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More Stories27

  • E Scootaling

    Scootaloo's a changeling. How will her friends react?
    12,695 words · 14,590 views  ·  1,700  ·  34
  • E Musicians and Dreamers

    Lunaverse. Octavia tries to recruit Lyra; Trixie doesn't trust her. Who will Lyra believe?
    20,745 words · 2,974 views  ·  227  ·  3
  • E A Present for Octavia

    Luna works with a castle page to find the perfect birthday present for Octavia
    4,825 words · 1,013 views  ·  158  ·  2
  • E Symphony for Moon and Sun

    Lyra must help Octavia play a piece of forbidden music. Both will be ruined if she fails.
    44,097 words · 2,413 views  ·  248  ·  6
  • E Luna's Night Off

    Luna takes a vacation and plays some hoofball
    4,289 words · 1,301 views  ·  159  ·  3
  • E Greengrass's Night

    Duke Greengrass schemes to force a vote the way he wants it
    12,468 words · 1,824 views  ·  127  ·  3
  • E The Music of Ponyville

    Octavia Philharmonica and her friends must obtain the Elements of Harmony to defeat an ancient evil
    72,534 words · 3,084 views  ·  188  ·  6
  • E A Canterlot Morning

    Octavia and Fleur talk about politics
    7,649 words · 2,054 views  ·  145  ·  4

Blog Posts174

  • Monday
    Rainbow Rocks

    4 comments · 60 views
  • 1w, 5d
    Antifantasy

    I try to keep a pretty open mind when I'm reading, and I do like to read a lot--at the last sci-fi convention I went to I wound up with over 30 new books--but there's one subset of the fantasy genre that consistently fails to work for me.

    I call it antifantasy, although I'm sure it has a more technical name somewhere. It's the fantasy equivalent of cyberpunk, except it lost a lot of the heart that cyberpunk had. Antifantasy stories are stories about how fantasy sucks. How magic is just a cheap shortcut that can't compare to building with your own hands. How superpowers can't help you solve any of the real problems in the world, like famine, bigotry, or the destruction of the world's ecosystems. How the dwarves are drunkards and the elves are vain and the vampires and werewolves are just pathetic sad-sacks begging to be put out of their misery.

    I don't understand these stories. If I'm picking up a fantasy story, I think it can be assumed that I like fantasy tropes. Why would I want to read 300 pages about how much fantasy is just cheap escapism for folks who can't handle the real world? Who, exactly, is the audience?

    The thing that brought this to mind was I stumbled across another review of "The Magicians", by Lev Grossman. Now, I've seen a lot of reviews for this book, and they're almost unanimously positive. And they all have pretty much the same summary: "The Magicians is about a guy who feels that his life lacks meaning, so he goes to magic school. And at first he's happy thinking that he'll become a great wizard who performs amazing heroics and saves the world. But then he realizes that wanting to be a great wizard is a pathetic, childish fantasy, and that the right thing to do is to give up on his dreams of being a hero and get used to dragging himself to a boring job he hates for the rest of his life. In the end, he learns that a real 'hero' is a happy, content cog in the machine. Only the vainglorious and the immature dream of anything more." And so the result is that every positive, glowing review of this book that I read makes me increasingly less inclined to read it.

    I mean, why would I? I like a lot of tropes associated with magic schools. I like reading about how ordinary people adapt to obtaining new powers, how they learn to use them, what setbacks they have, how they resist temptations to misuse them (or don't). I like reading about people who were once weak gaining powers and becoming more capable of defending themselves and those they care about. I like seeing the nerdy characters geek out at learning magical spell theory, and the athletic characters screaming in exhilaration as they learn to ride broomsticks. Ultimately, I like reading about the nascent heroes who become folks like Gandalf, Harry Dresden, and Harry Potter. If I didn't like those things, I wouldn't read books set in those environments. So why would I pick up a book about how Gandalf and the Harries are just immature tossers, and so am I, for daring to be entertained by them? Why would I want a book which says that the real hero of Harry Potter was Vernon Dursley, because while everyone else was gallivanting about and waving wands at each other, he dutifully attended to his job and didn't dare let himself feel even a hint of wonder or imagination?

