• Member Since 16th May, 2013
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Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

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  • Thursday
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXVI

    So. 36 years old as of yesterday. Funny, I don’t feel a day past 25. The only thing that bothers me is how quickly the year went by. I’m always reminded around my birthday that there are a lot of things I want to do and not much time to do them. It’s just another reason that I’m so determined to finally release an original fiction.

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    12 comments · 203 views
  • 1 week
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXV

    Hello again, FIMFiction. I’ve had quite the lazy week, but it was on purpose. I was starting to feel the burnout after achieving ~2,000 words/day for most of July, so I figured it was about time. But now I think I’m ready to get back into it.

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    8 comments · 296 views
  • 3 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIV

    My schedule has a problem. It’s one that’s been building up for a while now.

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    20 comments · 421 views
  • 4 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIII

    I’ve decided that I’m going to take a minor vacation in August, if only so as to use up some of those vacation days from work before they’re gone in January. With this in mind, I figured I’d also not read anything over the course of those four days. Ah, but how to do that when they’re already on the schedule? I don’t want to push them back, it’s becoming more and more important to me to build a

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    5 comments · 369 views
  • 5 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXII

    Wow, last weekend was a busy one. Family gathering was relatively small this year, for obvious reasons. Although I must emphasize the “relative” part; usually when there’s a big holiday like the 4th, we end up with 20 people or more present. This weekend was “only” nine, including me, my parents, and my brother’s family of six. That’s right, six. That boy is a glutton for punishment, I swear to

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    8 comments · 399 views

Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXII · 8:41pm July 9th

Wow, last weekend was a busy one. Family gathering was relatively small this year, for obvious reasons. Although I must emphasize the “relative” part; usually when there’s a big holiday like the 4th, we end up with 20 people or more present. This weekend was “only” nine, including me, my parents, and my brother’s family of six. That’s right, six. That boy is a glutton for punishment, I swear to Luna.

Of course, my dad (head chef of the family alongside my Uncle Hal, who couldn’t be in attendance), is still hobbling around from having knee replacement surgery last month. He also doesn’t have any self control when it comes to cooking. So he ended up supervising while my mother and I did most of the actual cooking. I literally spent all of Saturday and at least half of Sunday making food. We had enough to feed an army by the time it was done.

Not that I’m complaining. I got roughly 4/5 of all leftovers to bring home, which means I won’t have to buy food for a week or two. And since they were my Dad’s recipes, carefully guided by his scrutinizing eye, it all came out delicious, as can be expected. So, yeah, definitely not complaining.

However, it did put me in a small bind. This is a Vacation Week, which means I shouldn’t have to read anything at all, but I was already behind by three days when it started. Spending one day cooking and another cooking, visiting with family, and then traveling back to Houston did me no favors. The end result is that I didn’t actually catch up with my reading so I can do the whole “not reading at all” thing until just yesterday. All this reminds me that the day I actually decide to go looking for and get a girlfriend is the day these reviews are doomed.

In the meantime, I’m putting in the extra time necessary to try and get 2k words/day for July. I know this is doable, as I did it last month. It’s become all the more important now that I have some goals in mind for releasing books in the Real World. The only thing I’m sacrificing right now to achieve that is my video game time, which I think we can all agree is a small sacrifice.

Alright, enough jabbering, we’ve got reviews to read.

Stories for This Week:

Cigarettes & Gunmetal by MonoGlyph
B.B.B.F.F.B.R. by 8686
Cocooned by AilingStar
Out, Out, Brief Candle! by Lord Of Dorkness
A Midsummer Day's Quest by Soufriere
Gimme Mah Hat! by Endeav0ur
Ground Control to Major Twi by KorenCZ11
Pick-Me-Up by Enter Madness
The Sunday Session by Neon Czolgosz
Bachelorette Bon-ding by Distaff Pope

Total Word Count: 169,251

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 0
Pretty Good: 6
Worth It: 2
Needs Work: 2
None: 0

Summarizing this story would be a beast, as it has too many sub-elements to catch it all in a single paragraph. What we have here is an attempt to reimagine the world of Equestria in gritty, futuresque, grim cyber-punk. A Twilight with a mechanically-enhanced horn, Applejack with mechanical legs, A Rainbow Dash so cybernetic it’s hard to be sure how much of her is pony anymore, a Pinkie Pie with robotic hands for forehooves, and a Fluttershy forced to wear a Bane-style facemask to stay functional. Only Rarity appears to have escaped with her equinity mostly intact, and even she isn’t the dainty lady we all know and love.

