• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen 8 hours ago

SaddlesoapOpera


Saddlesoap Opera is a Canadian Brony who loves to write and read fiction of nearly all kinds.

More Blog Posts51

  • 26 weeks
    New Fic!

    In keeping with the teaser I posted a while back, I have published my latest fic, The Once and Future Queen. It stars a throwback to the absolute earliest era of recorded Pony History -- decades before even Star Swirl and the Pillars -- but it takes place in modern Equestria. It will have thrills, chills, spills, and

    Read More

    2 comments · 69 views
  • 45 weeks
    Looking Ahead

    Happy New Year, gang!

    As we take yet another spin around the sun, I am focusing on the road ahead and its potential. Places to go, people to see, things to do, and fics to write. My output the past few years hasn't been great, but I'm still here and still doing my best to put out quality fanfics for the discerning enthusiast of fictional multi-coloured equines.

    Read More

    3 comments · 169 views
  • 75 weeks
    Buddy Boost!

    I wanted to take a moment to give a signal boost to my dear fellow writer Patchwork Poltergeist, whose excellent fic The Silver Standard just updated.

    Read More

    0 comments · 153 views
  • 81 weeks
    History Repeats: Retrospective

    Having passed the fourth anniversary of first posting one of my favourite works recently and having been asked about a sequel, I took the time to look back at History Repeats and explore my old notes and files and unused concepts.

    Read More

    21 comments · 392 views
  • 129 weeks
    Ask Saddlesoap: Resurrection: Awakening: Electric Boogaloo

    So, it's been ages and ages since I opened up the floor to the teeming masses of the pony-focused internet -- I figure it's time to see if anypony's still out there!

    Have a question about fic writing? About my stories? About my thoughts on characters, episodes, pony society, and so forth? Hit me up in the comments.

    7 comments · 333 views
Apr
24th
2017

History Repeats: Retrospective · 2:13am Apr 24th, 2017

Having passed the fourth anniversary of first posting one of my favourite works recently and having been asked about a sequel, I took the time to look back at History Repeats and explore my old notes and files and unused concepts.

Consider what follows the break to be potentially spoileriffic, and also to be a Blu-Ray Director's Commentary on some of the hidden jokes and references and deleted bits and pieces that didn't make the cut...



HIDDEN REFERENCES

Megan's session with her therapist slips in two small horse-related gags that I'm not sure anyone ever noticed.

First, her t-shirt: She wore torn blue jeans and a faded black t-shirt decorated with white block-letters that read KMFDM and GODLIKE above and below a harsh woodcut image of a hand reaching out to grab the world.
This refers to a specific cover image for a single by the industrial band KMFDM:

Now, apart from the obvious image of a larger-than-life human seizing a whole world and the subtle nod that Megan is perceived as "God-like" by the Ponies of Equestria, there is also track 3 on the 3-track single: Crazy Horses.

Second, the doctor's name. "Sewell" is an homage to someone who wrote about horses long before fimfic got online:


G1 REFERENCES
Megan's entire backstory is laced with copious references to the first generation of My Little Pony cartoons, from the Rainbow of Light and the Sunstone, to her many brushes with death facing the Smooze, Grogar, Katrina, Tirek and more, to Flutter Ponies, Ember, Majesty, Firefly, Posey, and the original Applejack.

This whole story was inspired by a look back at those surprisingly dark and action-packed cartoons, and wondering what so many near-death experiences and nerve-wracking, frantic adventures would do to a girl who wasn't even a teenager yet. When things were fun, it was a jolly adventure with talking animals and magic and dessert. When things went bad, they went BAD.

Megan Williams ducked a claw slash from a scaly monster that gouged a tree trunk in half in roughly her first 30 seconds in Ponyland, and the fun didn't stop there. She faced a satanic centaur, a world-drowning sludge flood, demented witches, giant bees, a slave-taking magical cat-woman addicted to power-boosting drugs, a pony-abducting ram overlord of a kingdom of shadows, and more. She watched ponies risk being ground to paste, burned alive, eaten, blasted to pieces, imprisoned forever, mutated into nightmarish monsters, and so very, very much more.

Don't let the frilly pantsuit and ice-cream parties fool you -- the ancient history of Ponykind made the present day threats seem positively tame at times.