    (Disclaimer: in case it's not obvious from the above paragraph, I have not read The Magicians. I'm just talking about the reviews of it that I read, since those reviews convinced me to never, ever get anywhere near this book. I suppose it's possible that all the reviews could be wrong. That said, unless someone I trust actually reads the book and tells me otherwise, I'm not going to pick it up. After all, there's loads of books out there with premises I don't dislike on principle).

    There's other examples too, and by some otherwise really good authors. I'm usually a huge fan of Carrie Vaughn, for instance. Her Kitty Norville series is spectacular, as are her YA works "Steel" and "Voices of Dragons." She's even one of two authors for whom I get up early on the day her books come out so I can buy them before I go into work and read them over lunch. (The other is Jim Butcher, if anyone cares). But she wrote an antifantasy duology set in a superhero universe, and--in my opinion--it was almost unreadable. The first book is called "After the Golden Age", and the title's an apt description. The protagonist is the daughter of the world's two greatest superheroes, but the only tangible result of that is that she's taken hostage a lot. She's estranged from her family, because all the superpowers in the world can't mend real issues like familial rifts. Yes, in this story, the golden age is indeed over, superheroes have lost their luster, and our protagonist just tries to muddle through her days without dealing with any superheroes, villains, or powers of any kind. (Suffice to say I haven't picked up the sequel.)

    "Hero", by Perry Moore, is another good example. The protagonist is the son of Batman (with a slightly different name to avoid copyright). But Batman was disgraced, because a mission went wrong and people died, and now he's a lowly factory worker who can only reminisce about the glory days and maim the occasional burglar. Meanwhile, the son also develops powers, but they won't help him deal with bigotry (he's gay), or redeem his family name, or anything else he really cares about. I got about 1/5 of the way into this one before giving up. Again, if I'm reading about superpowers, I want to read about superpowers being used for something, not about how superpowers are useless for anything that really matters. (I'm aware that this story was critically acclaimed and even won a Lambda award, but I just could not get into it.)

    And, for a more recent example, Sofia Somatar's "Selkie Stories are for Losers." It's a story about selkies, which means that it's calling the reader a loser right in the title. Smooth. And the story is pretty much just about how awful selkies are, how they leave broken families and shattered lives behind them, and how anyone who would ever want to hear about selkies must be out of their mind. Just what I want to hear when I sit down to read a story about selkies.

    (For those not up on your mythology: selkies are creatures that can change shape between a human and a seal body. They change shape by taking off or putting on their sealskin. Selkie stories usually feature a human stealing the skin and trapping the selkie in human form; the selkie then marries the human and raises a family with them, until one day they recover their skin. They then flee into the ocean, leaving the family behind. So yeah, out of the box they're pretty depressing, but interesting things can be done with them. They're not just for losers.)

    If I had to describe antifantasy in one word, it would be 'tired.' Because these stories always feel that way. They are stories that seem weary and beaten down, laden with cynicism, bitterly contemptuous of the idea that magic and whimsey could possibly affect anything real. They're stories that laugh at the reader for daring to seek enjoyment from them. They laugh, and then they lean in close to the reader and murmur that, while elves and werewolves and Kryptonians are all fine fantasies for a child, the reader is now an adult and should know that real problems can't be solved with a magical wand. They chide the reader for trying to enjoy genre fiction, ignoring that they themselves are genre fiction, and sigh that all the innumerable fantasy stories are just petty escapism, useless for anything except as diversions for fools who don't care to deal with reality.

    And, just speaking for myself, but when I go to read a genre story, I'd rather read one that doesn't insult me for it.

    That's about all I've got. Has anyone read books like this? Anyone know if there's a real term for it besides antifantasy? Any ideas as to why someone might like these?

    4 comments · 72 views
  • 7w, 9h
    You Can Call Me...

    Dr. GrassAndClouds2.

    I.e., the PhD thesis defense went well. :-)

    18 comments · 80 views
  • 7w, 6d
    Rejected Video Game Titles

    Five Nights with Fluttershy

    Rainbow Dash Six

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sparkle Princess

    Amnesia: A Machine for Pinkies

    Pacmare

    Luna: The Blue-ish Star

    Derpyronpa

    Dragon: The Bruce Cheerilee Story

    1 comments · 61 views
  • 17w, 4d
    Afterlife With Archie

    ...continues to be awesome.