To finalize the image, we’ve got an aloof and disinterested Celestia casually playing games with the lives of ponies, with no concern at all for how they feel or are affected by it. This is an Equestria full of poverty, crime, hunger, and war, and it seems she would have it no other way. Indeed, Luna’s banishment in this version was specifically in rebellion to Celestia’s desire to bring about an end to harmony in the name of technological and material progress.

The story starts off being a series of shorts, one for each of the Mane 6 that educates us on who, where, what, and why they are. Topics range wildly from capturing murderers to government-mandated space-faring voyages to warzones and torturing POWs. When all is said and done, we find ourselves going back to where all these types of stories tend to: the return of Nightmare Moon. In her defense, NMM at least seems to care about the general public’s well being. The story ultimately showcases two very different evils, one brought forth by betrayal and loss and the other by the sociopathic indifference of immortality.

I love the general creativity of this one. MonoGlyph went through a lot of trouble crafting a fully fleshed out world with its own history and bits of culture, dark and grim though it may be. It would be easy to think that the story serves as a scathing criticism of modernity, yet it also goes out of its way to point out that modern evils have only replaced ancient evils. This, too, I thoroughly enjoyed. The story can make it hard to know who to root for (although Celestia’s smug indifference to the costs of her victories leave me leaning heavily in Luna’s camp).

My only problem with this story is the many, many loose ends it leaves in its wake. Whatever happened to Lightning Dust? What about the threat of the changelings who were so prominent in Applejack’s arc? Will Flim and Flam ever get their much-deserved comeuppance? Will Rarity ever reconnect with Sweetie Belle? What is this ‘deal’ Fluttershy made with forces beyond the realm of mortals? Will Pinkie Pie ever be reunited with her sister Maud? What’s going to happen to Luna now? Will Twilight ever find a way to deal with Celestia’s oppressive methods?

So. Many. Threads.

MonoGlyph strongly hinted that he (she?) intended to make a sequel that might have answered some of these questions. The bad news: that sequel never came into fruition, and MonoGlyph hasn’t been active on the site in over four years. So much for that. If I had to call the ending anything, it would be unsatisfying. There’s just too many unknowns, with practically nothing resolved. Sure, being open-ended is a thing, but this is ridiculous.

Disappointed though I may be with the ending, I am quite pleased by the overarching journey. This was an excellent example of worldbuilding, with the recreation of our favorite characters thorough and fascinating, all combined with moral and philosophical underpinnings that will leave the high-minded of us pondering for a while after the last chapter.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Non-Alicorns Need Not ApplyWorth It


21,256 Words
By 8686

Shining Armor has a chance to visit his little sister in Ponyville. Just as he’s arriving, however, Applejack and Twilight get into a startlingly furious argument over who has the ‘better’ brother. Luckily, Big Mac and Shining know how to make their respective siblings see sense.

8686 regularly demonstrates themselves to be one of the site’s better authors, and this story is no exception. Set after Twilight’s alicornication but before the coming of Tirek, the story is all about the nature of fights and how they can lead to greater bonds. In fact, it’s so firmly ingrained in this story that 8686 hits us with it right out the gate. One might argue that it’s a little too on-the-nose, but it works for overarching plot purposes. Along the way, we learn more about the respective brothers, especially Big Mac.

The end result is a fun story in which two mares learn valuable lessons about family and friendship. I won’t call it 8686’s best work, but it’s certainly above your average slice-of-life. Absolutely read it if you’re interested in some TwiJack friendshipping.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Daring Do and the Secret of the Sunken CityWHYRTY?
I Wish I Had Met You YesterdayWHYRTY?
Run for the RosesWHYRTY?
The Great Ponyville Snowball FightPretty Good
EclipseWorth It


1,622 Words
AilingStar failed to provide cover art.

Rarity is the only one left. All her friends are gone, and she won’t last much longer. All that’s left is to record her fate and hope somepony else can find it before it’s too late.