While Applejack's transformation into a Sleipnir-like creature was my own idea, the use of the Rainbow of Light and Megan's words of power was a direct reference to Lord Tirek's use of the terrible Rainbow of Darkness to turn Ponies into his monstrous chariot steeds:

In retrospect, I find it amusing that The Smooze, Lord Tirek, and now even Grogar have all been referenced in G4. More and more, the suggestion that G1 was the ancient, pre-founding-of-Equestria past of G4 is shifting from headcanon to ... canon?


CUT CONTENT

I often create cover graphics and title pages during the early stages of brainstorming, to help me visualize and ponder where I want a story to go. As a result, sometimes I create graphics that don't end up getting posted.

First we have a picture of Smoozed Rarity which was originally going to feature in Chapter One (don't tell her I showed her looking this terribly un-fabulous!):

And next we have an alternate title graphic, dating back to when the fic's title was going to have the name I ended up giving to the first chapter:


Well, there you have it! A few insider details about a fic I truly enjoyed writing.

If you have any other questions or observations about History Repeats, or want to share your own reminiscences about the fic or about G1, feel free to comment below!

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 21 )

I personally consider this story to be The Last Human's little brother (little because it came later and is literally smaller in word count) because they're both G1-heavy stories that relish in the darker lore of the past gen and a human is a big deal.
Also, they both exist because one of us yelled at another one of us until the story existed.

Don't let the frilly pantsuit and ice-cream parties fool you -- the ancient history of Ponykind made the present day threats seem positively tame at times.

You wouldn't think so looking at them, but G4 redeems their villains rather than defeat them, while G1 just straight up ices fools left and right like it ain't no thang. Triek? Dead. Gem Wizard? Dead.
G4 Body count: One. (none if you count IDW bringing Sombra back to life and ruining him forever with literally the worst thing in the entire franchise no I am not over this that arc is bad and you should feel bad)
G1 Bodycount: five. Counting the comics, it's at least eight and I'm rounding down.

4507759

G1 just straight up ices fools left and right like it ain't no thang. Triek? Dead. Gem Wizard? Dead.

To be fair, that was the same decade that brought us Terminator, Aliens, Robocop, and Rambo. Seems to be par for the course.

4507759
If you include the books, Queen Majesty probably has a body count higher than everypony else put together!

4507759 4507795 4507819

It's all true.
25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma3yremMDX1rz9gauo3_1280.jpg

Also, nice someone mentions Majesty! In History Repeats, I was inordinately fond of this little play on words:

Megan stared in awe; the barding-clad white Alicorn was taller even than she was, and the warmth and splendour flowing off of her felt like the summer sun at noon. The resemblance to a Pony she’d once known was uncanny.

“...Majesty?”

“No need to be formal,” Celestia said, and offered a slight bow of greeting.

:pinkiehappy:

4507827
Oh, yes! I remember that bit. It was awesome! :pinkiehappy:

History Repeats is one of the my favorite stories on this site. If there ever is a sequel to it, I'm sure it will be something made of high quality. Thanks for all these little tidbits too!

Oh wow, very interesting retrospective. Thanks! :twilightsmile:

Would love to see a sequel to this wonderful story.

Hey hey, what about History Repeats meets Equestria Girls? Oh jo jo, that would be fun. :pinkiehappy:

My favorite part of this story was just how bad ass Pinkie was in it. She was just amazing.

4507965
Yeeeeeeesh! The sheer amount of dimension hopping involved makes my head spin... :derpyderp2:

4508566
She really was. :pinkiehappy:

The strong Earth Pony and Pegasus presence in the narrative was quite deliberate on my part. I noticed Unicorns and magic often win the day in the show, so I wanted the story to have a harder-won happy ending full of struggle and sacrifice. There is magic, but it has to be earned the TOUGH way. Grogar manipulating the Smooze recipe to absorb magic was absolutely there to curtail attempts at a Unicorn Ex Machina resolution.

4507827
That was a nice nod.
4509153
Those two things kind of counteract each other, don't they?
It's kinda what "Swarm of the Century" was.