    That is all.

    (Oh, and really looking forward to the forthcoming "Betty: RIP" arc!)

    0 comments · 114 views
  • ...
 184
 1,069
Source

Octavia Philharmonica has achieved everything she ever dreamed of. Thanks to her skill, talent, and friends, she has risen to the rank of Court Musician and has earned the right to perform for the Princess and the nobles as frequently as she could want. Yet the musical scene of Canterlot is never still, and she learns that a new musician is taking the city by storm. At first, Octavia's interest in the musician is merely professional, and she wants only to learn more about his new style of music. However, as she is drawn deeper into his concerts, she learns that this newcomer harbors a wicked secret, and his phenomenal success may have more to do with dark magic than music. Octavia will need to use all of her ability and strength to expose the truth and stop him, or the entire city may fall under his sway.


Though AU, the only thing you need to know from the setting (Lunaverse) is that Luna is raising both the sun and the moon. Anything else relevant will be covered in-story

First Published
5th Dec 2012
Last Modified
30th Dec 2012

New story!

I don't know about all of you, but I have a good feeling about Octavia's first rave. :-)

As for continuity, I see this as a tie-in. I do want some elements of it to be able to move into the canon episodes at some point (Paperweight and Metail especially), but since it doesn't really involve the L6 or M6, it's not a full episode.

As for when it is... originally, it was slated for S2, but there's nothing really placing it there besides the concept that Octavia has been the Court musician for 'a while' at this point. And time is fungible in MLP, like how it's only winter for one episode. So that's not a big deal, and I decided to write it now as a late-S1 tie in.

Out of curiosity, have you every heard anyone ask for someone's handograph?

Also...Kinda nervous with the summery there. Maybe I'm getting worked up over nothing...Or maybe you really are going to go that route.

Please don't go that route.

Premise sounds promising, will track this, good luck!

-Minty

>>1744449 The Batman:Fortunate Son route.

>>1744497: I haven't read it, although I've seen the AT4W review of it. Rest assured:

1. No one complains about capitalism or profit-seeking ruining art.

2. No one insinuates that an entire genre of music is bad. The problem is the one guy, not that metal itself is somehow corrupt.

The reason why it's a different genre than classical is that the new guy needs to be playing music Octavia isn't familiar with, or the story doesn't work.

>>1744501 So...we going to see other performers then?

>>1744513: There's a fair chance of that happening, yes. It'll be hard for Octavia to figure this guy out if she has no idea what non-evil metal is supposed to sound like in the first place.

>>1744527 Cool.

And you still haven't answerd my first question. Have you ever heard someone ask for a Handograph?

>>1744449

Left on forty-seventh, down into the bad neighbourhood.

>>1744529: No, but hoofograph sounds cooler than hoofprint. :-)

Well, as I've said before, you're better at writing music than any other author I know - that includes published ones, BTW. And this story has me officially intrigued.

I'll add it to the tie-ins section.

Interesting start. Bit rapid for my tastes but you've definitely intrigued me. Hope to read more soon and thanks for sharing.

Well, this is an interesting start. Can't wait to see where this goes...:twilightsmile:

did....did Octy get asked out on a date without realizing she was being asked out on a date?

I gotta admit, Octavia comes off as... arrogant and entitled sometimes concerning music. I don't exactly have perfect pitch, but I don't think I have to be as 'aware' of music as she is in order to buckin' compliment her without coming off like she thinks.

Anyway, goo start. Glad you're aware of Fortunate Son. Punk is not crime nor rage of the beast. :pinkiecrazy:

I'm loving this so far, as always the way you describe the music is fantastic.

The relationship that has clearly developed between Octavia and Luna is nice to see too. Being the court musician has worked out well for her.

I think the main issue with translating the Lunaverse into a traditional animated series would be finding someone as talented in making music as you are in writing it. I love your musician stories, can't wait to read more:pinkiehappy:

>>1744535 And...You couldn't just use autograph? You had to make a pony pun?

Also, I'm, hung up on the word choice of an inconsequential word in an entirely inconsequential scene. I...I feel the intense need to do something productive right now.

