Anthologies Also Containing My Words

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Project List

In approximate priority order.

LAST UPDATE: 2015/07/19

Set up Mantis bugtracker for writing projects - Because my (lack of) editing strategy isn't working.

Post Writeoff minifics to shorts collection - Organized Chaos, Granny Knows Best

Mark of Destiny [HiE] - 8000 words - Status: POST-WRITEOFF EDITING. (last touched: 7/15)

A Butterfly, Dreaming [Slice of Life] - 5500 words - Status: NEEDS POST-WRITEOFF EDITING. (last touched: 6/27)

My Faithful Student [Tragedy] - 7000 words - Status: NEEDS POST-WRITEOFF EDITING. (last touched: 4/15)

The Case of the Cowled Changelings [Mystery] - 5800 words - Status: EDITING TARTARUS. (last touched: March)

Hard Reset 2: Reset Harder [Dark] [Adventure] [AU] - Status: CHAPTER IN PROGRESS, ~4000 words written. (last written: November)

Thou Goddess annotations - Status: UNSTARTED.

The Sun Birds [Adventure] - 750 words written - Status: NEEDS MAJOR EXPANSION. (last written: 6/2014)

Hitchhikers Chapter 7 - 1.5k words written - Status: BACKBURNERED (last written: 8/2013)

Haylander: The Longest Night [Adventure] [Crossover] - 20k words - Status: BACKBURNERED (last written: 8/2013)

Haylander: Origins [Adventure] [Crossover] - 11k words - Status: ON HIATUS (waiting for H:TLN)

Starting Points

  • Thou Goddess Scansion wakes up to find beautiful poems he doesn't remember writing. Is the lonely goddess of the night reaching out to him in the only way she can, or is he chasing shadows? by horizon 5,174 words · 3,877 views · 534 likes · 13 dislikes
  • The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon In his influential analysis of the coup d'etat that would become known as the Rutting Revolution, Curly Marks wrote that history repeats itself — "the first time as tragedy, the second time as Prince Blueblood." by horizon 8,908 words · 2,183 views · 231 likes · 4 dislikes
  • Quiet Boy and Moon Horse A young man falls in love with the beautiful dark alicorn who moves the moon. But she's a fictional character … isn't she? by horizon 6,000 words · 3,505 views · 492 likes · 22 dislikes
  • The Iridescent Iron Rat Equestria's golden age of Harmony has virtually eliminated crime, but one of the few "rats" who can still slip through the cracks is planning a billion-bit heist. If only he hadn't made the mistake of stealing from a dragon … by horizon 9,423 words · 1,724 views · 318 likes · 6 dislikes
  • Fugue State When a barrage of musical numbers hits Ponyville, Lyra's fear of their mind-altering properties strains her relationship with Bon Bon to its breaking point. by horizon 7,097 words · 3,640 views · 440 likes · 4 dislikes

Recent Stories

  • T Quiet Boy and Moon Horse

    A young man falls in love with the beautiful dark alicorn who moves the moon. But she's a fictional character … isn't she?  · horizon
    6,000 words · 3,505 views  ·  492  ·  22
  • T This Is Not An Adventure Clyde Adventure: A Story About Twilight Sparkle

    Spike writes disturbing stories about an alicorn stalker. Twilight Sparkle's cheeks occasionally burst into flames.  · horizon
    4,164 words · 477 views  ·  79  ·  6
  • T The Last Dreams of Pony Island

    The colony of Myinnkyun is tearing itself apart after the suspicious death of an old merchant. Piece together its final days from the dreams of its inhabitants.  · horizon
    4,753 words · 871 views  ·  131  ·  7 · sex
  • E If You Can't Beat 'Em…

    Twilight has important friendship problems to solve. However, that's hard to do with a "reformed" villain following you around all day.  · horizon
    1,190 words · 2,668 views  ·  358  ·  6
  • E The Kindest Silence

    What if Rainbow Dash never existed to shape six lives with her Sonic Rainboom?  · horizon
    7,099 words · 1,073 views  ·  124  ·  5
  • T Verse Averse: Tales of the Versebreakers

    When musical mayhem threatens Equestria, the brave and misunderstood ponies of the Versebreakers are on the job. Ten music-themed stories by eight talented authors.  · horizon
    24,898 words · 985 views  ·  145  ·  2
  • E The Iridescent Iron Rat

    Equestria's golden age of Harmony has virtually eliminated crime, but one of the few "rats" who can still slip through the cracks is planning a billion-bit heist. If only he hadn't made the mistake of stealing from a dragon …  · horizon
    9,423 words · 1,724 views  ·  318  ·  6
  • T Hearth Swarming Eve

    When a changeling army arrives amid preparations for the Hearth's Warming pageant, it's up to Rarity to match wits with Queen Chrysalis and save the holiday.  · horizon
    15,059 words · 1,341 views  ·  211  ·  5
  • T Report 34

    When they discover that the Elements of Harmony have created involuntary emotional cross-contamination inside Princess Twilight, two changelings hatch a ticklish plot to force the truth out of her.  · horizon
    4,105 words · 1,566 views  ·  80  ·  7 · sex

More About Me

The fantastic colors of the liminal.  The eternal dream of the elsewhere.  A hoof ever in both worlds.

