Wanderer D 4,925 followers · 53 stories

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  • Wednesday
    SA: Round 162

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Matthew slung his arm over the top of the office divider. “Hey, Drake. I heard you wanted to talk to someone?”

    Drake turned around from his deck, looking at a piece of paper in his hands. “I was just looking at my schedule here. According to this, I’m on the crew for reviews this week?”

    Matthew nodded. “That’s right.”

    “But, I was on the review crew last time, too. And I just started here.” Drake scratched his head. “How come I’ve been assigned a double on my first month?”

    “Well, all the review spots are assigned on a volunteer basis.”

    Drake shifted his eyes from side to side. “I didn’t volunteer for this week.”

    “No, but everyone else didn’t not not volunteer before you, so, yeah.” Matthew shrugged. “It happens.”

    Drake slumped in his chair. “So I’m doing a double shift on my first month here.”

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    0 comments · 735 views
  • 2 weeks
    SA: Round 161

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Intern sighed, looking at his clock built into his heads up display for the dozenth time. He tapped his foot impatiently, arms crossed, and passing the time by whistling a formless tune. No wonder no one else wanted to invite the new guy in when it was going to be this boring.

    His clock beeped. At precisely that moment, the mirror Intern stood in front of began to glow and churn. The sound of an engine revving up could be heard somewhere beyond the swirl of space/time.

    Intern scratched his head. “I could of sworn we’ve done this bit before…”

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    5 comments · 1,979 views
  • 7 weeks
    SA: Round 159

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    If there was one thing Intern had learned during his time with Seattle’s Angels, it was that the reviewers really valued their downtime. Scouring for new stories to feature was exhausting work, not to mention the time it took to write perfect posts week in and week out. A chance to get away from that, even for a few fleeting minutes, was more precious than Zap Apple jam spread over a slice of apple pie on a cool evening overlooking the picturesque view of the compound’s vast corn syrup fields.

    “Want to tone it down on the metaphor, there?”

    Intern started at hearing Matthew’s voice right behind him. He whirled around, slapping his laptop shut, and holding it protectively against his chest. “Mine!”

    Matthew cocked his head. “Have you been getting into our supply of poison joke again?”

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    4 comments · 2,292 views
  • 9 weeks
    SA: Round 158

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Heartshine flew just a couple inches over Paul’s shoulder, rubbing her hooves together anxiously. “Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t have to if you don’t want to, y’know.”

    Paul glanced over his shoulder at her, eyebrow raised. “For the last time, yes. I don’t see any reason not to.”

    She flitted about his head like an agitated bird, her voice gaining a slightly higher pitch. “B-but, what if somepony finds out what we’re doing? You have a reputation. A good one! I don’t want to ruin that.”

    He rolled his eyes, hand on the doorknob to his office. “If I’m okay with everyone knowing I’m a brony, then I’m okay with this. So relax! What we’ve got together is special, Heartshine, and I’m not going to let anything get in the way of that.”

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    6 comments · 1,727 views
  • 11 weeks
    SA: Round 157

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Matthew walked into Corejo’s broom closet office. “Hey Cor, all my reviews are done, we just need yours and an intro/outro and we should be good.”

    Corejo looked up from his chalkboard computer. “Just got one left, but all my others are done. I’ll hand ‘em in once it’s done.”

    “Alright, cool. Any ideas for the intro stuff?”

    “Not really.” Corejo shrugged. “Unless you wanna transcribe this conversation. People will think it’s funny. Until they’re like, ‘you’re not funny.’ And then we’ll be had.”

    ROUND 157

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    10 comments · 1,867 views
  • 13 weeks
    SA: Round 156

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    “Put them over there, if you would.”

    Intern did as instructed as best he could with his vision impared by a small hill of boxes and bags. Wobbling with so much merchandise in his grip to fill a Hot Topic shop, he somehow managed to set it all down with nary a single plushie falling. He sighed with relief, wiping some sweat from his brow. “Is that all of it?”

    Cynewulf eyed him as though he had asked if she could speak color. “What? Heaven’s no, that was just the first hour at the con. I’ve got three days worth still for you to bring in.”

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    4 comments · 2,027 views
  • 15 weeks
    SA: Round 155

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Ebon Quill wandered down the empty hallway.  How long had he been walking? Hours, it seemed.  Why did the SA headquarters have a twenty mile long hallway?  He wasn’t sure, but he felt with a deep-seated certainty that, if he did know, he’d hate the answer.  Pausing to wipe his brow, he knocked on a door with a resigned passivity borne of the knowledge that, if the last 2,231 rooms had been empty, the odds of finding a human in this one were low.