>>1745045: Heh. Octy doesn't know much about dates, that's for sure.

>>1745311: As the Court Musician (who also became a media name due to all the build up over the Symphony), she probably has to deal with a lot of suck-ups who want to use her to get close to Luna. I don't blame her for being a bit paranoid, although, yes, she may well take it too far.

>>1745565>>1745460>>1745038>>1744840>>1744554: Glad you all like it! :-)

Well, this seems off to a fairly good start. :twilightsmile:

>>1745045 Heh, I didn't even think of that!

So much to love about this story!

- Octavia is helping Luna raise the sun. That is just amazing. It's so sweet that Luna actually has somepony making her daily burden just a little bit lighter.

- Paperweight is adorable! He's so enthusiastic and excitable!

- Octavia is so classy. Arrogant, maybe, but she's in a position to be arrogant. She's basically won at life.

- Octavia dressed up for a rave is hilarious. Somepony needs to draw this.

- Thrash Metail. Seems awesome, but something is wrong, if he can make Octavia dance to music that she knows, knows is bad. I have a theory as to what's going on here...

So, yeah. Awesome start, I love it!

>>1749725: Glad you love it!

One note though: Paperweight is female. And I'm glad you like the character. I figured that Octy could use a hyper, silly, almost Pinkie-esque but slightly more sane, friend. :-D

I like Crescendo. She's cool. (And hopefully the name isn't already taken by a Daughter of Discord or something; if it is and I forgot, ping me and I'll change it).

Metail's kind of a jerk, I guess. Although he should have known better than to try to get Octavia to help him with lies. Honesty's kind of her thing. Well, that and awesome music.

And I really like Octavia's reaction at the very end there. She just got blasted with multiple hours of whatever it is Metail is doing... and she's still all, "Yeah, I'm gonna get to the bottom of this." She's a tough one.

heh. Hypnotic music. Nice.

Ooh...Metail's an evil bard! Awesome!

>>1756705

the real question is whether or not he is spoony as well

Spoony's an elitist self-aggrandizing deluded ass... So yeah seems like a good characterization to give for this guy.

Anyway, really interesting story. Odd how the mind control seems to be working. Would've thought it was a little more something to do with the crowds, though if there is a draining of energy angle that's really quite interesting indeed. Overall quite a well written story with a lot more ground to cover and an interesting story backing then whole thing up. Thanks very much for sharing and can't wait to read the more.

>>1756788 I thought he'd be more forky. :pinkiehappy:

Anyway, wow. He is seriously messing with Octy, here. Although I do agree with Crescendo's views on Octavia, how high she's got her muzzle in the air sometimes.

>>1757416

.....seriously? You do know the reference, right?

>>1757433 Yes, I know the reference. I was making a joke.

Badass musician is badass, I really love this rendition of Octavia, as well as how resistant she is to Metail's machinations.

She was familiar with such thoughts… she’d had them before. Thoughts of horrific inadequacy, of being a worthless failure. They were wrong then, and they were wrong now.

I'm guessing this is a reference to her kidnapping in her last story?

rhythmical (music/chant-based) magic always tends to be the most subtle and powerful, but not many can actually pull off describing it.

Alright, I'm going to put my guess out here now, but ROT13 in case I turn out to be right and it's a spoiler: Guenfu Zrgnvy vf hfvat gur nyvpbea nzhyrg.

You've written Octavia's integrity and discipline very well here, and it's such a sharp contrast when she loses it. It's a clear demonstration that something's going very wrong. She makes a very good point about the difference between "I think Thrash Metail is a good musician" and "I should recommend Thrash Metail to Luna and the Court". Thrash really doesn't know what it takes to be a successful musician, does he? He's been thrust into the heights of musical fame without working his way up the way a normal musician would, and he doesn't understand what he's supposed to do now.

Uh, oh. :twilightoops: Octavia, don't listen! :raritydespair:

Anyway, another good chapter. I like Octavia's integrity, and Metail is becoming more and more ominous. I guess I don't have any thoughts on Crescendo yet, but I guess we'll see what happens. It would be awful, though, if Octavia, without the creepy brainwashing stuff, viewed Crescendo's music objectively and didn't like it, and that furthered her impression that Metail is actually good at the genre. :twilightoops:

A dinner. He’s having a few business associates over for salad and pasta; they’re talking about building this big new dam in Latigo. It’s a really big deal – if it goes through, it’ll be one of the biggest dams in Equestria.

