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  • T You Only Live Twice

    Secret agents Vinyl and Octavia reunite to tackle a threat to Canterlot.
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  • T Mission: Implausible

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  • E Trains, Carriages and Airships

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  • T Maybe

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  • E The Final Quest of Star Swirl the Bearded

    The last journey of an unusual wizard and the role he played in the founding of Equestria.
    64,492 words · 3,187 views  ·  194  ·  2
  • E Rest Stop

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  • T When the Curtain Falls

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  • T The West Is Not Enough

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Blog Posts190

  • Sunday
    Is this what no new episodes does to us?

    21 comments · 299 views
  • 2w, 4d
    Well, that was fun

    So now that things have calmed down a bit and the dust has settled, let’s talk about what just happened here.

    I’ve been teasing the idea of doing some sort of second-person HiE clop trollfic for a while now, and it’s mainly because of the Suffer series. After reading so much clop on the feature box, grumbling over its tired clichés and tropes, and idly wondering what gets into the box and why, the allure of trying it for myself became irresistible. Just for a moment, I would cast aside any pretenses of quality or respectability and shamelessly embody “The Player” that I had spoken of.

    I mean, come on. If I’m gonna keep talking about this stuff, I might as well try it for myself, right? Plus there was just the fun of poking fun at all these easily mockable tropes. Good times!

    When I posted the fic, there were three things I was hoping for:

    1) Get on the feature box. Check. (Though this was mainly so that I could…)

    2) ”Suffer” my own story. Check. (This was the most important one to me. When all is said and done, I have a feeling that the crowning achievement of the Suffer series will have been the excuse to utter the phrase “The Feature Box Suffers John Perry.”)

    3) And finally: Force RainbowBob to suffer my story. Ch– Oh. Hmm.

    Well, two out of three ain’t bad! There were also a couple of things to come out of this story that I hadn’t expected, but that I loved: one was finding out that Sethisto had read it, and the other was seeing this fic get more downvotes than the rest of my stories combined.

    Actually, let’s talk about those downvotes for a moment. I have literally never seen a worse upvote/downvote ratio in the feature box than my fic. I’ve been told 1 to 1 has happened in the past, and I believe it, but the worse I had personally witnessed was in the ballpark of 2 to 1 (2 upvotes to 1 downvote). When my fic was in the box, it was around 1.8 to 1. (As of writing, it’s dropped down to around 1.4 to 1.)

    And I love it. While it doesn’t exactly speak well to the mechanisms of the feature box that such a poorly received fic managed to remain in the box, I can’t help but take heart in the fact that so many people saw this premise and immediately went “NO.” Which isn’t to say that everyone who downvoted it did so without reading it; there were plenty of people who went in expecting clop and were disappointed to be reading a trollfic, or who were put off by the overt crudeness of the fic (fair enough; it definitely isn’t for everyone). But there were undoubtedly a lot of people who downvoted on sight, probably without realizing what this thing was.

    And to be fair, it looks like a clopfic from the cover. Most people on FIMFiction wouldn’t recognize my name, and if you don’t know any of my other work (namely the Suffer series) there’s probably no way you could have known that it was meant in jest.

    So kudos to those who tried their darndest to keep this blatant piece of feature bait off the feature box. But I think what we’ve learned is that downvoting en masse is a terrible way to try to keep something off the box. It might be more effective to just ignore it and hope it falls off the box due to lack of “heat”.

    So now that that’s over with, I return to my normal suffering of the feature box. I’ve had my fun, and now I’m at least one step closer to understanding the strange mistress that is the feature box.

    A big thank you to all you guys for indulging me in my insanity. Kudos all around!

    12 comments · 288 views
  • ...
 45
 10,401
Source

In the wake of the changeling attack on Canterlot, two ponies have been called upon to track a group of changelings into the desert. But soon, they uncover a dark and dreadful secret...

First Published
30th Nov 2012
Last Modified
30th Nov 2012
#1 · 100w, 37m ago · · ·

Changelings and Daring Do?

Interesting....

#2 · 100w, 36m ago · 1 · ·

Who knows.

#3 · 100w, 25m ago · 2 · ·

Interesting. I'll read this later because Philip K. Dick.

#4 · 100w, 2m ago · · ·

I'd love to read this, but it'll have to wait for a while...