        Has never embedded hidden messages in white-on-white text.

When not in Equestria, known as Baxil, suburban dragon.

I'm one of the curators of the Royal Canterlot Library, spotlighting the fandom's best stories.  I'm also a regular medalist (and former champion) of the Writeoff Association competitions.  I write in Scrivener and recommend it highly.  If you've studied Anglo-Saxon I'd like your help.  


WALL OF EGOBOO

"I made the mistake of reading Quiet Boy and Moon Horse in the corner of the cafe … then I had to leave, because tearing up in public is not exactly the image to project at snooty Southern Law School. Christ, I had forgotten your powers." –Cynewulf

"Winning writeoffs is kind of [horizon's] superpower." – Bookplayer

"In what world do I have more followers than you?  … You are one of the 'holy crap I want to be that good someday' people." –SPark

"[Thou Goddess] is ultra-romantic writing at its finest, wickedly clever, perfectly written, with a beautiful measure of desperation." –Soge

"Note to self:  Do not read really good ponyfic right before trying to post some of your own.  Invariably crises of comparison will result." –Skywriter, on Hard Reset 2

"You're the best kind of bastard." – Eakin

"Horizon rewriting 'My Immortal' is, unironically, a better story than things appearing in the feature box." – Bradel

"[No Regrets] is incredibly well done." – Daetrin

"The first thing I thought upon reading Hitchhikers was that the gods of ponyfiction … had smiled upon me." – Ezn

"Horizon, like Ray Bradbury in 'The October Country,' has a knack for writing things that are sweet, funny, and creepy-sad at the same time." – Bad Horse


FURTHER PONY READING

Since I'm a regular participant in the monthly Writeoff Association competitions, you can read (early and rough versions of) my upcoming works there.

Back in 2012, most of my writing time went into Dark Side Of The Moon, a MLP/D&D forum-based game I ran to completion.  It got literary.  

My favorite moments players contributed to game: We learn how Daylight Savings Time nearly restarted the Celestial War … Luna goes undercover for a day (a major inspiration for Hitchhikers) … Gemini Star fights a dragon and her doubts … Luna has a breakdown … Flare Star quits the Guard to serve justice.


FURTHER NON-PONY READING

If you can't wait for me to scribble more ponyfic, I've written several hundred thousand words (in short stories and novellas) set in The Tomorrowlands Universe, an alternate Earth in which the sudden (re)appearance of mythical creatures and magic sent history into a screaming left turn ca. 1996.  Start with:

Dangerous Waters [Slice-of-Life] (7,375 words) - In search of a therianthrope homeland that doesn't exist, the New Atlantis Project has decided to take the next logical step: Make one. This article follows the crew of the MV Discovery on one of their expeditions to test the feasibility of raising a new island in the South Pacific.

Change Of Mind [Tragedy] (7,600 words) -  An idealistic and driven mage, Alethea, has just hit the jackpot: a spell that lets people consciously modify the behaviors that are causing problems in their life. But once those problems start to follow her home, she has to figure out if she's really prepared to accept the price she's paying to change the world for the better.

Dinosaur Gods [Slice-of-Life] (5,600 words) - It's just another day at work for a tour guide at New Atlantis' foremost museum — until one of his guests starts smiling at the 65-million-year-old statue known as the Atacama Dragon. Nobody smiles at the Atacama — adults go silent at its aura of ineffable importance, and kids find it a boring hunk of rock …


New usericon: horizon art by Onnanoko, recolored and modified by Arcum42. (Thanks also to Southpaw.)