:pinkiehappy:

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam."

...

...

...

...

Sorry, couldn't resist.  Thought it was a dam shame no one took advantage of it.  :raritywink:

>>1756705: I love the idea of magic, particularly mental magic, crossed with music. Music is already a way to influence emotions, adding magic just makes things more awesome.

>>1757211: Glad you're enjoying it! And I'm also glad that Metail's characterization is working well for you.

>>1757416: Well, when she spends all her time focusing on the embodiment of the moon, I suppose it's only natural that she'd have her head in the clouds. :-)

>>1757542: Yes. Glad you appreciate Octavia's characterization as well.

>>1758088: No comment on the ROT13 stuff. :-) But yes, that's what I'm going for with Octavia. She loves his music, but she has too much integrity to recommend him based on that alone... and yeah, Thrash doesn't know how to deal with things like this. Not that he won't try, of course.

>>1758533: Glad you're enjoying it!

>>1758732: *badum-tish*

Well, Metail sure itrouble. I wonder why Crescendo is immune to his mind-affecting.

>>1762169: Stay tuned to find out! :-)

(Actually, there've been a couple of hints in the story already that it could probably already be deduced, but I'll spell it out more explicitly in a later chapter).

I apologize for any errors. I am practically a zombie due to a marathon day of flying that is not yet over.

Score one for Octavia! Hard work beats fraud every time, at least in pony land. And she defends Paperweight too from a couple lazy slackers. For that matter, I think Paperweight and Pinkie Pie would get along well.

Next time: Thrash plots his revenge, and Octavia goes to a real metal concert. Hijinks ensue -- I promise!

(Random note: on the legality of the spell, I don't know if it's legal or not (with permission) in mlp, but Octavia doesn't know either and is assuming that it is, hence her not bringing charges).

Looking forward to seeing what she thinks of Crescendo’s stuff.

Nice musical analysis by Octavia, straight up transcribing his music to study it.

Can't believe I'm about to say this... but go, Octavia! :rainbowdetermined2: I can so see her staying up all night to analyze his music. And yeah, I figured it was some sort of spell pretty early. :trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftleft: Great job on this one!

This was good, but I can't help but feel you kind of rushed Octavia's discovery a little quickly.  A bit more of her trying to figure things out and comparing other musicians in the same style first before confronting him seems like it might have made this a bit of a better story.  Overall though really solid writing and plotting though and thanks very much for sharing.

Hmmmm.......I wonder where it is that L!Twilight gets her annoying tendency to focus on trivial details at the expense of the point from. I might be wrong but I think I saw something that might point me in the right direction.

♪♪This Concert's going to be perfect....

>>1772191: It's perhaps worth noting that the pages don't really have an unbiased view of the guy.

>>1772308: I hope so!

>>1772098: I thought about it, but the chapter was running long already. Besides, Octy's metal revelations, I think, will come best experienced live.

>>1772030: Why were you not expecting to say it? She's the hero. :-) But I'm glad you liked it.

>>1771888: I think you'll like next chapter, then. :-) Glad you liked this one too.

I kind of wonder what Thrash is going to do now. I imagine it's going to be something more aggressive, but can't really guess much at the details.

Also, I only spotted one error, so I'd say your tiredness didn't impair your writing as much as you thought it might have.

Then I won’t keep you any longer. Best wishes, Octavia.”

There's only one quotation mark on this quote, rather than two.

False Metal is the worst kind of metal.

Metal should be pure.

>>1772586: Indeed. Fortunately, Crescendo has just the playlist for her. :-)

Always enjoy a good Octavia story, and you write her so well that I think I'll keep reading as many of these stories as you want to put out. Looking forward to seeing just what Thrash is up to and why he's so eager to get his hoof into the door in court. In fact he seems very specific about playing for Luna. While part of me figures this is just another random political scheme I think it'd be rather funny if Thrash just wanted to play for Luna because he's audacious enough to use it as an opportunity to hit on her.

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