News Archive

  • Friday
    RandomNPC's "Winning, and the pitfalls therein." [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Give today's story a chance to conquer your heart.

    Winning, and the pitfalls therein.
    [Comedy] [Random] [Alternate Universe] • 42,517 words

    What if the villains were allowed to win without a fight? Would all of their plans bear them the fruits they so desired?

    Probably not, especially when their royal adviser is Twilight Sparkle.

    A collection of (continuous) one-shots in which our heroes don't have any epic fights with villains, and simply allow the power of logic to crush all of the hopes and wishes of the would-be rulers of Equestria.

    FROM THE CURATORS: "It's a question every would-be tyrant has to face eventually," FanOfMostEverything quipped in our discussion.  "You've conquered the kingdom/world/galaxy/universe. Congratulations. Now what?"

    Read More

    6 comments · 404 views
  • 1 week
    Piccolo Sky's "The Sweet Spot" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will hit the spot for fans of the MLP movie.

    The Sweet Spot
    [Drama] • 15,679 words

    The Cutie Mark Crusaders have dealt with all kinds of ponies having trouble finding their true calling in life, but none can compare to the special request they receive from Princess Twilight Sparkle herself, or the shock they receive on discovering who it is: Fizzlepop Berrytwist, possibly the most hated and feared pony in generations. Can a pony who's spent most of her life rejecting her true calling possibly find it now? Can the Cutie Mark Crusaders help a pony who almost everypony else in Equestria has rejected?

    Read More

    4 comments · 1,030 views
  • 2 weeks
    PapierSam's "We Are Forever" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    We are impressed with today's story.

    We Are Forever
    [Equestria Girls] [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 9,973 words

    The pilot episode of the Rainbooms' reality television show, in which the band breaks up.

    As expected, mild drama, washout humour, awkward pop culture references, and character bending to breaking point ensues.

    Read More

    4 comments · 1,297 views
  • 3 weeks
    Poptard's "A Familiar Feeling" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    I've got a feeling that you'll appreciate today's story.

    A Familiar Feeling
    [Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 11,142 words

    After months of pleasant dating, it's time for the inevitable meeting of the family. For Sugar Belle, it should be easy as cake. She's already met three of the Apple Family members, after all. She only has one more to win over.

    It's more complicated than that, she finds.

    Read More

    5 comments · 1,315 views
  • 4 weeks
    Undome Tinwe's "And the Serpent Said Unto the Princess" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story was too tempting for us to pass up.

    And the Serpent Said Unto the Princess
    [Dark] [Romance] • 2,785 words

    In the beginning, there was Harmony. Then Discord stole Fire from the Alicorns.

    FROM THE CURATORS: "Who doesn't like a good creation myth?" RBDash47 said in his nomination — and judging by our unaminous approval, this fic blew past "good" with room to spare.  Along the way, it picked up both top scores and praise like Soge's: "Oh boy, is this fic special in a way few fics are.  The multi-layered narrative, the allusions to all kinds of human myths, and most importantly, the twist at the end that brings everything into sharp focus. Everything works in synchrony to deliver the author's grand vision."

    Read More

    9 comments · 1,134 views
  • 5 weeks
    Celefin's "Track Switch - Steel Dreams" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is engineered to be quite a moving tale.

    Track Switch - Steel Dreams
    [Slice of Life] [Human] • 12,434 words

    Modern just in time supply chains require arcane logistics. The people I work for specialise in that special kind of magic. Me? I just make sure stuff gets from A to B. And I'm good at it. All over western Europe. Always at night. Always alone — just the way I like it.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,198 views
  • 6 weeks
    Revenant Wings' "Reconstruction" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story assembles a unique look at Starlight's aftereffects.

    [Drama] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 6,378 words

    The former equalized ponies struggle to reconstruct their town after Starlight Glimmer's defeat, and Double Diamond struggles to reconstruct his own identity after being freed from Starlight's equalization brainwashing.

    Read More

    2 comments · 2,203 views
  • 7 weeks
    Lost + Found Features: "Decisions" / "The Unicorn and the Crow" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    From time to time, despite our best efforts, we don't have a feature ready to post come Friday—but that doesn't mean we can't recommend some reading material! We keep track of the stories which passed our approval process but whose authors have proven impossible to contact. We'd like to give these stories their time in the spotlight too, so read on for two RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.