4509153
Yea that is something I REALLY (emphasis on REALLY) wish the show would go into at least once with the Earth ponies. They really need an epsidoe to show off what makes Earth Ponies special in the show. Fliying and magic are so easy to see but what do Earth ponies really do that makes them special? I know that fans have made some good ideas on the subject but I do think that the show should have an episode where this gets addressed. I also think it should include Twilight who really should be wondering about how alicorns have all the races in them but you can only see two of them. What does the earth pony give to the mix

Part of my theory is that earth ponies actually have the most magic hence why I recall Tirek wen t after EPs in mass only after taking unicorns and Pegasi. This also would explain why he had to absorb the EPs before going after the even more powerful alicorns and why with a fully empowered Twilight that her power could not be just stolen but had to be taken with force or guile. EPs generally lack the ability to use their magic in a direct way however which means much of it is either uncontrolled, passive, or just leads to strange unexplained things (Pinkie is the most obvious of this and I personally like to think she is among the most powerful of EPs without even knowing it).

In all seriousness there have been times in the show where the EP almost seem like second class citizens though not necessarily on purpose. I think this would make for a great moral on the show and could expand the world a bit.

This led to me reading - well, power reading - the last few chapters again. Gosh, I remember that being a fun ride. And I always do enjoy when someone avoids Princess in Distress syndrome which you did a fairly good job of.

Lessee, questions, questions...oh! If Meghan hadn't shown up, what is your alternate timeline? Do the ponies win or does Grogar stomp everything into sad oblivion? :pinkiegasp:

4509639
If you mean focusing on Earth/Pegasi and a magical resolution, not necessarily. It's not the use of magical what-have-you that mildly irks me in the show, it's the EASE of its use. A lot of times issues are settled with a flick of the horn in the last minute or two, and it sometimes feels a bit abrupt and disconnected. If there's gonna be a grand magical whammy, I want it to be the culmination of a long and difficult path to victory.

4509779
It has been my go-to in my fiction (and increasingly, on the show!) that Earth Ponies are supernaturally strong compared to the other tribes, and also significantly more durable. Earth Pony Strength is even mentioned during the Tirek affair.
Compare AJ mostly harmlessly face-planting over and over during Applebuck Season to Twilight's bandaged injuries after her own pratfalls in Feeling Pinkie Keen. Take a look at Cheerilee shattering walls and Big Mac dragging a BUILDING during Hearts and Hooves Day.
Combine that physical empowerment with an innate, subtle, somewhat Druid-like command over nature and plants, and you have a nice level of competition with flight/weather and horn-magic.

4509873
I imagine the Ponies would have figured a way out of it eventually, but it might have been a lot more arduous, with far worse casualties. They might have gone for the nuclear options Discord proposed and dealt with the collateral damage. Or perhaps they'd try to reach through time and call forth a certain murderously magical Unicorn Queen to settle Grogar's hash....

4509779
It was kinda ugh hearing Pinkie, an Earth Pony, say that Flurry Heart was "a unicorn and a pegasus!".
4510309
Pegasus crashes tend not to do anything, either. "RD crashes and unshelves all the books" being a repeated example.

4510336
Yeah, Pegasi seem pretty resilient to flying impacts, but also, it's worthy of note that some of the only speaking-role characters we've seen get hospitalized for extended periods with injuries are Pegasi -- Soarin' and Dash.

Either way, for EP, the STRENGTH aspect seems the most prominent, even if most Earth Ponies would never bring their might to bear against a living soul. Earth Pony Strength is not for hurting.

4510309 Bringing back Majesty would certainly be hardcore.

...It would be amusing if reaching through time is what really happened to the Sun Stone, and it just got yanked far into the future.

4510382
not for hurting? AJ (and RD) seem prone to bucking threats.

4512016
Indeed!

And we've never once seen AJ bring to that full, preternatural, apple-tree-emptying strength to bear in caving in an opponent's chest cavity, now have we? Only "conventional" levels of exertion...

4510382

Pinkie PIe's Gatling Twilight seems like it's in opposition to the statement, too.

4512382
If you think that's a counter-example, I'm not certain you're on the same page as me, here.... :applejackunsure:

I'm not suggesting they're pacifists. I am SPECIFICALLY referring to the apparently magical extremes of Earth Pony strength.

Think of it like Chewbacca in Star Wars -- Wookiees actually have HUGE retractable claws, and Chewie could have FILLETED his enemies in gruesome fashion using them instead of using his bowcaster or just pummelling and throttling as we see in the movies. But among his kind, using one's tree-climbing claws for violence is seen as a sign of dire madness and is deeply taboo.

We see Earth Ponies fight all the time, but we DON'T see them use strength that can drag entire buildings while they do it. Because their magical gift is for honest work, not for bloodshed.

See what I'm getting at?

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!