I’ve long been of the (terrifying) belief that changeling cocoons can be used to turn other creatures into more changelings, complete with total brainwashing. So when I see someone else trying to explore that, even if only a little, my metaphorical pony ears perk. I was all prepared to hear Rarity’s harrowing tale, at least until…

A few seconds later, we heard the poor dear scream her last words; 'RAINBOW DASH, HELP!!!!!'

Aaand there went any believability and potential for terror this story had. Well, Rarity, if you’re wondering why you got discovered at the end, it might be because while speaking this already blatantly nonsensical oral recording you decided to literally shriek at the top of your lungs for no reason at all.

Your biggest mistake here, author, is how Rarity is retelling her story. Simply put, she wouldn’t provide that much detail. If you’re in a dire situation and know time is of the essence, you don’t waste it by spending twenty minutes dictating the minute-by-minute details of the events. You most certainly don’t work to imitate the exact tone and volume of the people you’re talking about. That is exactly what you have Rarity do, so it automatically loses all sense of reality. My immersion was killed more or less instantly by this choice. It makes even less sense when you realize Rarity is trying to hide, which means making an oral recording is about the dumbest way to go about it.

I’m not sure why you’d bother to not have speaking lines for the other characters. I get that this is Rarity’s recording, but that doesn’t mean you can’t hear what others are saying. And we can’t use the excuse of “but we’re hearing it as a recording”, because we’re not. You have narration stating what’s happening around Rarity. That wouldn’t show up in a recording. In fact, I’d argue that by taking away the lines of the other characters, you are in fact reducing the potential such a scene has.

The idea here isn’t new, but it can still be good if approached from the proper angle. If we had actually been witnessing the events Rarity describes rather than getting them in this offhoof manner, or if the story had focused on Rarity’s last stand, then perhaps this would have been horror gold. Instead it feels… ‘weak’, I suppose would be a proper term.

Oh, well. Better luck next time, AilingStar.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

The Candle is lit, and suddenly, Pinkie Pie knows.

I actually got this one. I’m rather pleased with myself.

This is a story both metaphorical and literal. Pinkie lit a candle. With its lighting, the world came into existence. When it goes out, so too will the world. To the ever-meta Pinkie Pie, this concept is beyond fascinating.

It ends up a bit of good fun, even if nothing at all happens. The Candle and Pinkie’s reaction to it is the story, much like the world is. It is, in one way, Pinkie being Pinkie. In another, it’s a philosophical quandary. If you follow the logic being presented, then there were exactly 905 worlds begun in May alone.The story invites us to ponder that idea, even while treating the whole thing as not really that big a deal in the long run. I do have to wonder what Pinkie might think of the ones that ended without actually, y’know, “ending”.

I enjoyed this. It’s appropriately Pinkie Pie (and a little at poor Rarity’s expense), spending just as much time on the subject as it needs to. Give it a read if you feel like seeing some meta for a few minutes. It might even leave you thinking on the possibilities.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

A crushing Rarity goes to visit Sunset Shimmer in her run down apartment, just in time to witness Sunset’s laptop literally melt. Seeing as Sunset has a work project that is due tomorrow, the pair head out to traverse the town in search of a new(-ish) computer.

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this one, but what I got was unexpected. It is largely a look into the life of Sunset, specifically her practical sources. If you’re expecting some big lesson or maybe a hint of comedy, this won’t be for you. What you’ll get instead is… well, Sunset and Rarity traveling all over Canterlot. Really, there’s nothing more to it.

I’m not sure what Soufriere was trying to do with this one. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the story. Neither does it seem to have a purpose. Maybe if I read the other stories in this universe (which I’ve already been set to do for a long time), it’ll have more meaning. That said, the claim that you don’t need to know the extended universe is accurate; some things are referenced, but nothing so big as to make you feel like you’ve missed out. Or maybe they are big, but Soufriere wrote it in such a way that you can’t tell. Either way, there’s no reason not to use this as the introduction to the universe.

Sometimes entertaining, sometimes interesting, entirely head-scratching. I think I’ll put this on the middle ground, but only because I can’t find any reason for it to exist beyond “Rarity has a crush” and “Let’s explore the world of Sunset Shimmer a little.” As I said, the writing and directing is fine, I just don’t get what the point is.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Rainbow Dash steals Applejack’s hat. The chase is on.