Sounds very interesting though.

#5 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

This is a wonderful story. Long, but wonderful. :heart:

#6 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Interest: Acquired.

Tracking: Enabled.

:pinkiehappy:

#7 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1712406

I'll buy 50 of everything! :pinkiecrazy: Srsly, how the hell is there not a filter for these idiots?

Will read when I get back. But here's an upvote to counter the troll. :twilightsmile:

#8 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Yessssss! Excellent!

Got a chill when I read through this and it's through re-reading it that I caught the significance of the buffalo story at the beginning. Among a few other things. Very moody and atmospheric, the best way to tell a story about shape-shifters.

Love the image by the way! I was looking forward to seeing that ever since you described it to me.

Wonderful work!

#9 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Well, you've gone and done it. I usually avoid fictions unless they're recommended to me by a friend, but your concept has drawn me in like pink on a pinkie pie :pinkiecrazy:. I'll be reading and leaving feedback soon. :twilightsmile:

#10 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

funny i just read do androids dream of electric sheep.

might as well read this.:rainbowkiss:

#11 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Chapter should be titled, "probably not." XD

Like'd this story.

#12 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

This still read just as creepy the second time through. Great job!

#13 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Nicely done.

#14 · 99w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

(Readers beware, for there be spoilers ahoof!)


Whoa. Impressive, and dark. I'd say it's quite a bit darker than the Quest if you really think about it :fluttershysad:. In the circumstances, however, it probaby has the most upbeat and positive resolution possible. :pinkiesmile:

Also, those things like the 'sitting bull' tale and the actual changelings choosing sheep as their disguise. Small, yet meaningful and imparting a sort of moral significance with a degree of subtlety. I love seeing things like these.:twilightsmile:

An interesting take on the changelings and their ability to act like individuals. Also, time travel! Say, by any chance, did the use of a time spell to remove the changeling threat that happened in my own story influence this idea in any way? 'Cause it'd be quite flattering if it did. :twilightblush:

Anyway, I have to agree with what you said in one of your earlier blog posts, John: the changelings do present a whole lot of story-building opportunity. I'm glad they were introduced into the FiM universe. Without them, cool stuff like this story here wouldn't have happened, or at least not nearly as well as it can now.

#15 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

And the award for deviously clever title goes to...

#16 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1713485 I always love your comments, because you make them nice and long and put a lot of thought into them! :twilightsmile:

Much as I want to say that your story inspired the use of a time-travel spell, to be honest I'm pretty sure that was the Crystal Empire episode, for introducing that in-canon mechanism for flinging a town into the future while causing its inhabitants to lose their memory.

However, I'm willing to bet that the name I came up with for the unicorn, "Nebula Gleam," was pretty heavily influenced by your story. Dawn Gleam would have been too obvious and hopeful sounding, but Nebula Gleam sounds like the last light of a dead star. Not many ponies have depressing sounding names like that.

#17 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

So, I guess the movie will be called Blade Trotter? :raritywink:

A most enjoyable read with a delightfully creepy twist. Thank you for writing it.

#18 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

Weird… in a good sort of way.  Makes me wish there was a ‘mystery’ tag.  Much enjoyed and appreciated.  

#19 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

First saw and read disc. My thoughts: MUST READ NAOH!!! (which I am doing)

#20 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1713664 Thanks! :twilightsmile:

And yay, I actually did inspire something! :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy: While the Crystal Timethrow is, of course, more logical and all, the name inspiration is good enough for me. This sort of influence is actually around the top of what I strive to achieve. My own work affecting the thoughts and the work of others, even if in a small way. So, thank you, m'good sir, for giving me artistic fulfillment. :twilightsmile::twilightsmile:

#21 · 99w, 6d ago · · ·

No, they do not. Next question!:trollestia:

#22 · 99w, 4d ago · · ·

I need to say, damn good story.

I though it will be some ripoff of some old scifi story but how wrong i was.

Did you think about posting it on EQD?

#23 · 99w, 2d ago · · ·

>>1726230  If the pre-readers ever get around to reading my submission, then we'll see if it makes it to EQD. :derpytongue2:

#24 · 99w, 12h ago · 1 · ·

Past Dodge Junction, in Equestria's badlands, lies a town called Mountain Meadow. You won't find this town on any map, however. A long time ago, there was a very curious occurrence here. Today, a pegasus and her royal guard escort are about to learn that sometimes, what you're looking for can't be found on any regular map, but perhaps on a map of... The Twilight Zone.