    By hester1
    [Sad][Slice of Life] • 2,818 words

    A server waits on six ponies in a restaurant. The diners have drinking contests and discuss social responsibility. The clock ticks ever on and on.

    Read More

    0 comments · 2,001 views
  • 8 weeks
    California's Camp Fire [Royal Canterlot Library special interview]

    Today's feature asks us to put the brakes on for just a minute.

    With the arrival of Thanksgiving here in the U.S., we hit the downhill portion of the holiday season: a month of rushing around that will see us all careening out the other side smack dab into the new year. We often take holidays off to encourage our readers to catch up (with friends and families, and on features from our archives), but this year, instead we would like to bring the focus on people who could use some help — those who found themselves in the path of the Camp Fire, which recently swept through the foothills of northern California.

    Horizon, who I'm guessing needs no introduction around here, works with a Search & Rescue unit in the Sierra Nevada mountains near the fire, and was called in to the town of Paradise to help comb through the rubble.  We've asked him to discuss his experiences, as well as ways to help those affected by the fire.  Read on for his photos and commentary.

    Read More

    36 comments · 3,096 views
  • 9 weeks
    Starscribe's "The Last Pony on Earth" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    The last stop for today's story is the RCL spotlight.

    The Last Pony on Earth
    [Adventure] [Mystery] [Human] • 102,429 words

    Until yesterday, my life was no different than anybody's. Go to work, pay the bills, sleep. Today, I woke up to a world without humans. The streets are empty, the power grid is running down, and not another soul is in sight. That might not be the worst thing, if I wasn't also a pony.

    Where is everyone? Why is this happening to me?

    Will l stay sane long enough to starve?

    Read More

    15 comments · 2,945 views

Author Interview » Antiquarian's "The Tab" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:41pm Nov 2nd, 2018

We hope you plan to pick up today's story.

The Tab
[Comedy] [Sad] [Slice of Life] [Alternate Universe] • 4,092 words

Years have passed since the Crystal War ended. Twilight Sparkle visits an old haunt to spend some time catching up with her friends. Then comes the question of who picks up the tab.

FROM THE CURATORS: When most stories on a topic crank their drama up to 11, finding fics with the confidence to take a more nuanced approach can be like stumbling across an oasis in a desert.  "After 'The Cutie Re-Mark'," FanOfMostEverything said in his nomination, "stories set after the war with Sombra have become something of a subgenre, most of them little more than vehicles for PTSD angst or Rainbow Dash wing amputation drama. The Tab is not one of those stories. It seeks to capture the full spectrum of the veteran's potential experience in readjusting to peacetime conditions."  As this story sped toward a feature, Soge agreed: "If there is one big thing right this fic does, it is its distinct portrayal of how trauma affects different people differently."

There was so much to like, though, that we all cited different elements as our favorites.  "Its greatest strength shines in folding the exposition that any AU has to churn out into fantastic character interaction between the Canterlot friends," FanOfMostEverything said.  "The subtext here is rich and plentiful, from Twilight keeping metric time to Twinkleshine's nickname to a single sentence that says volumes about Rainbow Dash's status in this timeline."  (Soge agreed: "That it speaks so much of its world building — rarely directly alluding to it — is phenomenal.") Present Perfect appreciated the characters: "They are all distinctly themselves ... Twilight especially comes off as 'Twilight, after serving in a war'."  And Horizon liked its framing: "It's a story about good (and authentic) ponies being good (and authentic) to each other," he said.  "And that's its power: showing us the beating heart of its characters, affected by their experiences but not defined by them."

In the end, it was simply exemplary execution which carried the fic.  "There's not really anything surprising about it, but it does a damned fine job portraying post-war life," Present Perfect said.  The surprise, Soge said, came in the emotions that it prompted: "It is a powerful and emotional story, with sublime characterization, and a real humanity and care for the characters involved.  The actual 'tab' scene got me all teary-eyed."

Read on for our author interview, in which Antiquarian discusses surrounding heroes, sacred stupidity, and the heroism of everyday life.

Give us the standard biography.

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do study history are doomed to watch other people repeat it.