There’s really nothing to this. It’s a story written for the silliness of it, and no more, literally just Rainbow and Applejack in a chase for a hat. With side notes of magical cupcakes and a sleep-deprived Luna, but mostly just a chase. It’s nonsensical from beginning to end, but as long as you’re willing to roll with it, you might just have fun.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

After fifteen years of research and study, Twilight Sparkle is ready to fly to the moon.

This story is set in an alternate Equestria in which Twilight takes part as the sole astronaut on Equestria’s first flight to the moon. The story takes after the song for which it is named, and in some ways this is a big part of the problem. I don’t blame KorenCZ11 for wanting to make a story based on it, but a different approach would have been warranted.

The first problem stems from the random insertion of lyrics where they don’t belong. Take this peculiar example during Twilight’s speech from aboard the spacecraft:

To all of those who helped contribute to science over the last thousand years, all of those who helped us reach this point, all of you here supporting me, I thank you. To my family, I love them very much, they know. And for everyone else, I'll wave to you from the surface of the heavens. [emphasis mine]

Fans of the song: “Wait, that’s not the right lyrics. Why aren’t they the right lyrics? You should use the right lyrics! And don’t you know that’s not one line, it’s two lines from two different characters?”

Unawares readers: “Wait, why is she suddenly speaking in such a weird way? That sentence doesn’t make sense. I don’t think it’s even correct grammatically. And it doesn’t flow at all with the sentences surrounding it. What is this author doing?”

Either way you slice it, the readers just got distracted and immersion has been killed. Koren does this kind of thing frequently throughout the story, and it feels awkward every time.

Then we have the complete redefining of the solar system such that you can literally fly from Equestria to the Moon in an hour. Talk about a tiny solar system. In Koren’s defence, we don’t know anything about the solar system of the MLP world, so he can theoretically make it whatever he wants. But if you want the physicists and the astronomers and the “get it right!” science fiction crowd to not go crazy, you have to either justify your decisions or just stick to real-world rules.

And then there’s the giant black alicorn in the space capsule. Remember that this entire endeavor is supported by Princess Celestia. What, did she completely forget that she put a mad demigoddess (who is her F-ing sister) on the moon? Did it never occur to her that NMM might take advantage of this obvious means of escape? I mean, I consider incompetence a character trait of Celestia, but this defies even my sense of disbelief!

The good news is that this is Koren’s very first FIMFiction story. I’ve read their more recent works and they are legit good (in one case, downright awesome). From that perspective I can appreciate the improvement in the author’s technique over the years. But as for this story, I’m afraid its placement in my bookshelves is clear.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Star OverheadWHYRTY?
AND THEN!Pretty Good
The Story of a Forgotten PrincePretty Good
Honesty is a VirtueNeeds Work

A sleep-deprived Twilight finds a spell scroll said to be a “pick me up”. It also has the words “bad idea, don’t do” scratched on the side. Twilight, being Twilight, decides to ignore that latter bit and Spike’s warnings and gives it a go.

Basically, this is a story about Twilight getting high on magic and wandering Ponyville doing crazy things with no regard for legality, personal space, or logic. It’s pretty entertaining, with antics ranging from trying to eat tails to listening to the life stories of leaves to taste-testing unprepared ponies’ faces. I couldn’t stop grinning.

If you want to watch Twilight being silly in random ways while her friends try to make sense of the madness, this will do it for you.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Paper BoatsPretty Good

Twilight and Rarity are lovers. Twilight and Rarity like to play lovers’ games. Twilight and Rarity have some scary ideas on the definition of “lovers’ games”.

I almost refused to read this. One of my ground rules for requests and reviews in general is ‘no clop’. A few have slipped past my defenses, usually because I hoped there might be something more than just sex in them. Others I’ve decided to give a go because of an unusual or unexpected premise. This one fell well within that second set. I was told that this was a story that heavily emphasizes trust between lovers when the kinks involved are more intense than just a few whacks with a whip.

Super Trampoline didn’t lead me astray in that regard, but I will note that I find absolutely nothing sexual or entertaining about this story. Other people can have whatever kinks they want I suppose, but I find absolutely zero pleasure in pain. And what Twilight and Rarity are doing is more than that, it is literally torture. I feel no shame in admitting that reading this made me uncomfortable.