Stories You Haven't Read But Should (Short Form)

  • To Endure Every immortal has her first love. And every immortal has her first loss. by Shamus_Aran 7,351 words · 1,934 views · 67 likes · 1 dislikes
  • The Canterlot Embassy An eccentric team of political operatives must race to prevent a war between technology and magic. by Guesswork 16,183 words · 2,882 views · 151 likes · 10 dislikes
  • The Equestrian Spring Nine months was all it took for one earth pony to put Princess Celestia on the defensive. by Chocolate Milk 25,005 words · 1,609 views · 81 likes · 5 dislikes
  • What If Socks Didn't Work Orally? Twilight Sparkle forgets to take her medicine one day and pursues a hazardous quest of holistic introspection. Milk, socks, griffin cuisine and toilet humor are contemplated. by Fiddlebottoms 4,591 words · 2,364 views · 160 likes · 5 dislikes
  • Erase and Rewind Two ponies, equally but uniquely flawed, must decide if they have enough wits between them to cobble together a stable family. A story about trust, loss, severe neurological disorder, and ice cream. by DuncanR 11,118 words · 1,482 views · 202 likes · 3 dislikes

Stories You Haven't Read But Should (Long Form)

  • These City Walls A series of mysterious circumstances leads the Canterlot Police to discover a plot as old as time. by KitsuneRisu 137,257 words · 1,137 views · 49 likes · 2 dislikes
  • fyre-flye The crew of Sereinity travels the fringes of the 'verse, salvaging and trying to avoid feds. by uhrora 55,057 words · 1,363 views · 67 likes · 2 dislikes
  • The Mare in the High Castle Under the eternal moonlight, a hoofful of strangers cross paths on the streets of Canterlot, capital of the Empire of the Moon, over the course of one eventful day. by ponichaeism 161,695 words · 1,910 views · 131 likes · 13 dislikes
May
17th
2016

I had meant to write a blog post that tortuously wound around to the tagged story, but while I was typing, I got a PM:

Illya Leonov has just posted a lovely reading of Quiet Boy and Moon Horse.  Illya's smooth, deep voice is a beautiful complement to the fic, and I'm in awe that my story has now moved enough hearts to spawn two fantastic readings from top-tier audioreaders.

(The rest of this ends up relevant to QB&MH too, I promise.)


I just had the most amazing two-hour conversation with darf (in a way that might surprise people who are fans of his porn but not his poetry).  We have both, it turns out, had a pretty eventful year — darf moreso than I — and in the course of catching up on that, our conversation ranged through identity and metaphysics in a way that I'm probably going to be unpacking for a while.

Take, for example, the question that was posed to me in the context of explaining some of my hallucinogen experiences: "Do you consider yourself a contrarian?"  I don't.  I really don't, but ... "I would say no," I responded, "except for the fact that just last night I put away the overcoat I wear to conventions, which has two buttons on its lapel ..."

"Professional Authority Questioner" is the best job title

I'm not a contrarian at heart, I tried to explain.  I'm a trickster.  Sort of?  But I've never felt comfortable being pigeoned in that hole, because I've got too much empathy to wholeheartedly embrace the archetype.  Regardless, there are a lot of aspects to that path that do resonate with me (*).  I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone who has read my inaugural Pony Fiction Vault feature or my infamous Writeoff causality-breaking meta-entry, but I love subverting expectations and broadening people's horizons.  

I should add, relatedly, that I'm a hobbyist Tarot reader ... but I'm much better at it drunk than I am sober.  (That's not just my opinion, that's the assessment of pretty much everyone I've read for.)  This is because when I'm sober, I take it seriously.  Getting drunk allows me to set aside the inner editor that normally keeps a tight filter on what I communicate, and go into a state that is nominally stream-of-consciousness but more "maximum bullshit mode".  It becomes a sort of interactive performance art, spinning a narrative out of the cards and the shreds of context I wheedle from my mark victim client, cuing off of weird associations just to keep the yarn spinning, freewheeling and twisting and dodging through the threads of fate until I've accidentally woven a tapestry behind me.

(And sometimes when I open myself up to fate For Entertainment Purposes Only™, the joke's on me, and that's amazing and hilarious.)

Anyhow: so it was, as darf and I wound down the conversation, I found myself slipping sideways into Maximum Bullshit Mode and proclaiming (with the mischievous certainty of someone painting himself into a corner to see how he'll escape this time):

"Illusion and authenticity are not necessarily incompatible."

"Whoah," darf said, and said he was looking forward to hearing me justify that, and I think I kind of am too.  :pinkiecrazy:  However, as I was thinking about what sort of argument I could make to back up that statement, I realized:

I've already written it.

Quiet Boy and Moon Horse (which, to close the temporal circle here, Present Perfect just reviewed and highly recommended) is a story that has received both praise for its raw power and confusion over its theme.  As PP said: "Honestly, at the end, I'm not sure what this story is about — the power of imagination? Positive thinking and totems as a means to overcome hardship and mental illness?"  Titanium Dragon's review disagreed: "At its heart, this is fundamentally the story of a young boy seeking solace in a fantasy, trying not to be unhealthy about it, but failing at that anyway, and the joys and struggles it brings him."  For my own part, I was too busy arguing that it simultaneously is and isn't a pony story to address the question.