And, since I don’t know how much the ‘standard biography’ entails, I’ll say that I’m what you might call a semi-professional historian. The advocacy work that I do isn’t a history job per se, but it impacts how I set policy and run programs. Plus, the work I do is in part about fighting genocide — so, it’s sort of a history job. Military history and genocide are my primary areas of study at the macro level, but I’m particularly studied with regards to medieval history and religion in Europe as well as the World Wars. Storytelling is my passion, and fanfiction provides an outlet for my creativity and a chance to share the truths that I’ve found with other people.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

My friends often joke that I’m a bit of a ‘man out of time.’ And, yeah, my worldview isn’t exactly contemporary. When enough people joke that your perspective is antiquated, but you continue to hold it anyway, you own it.

Who's your favorite pony?

Twilight. Applejack a very close second.

What's your favorite episode?

Tough call, but probably The Perfect Pear. Such a powerful message about family, love, and forgiveness. Runner-up is probably The Cutie Map 1&2. Given my area of study, I’ll let you guess why.

What do you get from the show?

As a historian I look to see what a society values, because our values impact how we treat people. There is much of what our society values today that I find abhorrent, and there are few shows that I watch because our media tend to reflect our values. This show is one of my exceptions.

My Little Pony shocked me with the deep and abiding virtuousness of its characters. There is a goodness in them that is a sign of contradiction to the times, a sign that shows a better path. I think it’s vital to surround ourselves with heroes, both real and fictional, who are worth emulating. Our actions and worldviews are strongly impacted by the stories we consume. If we expose ourselves to filth, we are more likely to act in a filthy manner. If we expose ourselves to moral excellence, we are more likely to be good.

On a lighter note, the characterization is brilliant and the episodes hilarious, so it’s both edifying and light-hearted entertainment. Many an evening after a hard day at work has been spent unwinding with these pastel ponies.

What do you want from life?

I might not be a sports guy, but one of my heroes is Coach Vince Lombardi. He was a religious man whose faith taught him to believe that excellence on the field began with excellence in the soul — that it was necessary to be a good person before one could be a good athlete, employee, parent, etc. While he was sage enough to know that flaws are a reality of life, and thus we cannot catch perfection this side of eternity, he also believed we should still try. In his own words, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” I believe that, whether you are religious or not, this is a worldview worth having. I strive to let the best shine forth in myself and to help the best shine out in others as well. If I can help even one person along the path that Vince spoke of, I know that I’m doing well.

Why do you write?

As I said, stories shape what we are and what we become. People need heroes to emulate in order to bring out their own best selves. I look at so much of the media that we are bombarded by and become sad because there aren’t many true heroes being portrayed. Only villains seem to be shown but, the thing is, villains are only part of the story. Evil is very real, yes; you don’t need to tell me. Like I said, I study genocide professionally. I know evil. But history shows that the good in the world is so much greater, that no matter how dark things get there are always lights to oppose it, and that we can rebuild even from the greatest of tragedies. We are made for more, capable of more, and I just want to remind people of that. I want them to see that they can be better, and that the world can be better, and for them to find the confidence to be who they were born to be.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Your words make more of a difference than you think. I know I’m sounding like a broken record here, but what we produce comes from what we absorb. Even in a light, silly story, there is an implied worldview and perspective of life, which itself will be either helpful or hurtful depending. So spend some time really thinking about what your story is implying as well as what it explicitly states. For example, what does it say in Star Wars that the Old Republic was supposed to be ‘good,’ but was comfortable using an army of human men grown in vats and bred for war? I.e. mass-produced slaves.

Good and evil are labels we often sew on characters, but if the ‘hero’ acts in a villainous manner then they don’t deserve the title ‘good.’ And that can be the point of the story, but do that deliberately rather than just having a murderous edge-lord ‘hero’ who is morally indistinguishable from the villain and yet still supposedly the one we should root for.

This isn’t to say that everything needs to be serious — there’s a time and place for stupid. Heck, the late John Paul II once said, “Stupidity is also a gift of God, but one mustn’t misuse it.” So have your silly stories and silly moments. Life needs that too. But, serious or silly, my point is this: spend some time considering the impact your words will have.

What inspired “The Tab”?

Um … I’ll take “Battles of the Crusades” for 400, Al.