Yet read it I did, and I have to give credit where it’s due: for a clop story, this is nicely done. Strong description, effective setting and mood, and the occasional moment to let the characters come up for air — be it Rarity making sure Twilight is really okay with this or Twilight’s reassurances — make a scene that feels ‘real’. I also like that the story doesn’t disguise the fact that what they’re doing has the potential to be dangerous, and that precautions must be made. Rarity’s and Twilight’s kinks might be disturbing, but at least they seem to be responsible about it. Well, no, I take that back: you can’t do what they’re doing in the second chapter and be called “responsible”. But at least they’re taking every precaution.

That’s good. Neon Czolgosz isn’t writing this in a fantastical way that suggests you can do whatever you want with zero consequences. I feel that’s an important distinction from what most authors might do with material like this. I am reminded, favorably, of the similarly disturbing Celestia's Surprise for Twilight by DarkTwily. They used magic to prevent any issues there, but the point remains that the stories involved absolute trust between the lovers, lots of preparation to ensure things didn’t go overboard, and a wholly gut-wrenching kink.

As much as I’ll never be aroused by stories like this, and given that this isn’t a ‘story’ per se but a lot of sex, I have to give the author credit. When it comes to clop, this is certainly one of the better ones, provided you consider agonizing, mind-wrenching pain as a turn-on.

Now if you don’t mind, I need to get my mind off unpleasant material such as this.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Octavia, self-styled only sane mare in Ponyville (pay no attention to those pills in her purse!), is having her weekly dinner with Bon-Bon when a bombshell is dropped on her head: Special Agent Sweetie Drops needs her for a special spy agent of stability mission! And to think, Octavia thought her life was finally starting to resemble something akin to “normal”.

In this fun little spy thriller, Octavia ends up fighting changelings and rescuing the nobility as a temporary member of Celestia’s spies agents of national stability. There will be fighting, drugs, attempts at mind control, and a few idiot balls. The mind control and the sexuality involved (it’s surprising that this lacks a Sex tag) is where things get really dark. Octavia challenges that with her trademark wit and tendency towards violent solutions. As is typical of the Pope’s methodology, this combines extreme silliness with extreme seriousness, somehow managing to mash the two together in a comprehensible whole. It takes a lot of talent to pull that off.

If I had to complain about any one thing, it would be the nonsensical nature of the opening bits of the mission. Octavia goes to a manor to play for a noble known to be a traitor to the crown, but when that same noble gives her a note telling her to do something as part of her mission, she… does it? What? You’re just going to obey the guy you’ve been told by Celestia’s agents is the bad guy? Why? But then things get double dumb, becaues this villain gives her a note and tells her not to read it until a certain time, then she reads the note and it tells her to do something important before that time. And I’m sitting here scratching my head, wondering what the heck is going on because nothing makes sense. Once you get past that bit of quirkiness at the beginning, however, the rest of the story moves on adequately. 

This is a curious little add-on to The Royal Ponyville Orchestra. Although it does make some references to the previous story, they share nothing in common beyond the universe they inhabit. Were it not for those references, I’d say this could be read standalone. Even so, it’s a quick, easy romp if you’re interested in watching Octavia fail at being a spy while simultaneously kicking changeling butt.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Your Own Worst EnemyWHYRTY?
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Sweetie BellePretty Good
The Royal Ponyville OrchestraPretty Good

Stories for Next Week:

The Moondela Effect by fourths
It Curdles by Rinderin
The Quiescence of the Crystal Empire by Aldrigold
Sasha by Soufriere
Second Thoughts by President Dead
Riders on the Storm by Snowliasion
Are We the Baddies? by JawJoe
Solitude for the Modern Businessmare by Fahrenheit
Spark by AVeryStrange
The Discord Dating Game by DisneyFanatic23

Recent Review Map:

Paul's Thursday Reviews CCVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCVIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCX
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXI
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Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIII
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXVI

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Comments ( 8 )

Only one I've read is "Ground Control to Major Twi," and I had about the same reaction to it. I was also mystified as to how blase Twilight was to everything, from Twilight not reacting to a voice she's heard since childhood (and that we only get told about that in summary instead of seeing any of it happen) to a pretty straightforward takedown of NMM that suffers only one minor setback. I'm not as enamored of the author as you are, but then I've never read the stories of his you gave higher ratings to. His more recent stories are pretty good, though he could use a proofreader. Fortunately, that's easier part of writing to fix.