    “Coming!” came a chipper voice from inside.

    A moment later, Chris threw the door open.  “Ah, Ebsy, you’re just in time!” Throwing an arm around Quill, Chris ushered him into the room.  “Come on, we’ve got reviews to write.”

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    5 comments · 1,957 views
  • 17 weeks
    SA: Round 154

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    “Did, did that actually just happen?” Intern asked, still wide eyed and confused at the image that was seared into his retinas. Paul, not freaking out, and brushing Heartshine’s mane. There was no way that was real.

    “Did what just happen?” Heartshine asked innocently.

    “That thing with Paul!” Intern shouted, startling several researchers and earning several dirty looks. “You. Him. Brush. Calm. ARGH!”

    “You mean him offering to brush my mane after we did our reviews? Yes. He was very nice about it, and his brush was really gentle about getting tangles out!”

    “I have to be hallucinating!” Intern leaned against a wall and breathed heavily. “Is there something in the air? Did I eat something weird again? I know to avoid Cynewulf’s chilli, and all I had for breakfast today was that poptart I scrounged from Level 4.”

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    17 comments · 2,589 views
  • 19 weeks
    SA: Round 153

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    Intern shot Heartshine a fretful look. “I’m telling you, just be ready.”

    “Oh, I’m sure you’re exaggerating,” Heartshine repeated for the hundredth time, trotting happily down the long corridor far from the occupied parts of the SA compound. “How bad can he be?”

    “Paul is the most Twilight Sparkle person on the planet,” he reminded her. “He gets dangerous when his schedule is threatened, and he’s always godawful busy. Frankly, I’m not sure he’s even human.”

    Heartshine giggled at this. “Neither am I! Boom, instant friends.”

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    5 comments · 2,325 views
  • 21 weeks
    SA: Round 152

    Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


    A knock sounded on Matthew’s door, prompting him to look up from his desk. “Come in.”

    Intern slipped in, quickly closing the door behind him. “Good. I don’t think anyone saw me.”

    “What are you up to?”

    Taking carefully measured steps and avoiding any known creaks in the floor, Intern made his way to Matthew’s desk. Keeping his voice in a low whisper, he said, “Okay, you can level with me, right?”

    Matthew felt a headache coming on. “What are you talking about? Level on what?”

    “Oh, c’mon, you can tell me. I think I’ve worked here long enough to be trustworthy.”

    “‘Work’ being subjective, here.” Sighing, Matthew rubbed his temples. “Aren’t there reviews due?”

    “Yeah, but this is important, too.” Intern winced as his voice grew louder, forcing his next words to be quieter. “I gotta know.”

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    4 comments · 2,649 views
Oct
21st
2019

Story Reviews » SA: Round 160 · 11:49am October 21st

Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


“Who was the intern again?”

Chris turned with a baffled look. “What? And also, what the heck?”

Cyne held his hand as he swayed back and forth over the endless abyss. The bridge linking the Infinite Archives with the District of a Thousand Delicatessens had given out as it did every 20 hours or so, because the ever growing labyrinth that made up the Seattle’s Angels HQ bunker. They’d just messed up the timing by a hair.

“Yeah, who was the intern?” Cynewulf asked again, regardless of the dire circumstances. “I keep forgetting and by rights at some point it should have been me?”


“For pony’s sake please pull me up right th—“


“Furthermore,” she continued, her lupine claws digging in as she pulled him up but by bit, “why do we have interns? And how did we come to be here?”

“Recruitment? How should I know? Please pull me up, there’s like ghosts down here!”

“It’s just a bottomless pit.” She pulled his torso over the edge and he lay panting on the floor.


“Sweet solid ground!” He reveled. “What took you so long?”


“Oh, you know. Did you do your reviews?”


He stared. His gaze was baffled, too discomboluted to even be upset as he pulled a few rumpled pages out of his pocket. “Yeah, like forever ago.”

ROUND 160


Rarity discovers a pattern in her relationship with Twilight, and wonders what she may have given up for love.


Undome Tinwe is both 1.) hard to pronounce if you’re unfamiliar with Tolkien, and 2.) a very good writer. Patterns is a good example of the second point.

This story was released as part of the RariTwi bomb, and it was probably my favorite among those not penned by Monochromatic (because hers was of course my favorite). This story doesn’t have much flashy happening, and honestly that’s a strength. It’s a conversation between Rarity and Twilight that has the light, dynamic touches you want in a good fictional conversation. The issues at hand (or hoof) are a bit fantastic because of the character’s circumstance, but beneath that veneer they are painfully mundane and worth considering. What does it mean to be “evenly yoked”? Do our different backgrounds make us unbalanced partners?