Seriously, I got that vibe all the way through. Fuckin' kudos, dude.

#25 · 97w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

I enjoyed the interaction between 'Sir Knight' and Daring, plus the use of her abilities as a tracker. I wasn't sure what to expect when going into this, so I just let you take me along for the ride.

I agree with Twilight's statement about bringing out the possibility of individual thought when it comes to the Changelings. You wouldn't exactly know what would happen if they're hive mind were to be broken and them being left on their own devices. Here they found a life more enjoyable, loving, and free from the rest.

But then, what do they feed off of if not love? :applejackunsure:

I do have a slight gripe. Equites seemed to have an uncharacteristic change. He was stoic and all about the rules and gave in only when it threatened the mission. For him to decide at the end to not divulge their secret seemed out of place for him. Yes, it was a proper and poetic end to the story, but it seemed like there would be more hints to the change.

Course another story of him dealing with his decision and how the things he saw changed his perspective would also be interesting.

Anyway, thanks for writing this. I enjoyed it. :twilightsmile:

#26 · 97w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>1815846 Now this comment is getting a definite thumbs up from me, for being so thoughtful and detailed. :pinkiehappy:

Ah, Equites - I meant to imply that there was a change in his character as the story went on, though my hints may have been too subtle, so that would be my fault for not making that change clearer. He is indeed very stoic and solely focused on the mission at the start, but that begins to break apart with the discovery of the old nest, and his horrified reaction to that (if you notice, the end of that scene is the first time Daring addresses him as 'Equites' instead of 'knight', symbolizing the change in their relationship). When Daring asks him if he reported on the things happening in the village, he hesitates - he's still focused on the mission, but where their earlier conversation had him giving Daring a flat 'no, end of story' answer to talking about anything that doesn't have to do with the mission, here he has to justify it a little. His conversation with Bandwagon is the final straw, when he finally loses focus on the mission in light of the murder of the changelings and the discovery of what the villagers really are.

So I did mean to illustrate a change in his character, although I probably could have made it a lot more apparent. :twilightsheepish:

#27 · 97w, 3d ago · · ·

>>1816147 Don't worry about it. I think it was well enough considering the length of the story. Sorry I didn't catch on.

#28 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

Is this a Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep crossover/inspired fic?

Ezn
#29 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

That was a pretty cool read. I liked the reuse of the Crystal Empire's curse, Daring Do's characterisation and, well, most of it, really. A thumbs-up from me.

However, I didn't really like the bit where Equites somehow remained convinced that they weren't dealing with changelings. And, in fact, the earlier scene where Daring has the conversation about the painting with Peachy. I just think that given they were specifically looking for changelings, stuff like that and the wings and the fangs should have set off alarm bells.

I'd've bought Daring and Equites dismissing the notion of Peachy being a changeling through some reasoning, but that it never seems to have occurred to them in the first place is odd.

Apart from that, my only other complaint is the occasional patches of obtuse wording. There's nothing really anything too serious or flow-murdering, but there are spots where mixtures of pronouns and "the pegasus"/"the earth pony" get momentarily confusing, and I'd probably streamline a number of sentences if I were to edit this.

Good job overall, and thanks for writing.

#30 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1838043 That'd be a big no. :derpytongue2: Only the title is a reference to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

#31 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1838065

I'd've bought Daring and Equites dismissing the notion of Peachy being a changeling through some reasoning, but that it never seems to have occurred to them in the first place is odd.

:twilightsheepish: You mean like this?

“I’m not sure I have an answer for that,” Equites replied before he suddenly started.  “Wait, maybe they’re the changelings in disguise!”

The pegasus sighed.  “Look, I don’t want to give changelings too much credit, but I think they know what a train is.  Besides, the whole point of wearing a disguise is to blend in and not draw any suspicion.  Peachy and Pluck were totally sincere.  They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.”