But if I can put on my Author Face for a moment, the core of this story isn't about whether Quiet Boy is wrong or right, healthy or unhealthy — it's about a deeper statement, one which most succinctly crystallized in one of the story's later conversations:

Her smile fell a notch, then stabilized and crept back upward.  "Come on," she said.  "We both put in an awful lot of work for [this to be] a fictional relationship, don't you think?"

"That's because …"  He flailed for words.  "You're important.  Fictional but important."

He felt a phantom pressure at his side as she settled in against him.  "Am I now?"

"Of course you are.  Look at all the ways you've changed my life."

Moon Horse smirked.  "I meant, do you really think I'm fictional, but I think your last sentence answered that."

Quiet Boy is making a distinction here that Moon Horse doesn't buy.  However, I do — and I submit he's right to make it, and Moon Horse's sidestep is an example of her failing him.  It's absolutely no coincidence that that is the scene in which their relationship fractures.

"Fictional but important" is such a crucial concept, not just to Quiet Boy and Moon Horse but to fiction in general and human life in general, that we have a word for it: Mythic.  A myth is a fiction that matters.  A myth is a fiction that changes lives, and thus, transcends mere fiction to become something that is real in effect if not necessarily origin.

You can't reach out and touch a myth.  It's illusionary.  But it reflects something inside of us, something important and true — and the stories that we turn into our personal myths are the ones that define us, and the ones that act through us to literally shape the world.  

When a brony pauses before cussing out a customer after a long day at work, thinks "That's not what Fluttershy would do," and takes a deep breath before speaking with a smile, fiction has made the world a better place.  When we weep at a story we read, because it has provoked a healing catharsis or pushed us out of our comfort zone or triggered some empathy that leaves us determined to help someone in similar straits, fiction has made the world a better place.  (That, I think, is the highest possible goal of fiction.)   That's not to say all myths are positive — "nobody cares about me" is a fiction that has ended a terrifying number of lives — but there, again, is an illusion (with no more basis in physical fact than Fluttershy or Moon Horse) that has become so real that it overwhelms facts, and changes the world more effectively than things we can point to or touch.

That's the kind of power our myths — our illusions — can have.

And when that intersects with identity ... I don't think it's a stretch to say that the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves are, in a fundamental and literal way, us.  I call myself a dragon; you might call yourself an author or a student or a Republican or a husband or an atheist, but in the end all of those things tell us what we value in ourselves, and that's about story, not fact.  

For example, a college friend of mine identified sincerely as Jewish, despite the fact that he made a point of celebrating Passover by eating a ham-and-cheese-on-matzo-bread sandwich, breaking as many Jewish dietary laws as possible: how is that identity anything but factually false and yet fundamentally correct?

(Contrast with something that is merely factually true: You and I are both biological machines that run by processing organic matter into poop, but I'm pretty sure nobody in the history of ever has built an identity as a poop-generating machine.)  

That's the distinction I was getting at with illusionary and authentic.  "Illusion" just measures factuality, and factuality is an awfully poor yardstick when it comes to authenticity.  Often, the best way to be true to yourself is to be true to the stories about who you try to be.

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#244 · 3w, 5d ago · · ·

[1] "The Aleph in the Mirror" was pretty cool. Also, hey, headnotes!>>2190658

Oooh, is that the game? Huh. I dunno, I usually find hidden messages pretty passe—except for that one time.

This is a link. Too bad you won't be able to click on it.

Well... And maybe that other time, too.[1]

#243 · 3w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2190260

Pulled what off?  Inside joke?  What?

                                    hidden text

>>2190644

I'm beginning to suspect that maybe horizon and Super Trampoline use the dark-on-light FIMFiction theme and think they're being clever.

#242 · 3w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2190260

What's really fascinating is just how awful you can get with this stuff. It's like nobody's ever figured out how to really hide text before. Or maybe they have. Maybe they've been doing it all along, and no one has ever known. Maybe I've been doing it all along. Who can say? Bad Horse might be able to say. I am Bad Horse, after all. And here you thought he let me take my username back; you don't realize we've been the same person all along.

Sorry, suppose I probably ought to have given you a ping.

#241 · 3w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Some Is there a thing going on I didn't know about?

of us

are Horizon, are you messing around with people again?

much

meaner That's not a very magic-of-friendship thing to do, you know.

than

others.But you're a dragon. What would you know about friendship, anyway?

#240 · 3w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2190260 You're going to highlight everything of mine you read for days, aren't you? ;-}

[ ObContext ]     … not to be confused with ObsContext

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