There’s a lot to chew on in this story, and with any luck you’ll find yourself thinking long afterwards.

Unlike my esteemed colleague, I haven’t read anything else from the RariTwi Bomb, and so can’t comment on how this compares to the other fare on offer there.  What I can say with total confidence, however, is that Cyne’s absolutely right about this being a great story by a talented author.

Those coming strictly for the shipping might be surprised to find it such an afterthought here, though those simply looking for a good story won’t be bothered at all—this is a good story, after all!  But it’s not really about romance; it’s about access. It’s a story about how being close to important people makes one important. And crucially, how it makes on important regardless of one’s merits.  How the noise of that adjacency drowns out any effects of skill or effort.

That’s a bitter pill to swallow for anyone—for anypony—who puts value on the idea of being self-made.  But as Tinwe shows us, it’s not an insurmountable one, and it doesn’t need to define us. What we have here is a story that tells us that while we can’t help how we’ve received, and what privilege we do or don’t have thrust upon us, it needn’t define who we are, nor how we choose to live our lives.


psy·cho·pomp - ˈsīkōˌpämp - noun: (in Greek mythology) a guide of souls to the place of the dead.

Luna and Twilight have a conversation at a crucial juncture in Twilight's life. Celestia and Applejack discuss it after the fact.

A story about moving on, the recurrence of things in eternity, awkwardness, and friendship.


Nyronus is a good writer, full stop. I’m surprised I haven’t done this one already.

Psychopomp is a really, really fascinating story and an example of that strange genre of “stories that might have happened”. Of course, if you’re utterly allergic to any sort of ambiguity, I can’t recommend it (or most of the best stories ever written for that matter tbh). Ambiguity, the distance between possibilities, is such a strong and enticing part of human life and honestly I love any story that can play around with it. I also love any story that can do so while also being just generally sympathetic not just to its characters but, in a way, to its reader and to people in general. Psychopomp is a kind story, and it wants you to know that its strange flavor of soft light is worth holding on to.

I always enjoy stories that have good stylistic/content synergy, so I’d like to talk about that a little bit first.  The majority of Psychopomp’s verbiage is relayed to us, the readers, in the form of an after-the-fact recounting of events.  This second-level storytelling (the character telling the story to someone, which the author is writing for an IRL audience) adds an additional level of removal to the events related, making them feel distant and somewhat academic.  While that’s not usually an effect to be sought in fiction, it’s just what the doctor ordered here.

Because, while this story is nominally about death, it’s really about the act of telling tales.  Death is big, and scary, and unknowable. But conversation is mundane; sometimes entertaining, and sometimes depressing, but fundamentally normal.  The author’s storytelling decisions emphasise that normalcy, even as the front-facing content defies it. It makes for a delicious contrast.

And of course, the story itself more than holds its own.  Part tale of the undying bonds of humanity/equinity, part campfire story, and just a hint of magic to make it all complete, this is a short fic that packs a lot of heart into few words.


Golden Harvest very much likes to think of herself as the sensible mare of the earth. She's certainly not one for breaking a perfectly good daily routine: give Dinky a hot meal, take care of the carrots, try to remember when she last had lunch...

Unfortunately, it's Nightmare Night coming up, and she's going through one of the least productive (and therefore least profitable) months of the year. So of course Derpy takes the chance to ask her for help with something she should've done last week. And yes, she does need it ready for tonight, and no, she has no idea how to actually go about it.

However, Derpy is a mare on a mission, a pony with a plan. And there's nothing more terrifying than that, even on Nightmare Night.


This story reminds me a lot of the early days of fandom, and in the waning light of the season and series finale, that’s perhaps fitting. Feeling the joyful icy touch of melencholy and nostalgia? Give this a read and remember what 2012-13 was like in ponyfic land. 

There’s a lot to like in this mode of writing. It’s whimsical, fun, and working on ideas about characters that we had in those days. It’s even reflected in the characters used—Derpy and Golden Harvest. I see these two together, and I’m taken back to the days when we used every background pony to the fullest extent possible, where Mic the Microphone and company were about to drop Beyond her Tomb.

If you thought this post wasn’t going to have at least a little Carrot Top in it, then clearly you don’t know which reviewer you’re dealing with.  But even if you, like me, came for some Best Pony, you’re sure to stay for the wonderfully whimsical Nightmare Night story that follows.

A big selling point here is the witty narration, as the author weaves wonderfully nonstandard descriptions and clever asides throughout.  “She brought her corneas close enough to grab the nearest carrot leaves with a blink,” we are told, and can’t you just see the ridiculous hyper-examination in your mind’s eye?