In all seriousness, I don’t remember the full details. However, I always make a point of doing military tributes on the military holidays (The Tab is a tribute for Memorial Day), and none of the other ideas that I’d had before The Tab really spoke to me. I knew that I wanted a positive story which emphasized life moving on after tragedy — the camaraderie and honor found amongst righteous warriors. I wanted to make it clear that each soldier’s experience in war is unique, to disabuse the notion that all soldiers return from the war shell-shocked and broken, and to demonstrate that even those that do can still heal and lead fulfilling lives. I also wanted to touch on the joy of remembrance after a loss; to combat the idea that tragedy must spell the end of happiness. I just needed a story that fit that bill.  I’m not sure where this particular iteration come from exactly, but once I started it just flowed, so I went with it.

What drew you to the “Crystal War” AU?

To be blunt, the lack of a need to establish much. The focus of this story needed to be on the main cast getting together to reminisce as friends and comrades-in-arms. If I’d had to spend a lot of time setting up how the war started, who the belligerents were, what time period it was, etc. I would have lost the narrative. The Crystal War AU has a pretty set basic theme already, so the readers can fill in the blanks without me and I can just tell the story. That’s also why I went with Twilight and her Canterlot friends rather than the Main 6; the 6 (sans Twilight) already have established roles in the war, so it was easier to slot the others into place rather than explain how the Main 6 got in the same unit.

How much research did you do before writing the story?

Well, I’ve literally studied military history and genocide since I could read; does that count?

If anyone wants to shortcut that because you didn’t have my not-quite-standard childhood to jumpstart you, I’d recommend The Father of Us All by Victor Davis Hanson for an overview of how war works throughout the ages (the tech and terms change, but the basics stay the same). For first-hand accounts that give an insight into the military mindset, a personal favorite is the Band of Brothers book (though the show is good too). For novels, Alan French wrote a lot of great medieval and ancient historical fiction like The Red Keep. Brian Jacques grew up during the Battle of Britain and worked that into his fantasy books, and, of course, Tolkien and C.S. Lewis fought in WWI, and the effects show in their writing. I have plenty of others I could recommend, but that’s a good start.

You’ll notice that this is a mix of historical works, legends, and myths. Well, that’s because the human story is a collection of all those things. We are all, arguably, the result of our myths and legends as much as our real history. The Tab may be a pony story, but it’s the product of human lore throughout the ages.

The only specific research that I did for the story itself was to study Medal of Honor recipients to get an idea for how the citations are phrased.

What do you think it is about ponies that makes them work so well addressing serious topics?

On that count I can really only speak to my own experiences. The show captured my attention because it deals with morality in a refreshingly direct way. Good and evil correlate to visible power, and the complexities of emotion and relationships are openly discussed as a rule. This makes the world a ready vehicle for examining concepts both deep and mundane. Add to this the fact that it can shift gears from serious to ridiculous in a heartbeat without stalling, and you’ve got a very versatile platform for storytelling.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

In both my writing and my personal life, I talk a lot about heroism. To do this, I often tell stories of people in grandiose situations. But the fact of the matter is that most of us won’t find themselves in such epic struggles. Our struggles are more mundane.

The thing is, though, that doesn’t make the struggle any less heroic. Heroism is simply doing the right thing even when it’s difficult, even when we don’t want to, even when it costs us. That can be really obvious (saving someone from a burning building) or really tiny and subtle (calling your friend out on their hurtful gossip even though you know you’ll get ribbed about it, or calling a friend you haven’t seen in a while to tell them how much they mean to you).

The world isn’t made a better place by the big things alone — without the little things, there’s nothing for the big things to stand on. Be kind to all, courteous to all, respectful to all, and do not bow to cruel and wicked things. Act with integrity, do your best to live well, and own up when you fall short. In this way, we can all be heroes. Then, if the building does catch fire, you’ll already be the kind of person who gets someone else out.

You can read The Tab at Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 3 )

Twilight is one of my favorites too!

A door suddenly appeared.

"Congratulations, Antiquarian. You definitely deserve this honor. While you may not write a lot, you write well," said Yutah.

I have a dialogue thing going on with Antiquarian right now.

Definitely going to read this one! Sounds like Antiquarian has the perfect credentials to write the sort of thing I would enjoy. I doubt many writers here have ever heard of The Red Keep, let alone have read it!

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