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Let R = { x | x ∉ x }, then R ∈ R ⟺ R ∉ R... or is it?

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Ideas I will not be writing #2: Starlight Gambit · 10:53am Mar 14th, 2016

Tell me, dear readers and writers, have you ever heard of Nikolai Gogol? Yeah, another one of those classic writers you never cared about.

What if I told you, that he wrote what could well become a fascinating piece of My Little Pony fanfiction?

This idea came to me when I noticed, that in the first episode of the series, Pinkie is not on Twilight’s checklist. Applejack does the catering for the festival, Rainbow Dash takes care of the weather, Fluttershy is in charge of the music, Rarity is in charge of the decorations, and Pinkie… Pinkie just inserts herself into the narrative by forcing a party on Twilight for no apparent rhyme or reason. When discussing it with Thainen, he suggested that this is a deliberate part of the “conspiracy” – Pinkie’s not charged with anything because her role is explicitly to “SURPRISE!” Twilight.

But wait a minute, who said it has to be Celestia’s conspiracy? Doesn’t it look more like a conspiracy of the Ponyville ponies?… And that’s why I remembered Gogol…

Gogol is primarily famous for his satire, and one of his most famous books is called The Government Inspector. It basically goes like this: In a small town, a bunch of corrupt officials receives word that they are to be visited by a government inspector. They immediately start covering up their various dirty dealings, when they receive word that a stranger likely to be such a government inspector has arrived into town already, and immediately set out to placate him, without even telling him who they believe him to be. It takes him a while to even figure out why the town officials are so deferential to him, but eventually he starts exploiting this to the fullest. Eventually he gets away scot-free minutes before being exposed… and then the real government inspector shows up, stunning the town officials into one of the most famous silent scenes in the history of theater.

So how does this work with ponies? Oh, kind of like this:

True to Celestia’s advice that she must get out of those dusty old books, Twilight tells Celestia off in the most polite manner possible, and goes to Moondancer’s party instead. She’s out of the story for a while.

At the same time, the citizens of Ponyville are well aware that somepony will arrive to the town to inspect their festival preparations, and possibly dredge up other sins they may or may not be guilty of. Applejack’s been mooching off farm subsidies, Fluttershy’s been leeching money into her animal shelter, Rarity was swindling rich vacationing Canterlotians because she wants to get out of this dump and make it big, and Rainbow Dash has been slacking on the job. They would rather make sure the inspector sees everything in the best possible light and doesn’t try to dig any deeper – pony-scale sins they may be, shame is shame.

Suddenly, Pinkie rushes in, telling them she just met a new pony, obviously a highly educated, magically powerful unicorn… Going by the name Starlight Glimmer.

And all of the Mane 5 rush in, trying to be her new best friend…

When all is said and done, and Starlight Glimmer skips town after successfully defeating Nightmare Moon, convinced that she doesn’t really have any friends here, that all that happened was just a case of mistaken identity that went extraordinarily lucky for her, Twilight Sparkle shows up with a real inspection.

One more thing I won’t be writing due to lack of time, but maybe someone’s going to pick it up…

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Comments ( 6 )

Awesome. For your next challenge: ponify Dead Souls!


I thought about it. While The Government Inspector works, because we know ponies do have bureaucracy and local government, which can be funny all on its own, regardless of who runs it, Dead Souls are kind of problematic, because it relies much harder on the notion of serfdom, the idea that a person can legally exist and be the object of a business deal when actually dead. The problem would be replacing it with something ponies could be believed to have.

I don't think the sheep quite cut it. :)

I had a similar idea, but instead of Starlight Glimmer, I imagined Trixie (who came to Ponyville earlier than she did in the canon) in Khlestakov's role. They are both quite boastful.


Both work, depending on spin. I thought about Starlight, rather than Trixie, though, because for her, the final note of such a story, the (false) affirmation that she has not gained any friends in the process, would be more dramatic. Trixie generally appears not to desire friendship quite as much, even though she would be a better Khlestakov.

have you ever heard of Nikolai Gogol

Yes, I have, because-
-I picked that up long ago but have not yet read it.

Does give me an idea based on a different Russian author, though, "Sombra's Zembla". One wouldn't expect to be able to hide an entire country just to keep its treasures safe, would one?


Does give me an idea based on a different Russian author, though, “Sombra’s Zembla”. One wouldn’t expect to be able to hide an entire country just to keep its treasures safe, would one?

Been done. Stealth canon, even. :)

There’s an interesting region on the current official map, marked as “Undiscovered West.” It is never referred to in text, but notably, maps before a certain period don’t have the peninsula at all, and it’s way too big to be simply missing.

Both maps have made it into the primary canon – the first one, with no peninsula, appears in Pinkie Pride verbatim during Cheese Sandwich’s song. The second one turns up in On Your Marks, where the map Apple Bloom uses is a direct trace of the official map. There is no explanation given anywhere.

iisaw in particular uses this fact in his Celestia Code trilogy.

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