You're damn right I need a proof reader. It's like a box of fuckin' chocolates any time I look back at anything I've done. What'll it be this time? A word with all the right letters, but some not in the right place? Words swapped, words flipped around, there was one that I straight up didn't finish a sentence and just kept going without noticing until it was brought to my attention by another person. It was, and still is sometimes, a mess.

As for my other stories, both Second Place Trophies and A Growing Shadow were featured on EQD, so take that how you will. I've written a lot in the past year.

As for you, I don't know what possessed you to read this five year old story. I was in my first year of college when I wrote this. I wouldn't take the class that really made me start trying out new things and experimenting with my writing for another two years, and I wouldn't actually put that into anything other than Sometimes They Call Me Super for four.

As soon as I saw you were reading it, I nearly went in and rewrote it then and there because I knew this was exactly where it was going. However, I figured if I don't preserve my old, terrible work, I can't exactly look back and see where I was. I've rewritten the first couple chapters of Super so many times now that I think anybody who read it when I started it back then probably wouldn't recognize those chapters anymore. And of course, I'm still writing it five years later so you can imagine there are some quality shifts.

This also just happens to be the only story on my page that doesn't have proper cover art. I believe that picture shows up if you Google search "Sunrise from space." Talk about another thing I've improved on over the years. Comparing the difference between the cover of And Then! and Far from the Tree is staggering.

Thanks for the review, but I hope you pick literally anything else next time.

Author Interviewer

I'm a big proponent of stories that demonstrate safe, consensual kink, but with the heads-up, I'll take that one off my RIL for similar reasons of taste. c.c I don't have to actually read it to appreciate that it's there.

I think I was too hung up by the idea of Celestia sponsoring a moon landing and having her prized student perform it while supposedly aware of her deranged sibling being up there to fully acknowledge those particular flaws.

Every once in a while I get this insane idea to go back to an author's very first work and see what their writing was like back then. I presume that was the reason I read this, although I picked it so long ago that I can't recall.

Of course, I wholly support you not rewriting it. I've long been a proponent of keeping past mistakes intact so that we have them to remind us of where we came from. Also, spending time on rewrites takes time away from new material, which should be the eighth sin. Believe me, I've considered going back to make corrections to my No Heroes series countless times, but always remind myself why that's the wrong move.

I don't blame you at all for that one.

Thanks for the review of Out, Out Brief Candle!

Always tickled (no pun intended) pink when people notice that one since it's such an odd duck on this site with it's philosophy slasy meta themes and short length—let alone when somebody likes it! :pinkiehappy:

Was a very experimental story for me, and it helped me push myself a lot. Keeping the focus on that one, utterly unreactive candle. So much Pinkie when I normally barely use her. A heavy use of a third person narrator when I normally prefer first person from the main character's point of view...

About my only regret with that story is that it fell just~ short of Equestria Daily's word-count requirement, (think 2k then, 2.5k now) and it felt like a shame when I was so proud of writing something that breezy and snappy.

But~ at the same time I normally have this verbosity problem, and as you noted, I'm proud of how 'on point' OOBC ended up. It really is the most direct and theme focused story I've written so far, and padding that out just for exposure would have ruined some of the magic in keeping things so simple & direct.

So thanks a lot for the feedback. The interpretation of the candle being the world in particular was an idea I hadn't seen before, and it made me pause in a really good way because it wasn't how I myself thought/think about that story.

Interesting review of what turned out to be one of my favourite Sunset stories to write.

What's the point? There really isn't one. You basically hit the nail on the head that its whole purpose was just to flesh out the world I'd already co-opted and created, give it all grounding and a sense of place, take Slice-Of-Life to its natural extreme. I wanted that story to be more "atmospheric", for lack of a better word.

Really, I wrote it in honour of my own computer replacement two(?) years ago.

Reviewers tend to not like my writing, despite often praising the technical aspects, as you did. Perhaps my work is aimless and the plots low-stakes. But then, life itself is often that way. AMDQ is a "breather" story to its core. You won't find much meaning. All that matters is that a reader enjoys the ride on Sunset's moped. "Worth It" is worth it to me.

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