#50 · 109w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1298996

:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D

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