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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.

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Review and Endorsement: JoeShogun's Nine Days Down · 2:34pm Oct 7th, 2017

One thing I wish I did more often was recommend stories that I've found enjoyable. I've long felt that one of the responsibilities of being a well-known author in this fandom is to use your platform to highlight new and upcoming authors. Few things annoy me more than finding a writer with thousands of followers who does nothing with their page except highlight their own stories – we get it, you're a popular author. Try and do something good with that popularity.

But, like I said, I don't do that very often, which makes me something of a hypocrite. So today I'd like to highlight an entertaining, inspiring and exciting adventure that does far more to build the world of Equestria and Tartarus than nearly any other story I've read.

That's right: we're reading JoeShogun's Nine Days Down.

What is it about stories with the Dark and Adventure tags that scare readers so? This outstanding story, which has been in production for the past two years, has yet to break the one-thousand reader mark, which is simply criminal. If this blog post accomplishes nothing more than getting the 37-some more views this story needs for that milestone, I'll call it time well spent.

In brief, Nine Days Down follows Twilight and Celestia as they find themselves cast down into Tartarus, the prison-land that we've seen glimpses and hints of in the show but never enough to sink our teeth into. JoeShogun fills in the gaps with a detailed land of his own creation, an elaborate underworld filled with violent and despairing inhabitants. He leans on Greek mythology, with occasional diversions into Irish legends, and the result in a compelling, chilling vision of a hateful place that has forgotten things like friendship. Indeed, the greater part of the story is Twilight's struggle to live up to her own ideals in such a hellish place, and her ultimate victory or defeat is predicated on whether or not she can.

The central conceit of JoeShogun's Tartarus is that it's the dumping place for all the things that were too dangerous or evil for Equestria. The story spends a not-inconsiderable amount of time pondering the ethics of exiling entire species, condemning them and their descendants to an eternity of brutality simply because they didn't mesh with the whole Harmony thing. Immortality, in its various flavors, plays a major part in the story, along with Twilight's struggles to accept the possibility of living forever while, at the same time, trying not to die at any given moment.

Because this is a pony story, friendship and redemption are the motive factors that eventually result in success or failure – we see each outcome. But what I love about this story, and what I try to do in my own writing, is make sure that each character gets the ending the deserve. That's not always a happy ending (readers of my stories will grasp this immediately), but it's the ending that's correct for them. It's the ending they deserve, the ending they want, even if it's not a happy ending (or even survival). It's an older style of writing, out of tune with the 20th Century's focus on Realism and the vagaries of life, but I was thrilled to see it at work here.

If you have time, and the desire to read a fantastic rending of Equestria's dark side, I cannot recommend this story enough. You won't be disappointed.

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Comments ( 13 )

Seconding everything Cold in Gardez says above. Go read this, folks, it's a really great adventure!

Thanks for the reccommendation. Adventure-Dark does scare me away sometimes (too much edge), but this looks awesome.

What is it about stories with the Dark and Adventure tags that scare readers so?

It get's used by people with no idea what they're doing. A lot. I will be checking out this story though.

Hmm, I dunno. I'm sure it's good, but it kinda looks like a toned-down version of Twilight's Inferno to me. Now that is a dark adventure.

What is it about stories with the Dark and Adventure tags that scare readers so?

The "worked on for two years" and "137,080 words" might have something to do with it as well. That's daunting for folks with not a lot of time on their hands to pick up well into its run, when they haven't been following from the start.

Brilliant story, one which I give my highest recommendation. Those last few chapters were brutal but so very rewarding. And the ending was quintessentially MLP, far more true to the spirit of the series than any hundred other non-dark stories. Great, great stuff.

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I wasn't aware of it, so thanks for the pointer! Pleasant surprise that it's actually complete so I can add it to my RIL right away rather than Tracking for a maybe-someday read.

Feel free to point out any others... :twilightsmile:

Thanks for plugging this, getting recommended an already finished 100k+ Adventure story is a rare and delightful treat.

Excellent, I was hoping you'd signal boost it. Utterly enthralling story, folks, and it absolutely earns both of its tags without breaking the spirit of the show.

Might as well check it out, it looks interesting.

Thanks for using your page to spread the word on new stories. Though my list of things to read, or even finish reading, is quite long, there's *always* room for more. Particularly one suggested by a trusted author!

If I may, I'd like to suggest something for you.

It's called Pandemic, and if you haven't seen it yet I think it's really quite good.
I'm not the author of this, but I've fallen heavily for it. It's neither dark nor adventure, though I think it could be tagged for both. About half of the story involves HiE which I usually want nothing to do with. In this case, they've made it work quite well, and explored a concept I don't recall having seen anywhere else on the site.

To the pile it goes!

Already in my queue -- but between your recommendation and its RCL feature, it'll certainly be bumped up a fair bit now.

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