And amidst all that is the narrative itself, which takes a typically FiM-ish bit of low-stakes drama, and builds a silly but heartwarming sequence of events around it.  In a lot of ways, Impossible Numbers captures the spirit of the show, especially its early seasons, while adjusting to the forms best suited for writing. In all, it’s not hard to imagine an actual episode could have gone something like this, if you just sub in… let’s say, Rainbow Dash, Scootaloo, and Twilight.

Or better yet, don’t imagine that.  Because 1) Why would you ever want to replace Derpy and Carrot Top to begin with?  But also, 2) because this story stands perfectly on its own, and is entirely worth enjoying on its own merits as a seasonal bit of comedy/slice-of-life fun.


Derpy Hooves is rumored to be passing through the Everfree Forest on hoof faster than a pegasus can fly. What's her secret? A journalist from the Manehattan Herald intends to find out.


This story really surprised me. I was expecting something more mundane, more predictable. What I got instead was a tale that borders on the lovecraftian, but more truly can only be described as Weird Fiction in the old style.

Derpy’s “shortcut” is mysterious, and by the time you have a glimpse of the truth, you’ll find yourself with more questions than answers. But fundamentally this story isn’t about Derpy, or her route. It’s about the narrator, and it’s about the feeling of dread one has on the tale of a truth that would rather not be known.

A second Derpy-centric story, this, but a rather different tone.  Rather than a Nightmare Night comedy, here we have a bit of genuine horror for you.

As any horror aficionado will tell you, “less is more.”  That’s a good rule for life in general, really, but it’s especially applicable to horror: don’t over explain, don’t oversell, don’t over-anything.  Leave a sense of mystery, and let the reader’s imagination do your work for you.

The author shows how to play your cards close to your vest to best effect in this story.  What is Derpy’s route, and how does it work, and why is it there, and what did her husband have to do with it and… well, the list goes on.  There are many questions our reporter never finds the answer to. These things simply are not part of the natural order, and no answer will be or can be given within that idiom.  This is as it should be; the questions linger long after the story is finished.

Seeing all this through the eyes of an initially-jaded character like our narrator lets AstralMouse hold onto those mysteries, and frame the whole story in a very grounded way which makes the alien other-ness which comes that much more jarring.  His earthiness sets up the story’s turn, and invites the reader to see the world as a place larger than an everyman can safely view. Add it all up, and you’ve got a terribly (and I do mean terribly) effective bit of writing.


Inna corner of the District of A Thousand Delicatassens, they found one with comfy seating and a good muffuletta.

“So… What was that earlier?” Chris asked.

“What?” Cyne blinked. “Oh! Angel’s Madness. Effects all of us. You go crazy and then become part of the complex.”

Chris stared.

“What.”

“Yeah it’s awful.”

“How… why?”


“I could also be joking. You think this place has Lays?”


Feel free to visit our group for more information and events, and to offer some recommendations for future rounds. See you all next time!

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Comments ( 6 )

Oh, wow, I was very much not expecting to see a story of mine reviewed by you guys. It's an honor, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a story to dip my toes into horror, and I really think it turned out not that great as far as pacing, but I wasn't really sure how to fix it. I did like writing it though, and i do want to try to do horror again! Thanks for the reviews. It's nice to see I did do something right.

I'm fully imagining the map of the complex having grey areas for unexplored sections like in an rpg.

Also, like an RPG, I suspect there are some secret passages and delicious wall chicken within.

5143313
I think we once had someone try to map the place, but he hasn’t been seen ever since he mentioned something about going to the Cavern of a Thousand Hidden Stories.

We’d go looking for him, but, we don’t have any maps to tell us where that is...

I love that every single round of SA makes the bunker more confusing.

Wow, what a way to start the day. :rainbowderp:

:pinkiesmile: Thank you, merci, Danke, gracias, grazie, blagodaryu vas, xièxiè, and dōmo arigatōgozaimashita! And 6,500 different variations thereof; they haven't invented enough languages yet to express my gratitude. I'm particularly pleased with the comparison to the early days of the fanfiction scene. It probably doesn't hold up to scrutiny as well as nostalgia might pretend, but it did feel like a vibrant and excitingly experimental time. If I can capture and preserve that feeling years later, all well and good.

In all, it’s not hard to imagine an actual episode could have gone something like this

:pinkiehappy: There is simply not enough face to contain my smile right now. And because I do know which reviewer I'm dealing with, have this:

i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/000/500/205/beb.png

Chris #6 · 3 weeks ago · · ·

5143587

I will gladly accept payment in the form of Carrot Tops. Thanks for writing such an enjoyable story!

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