Ezn
#32 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1838252

Hmm... yeah, that's okay. It does happen before any of the most compelling evidence that Peachy's a changeling, but I suppose I can believe that Daring and Equites had that possibility very firmly ruled out after that exchange. I think it makes them seem a bit foolish, but then I have an outsider's perspective on the whole situation, and Equestria is full of weird magical stuff.

#33 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

I want to read this. So much.

I don't know why, but the title reminds me of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep The book that Blade Runner was based off of. For that alone I must read it.

Also, changelings.

#34 · 96w, 5d ago · · ·

I would put this as MLP Episode quality.  Except we would never see it, because of no Mane 6 or Ponyville.   Well done, though, very good plot, realistic characterizations, and wonderful conclusion.  5/5 Mustaches  :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

#35 · 96w, 5d ago · · ·

Even though it is clear from the start that some of the villagers are changelings, I was not expecting that twist to happen. First I thought that Peachy Keen was a changeling, and then the other first two that were "changing". But when most of the town began to change, I stopped and thought "something's wrong".

A very worthy read indeed, dear author.

#36 · 96w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

Finally got around to reading this and, I must say, I am impressed. The twist is very well crafted, with enough hints that I doesn't come from nowhere, but still presented in such a way that when it comes, it still feels like a surprise.

I also like how you never really describe how the revelation impacts the villagers, with the characters leaving the village before any real consequences start. Sure, they go back to their old selves, but how long, and how the village will proceed is left in the open enough for me to keep wondering how things will proceed from here.

The questions and themes raised are also very interesting, with "nature vs. nurture", what constitutes one's identity, subjection to fate/authority and so forth. It is a lot to tackle in a short story, but it meshes perfectly with the overall narrative arc. Besides, it is presented in such a well thought, yet still subtle way, that it makes this story truly special. All in all, thank you for the excellent read!

By the way, why did you use Daring Do here? Don't get me wrong, I liked her characterization, specially her interaction with Equites, but at the same time the whole thing doesn't feel like a Daring Do story.

#37 · 96w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

>>1853462  I'm thrilled you liked the story!  To answer your question, Daring Do actually wasn't my original protagonist for this fic, and the decision to use her came about mostly because of the role.  Originally, this story was going to be a side-story to one of my other stories, You Only Live Twice, which has Octavia and Vinyl Scratch as secret agents fighting changelings (so basically, this story was going to be a pony version of The X-Files: two agents go out in the field and encounter supernatural stuff). Ultimately, though, it seemed like a better idea to make this story stand on its own, which meant dropping Octavia and Vinyl and finding two other ponies to be the protagonists. So for one of them, I figured a royal guard would be suitable (since they'd be the most interested in finding the changelings), and for the other I needed someone who would be believable as an animal tracker/explorer type, and that's when I got the idea to use Daring Do.

#38 · 96w, 1d ago · · ·

(In case anyone reads this before the story, minor spoilers enclosed)

I thoroughly enjoyed this. All the while, I was expecting that the townsfolk would be changelings - but not in the capacity that they turned out to be - and that Equites would actually be a changeling too, and that it would end with Daring being quietly subdued and replaced. I was kind of hoping that the villagers would be redeemed and accepted into Equestrian society, though.

Also, was that spell that the Nebula unicorn used a reference to the Crystal Empire?

#39 · 96w, 1d ago · · ·

>>1858362

Also, was that spell that the Nebula unicorn used a reference to the Crystal Empire?

Eeyup. :eeyup:

#40 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

Cool stuff - I love Daring Do!

#41 · 85w, 5d ago · · ·

I looked through Equestria Daily's Fanfic archive and found this. It's written well and it's a good read. That was an interesting ending to the whole fic. :rainbowdetermined2:

#42 · 84w, 5d ago · · ·

Finally got around to reading this. Truly it is a masterpiece and makes me wish there was a mystery tag.

Accept my thumbs up, star, and follow.

#43 · 57w, 6d ago · · ·

Very solidly written for what this story is. The atmosphere of the story was solid and consistent throughout. The characters were well characterized

The only gripe I can come up with is that the protagonists didn't do a whole lot this story. They came to the town, did a little investigating, but then the mystery pretty much solves and then resolves mostly itself independent of Daring Doo and Equites.

Otherwise this is a well written short story.

#44 · 34w, 6d ago · · ·

A very good story

#45 · 3w, 3d ago · · ·

Very nice story.

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