• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen Monday

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.

More Blog Posts181

  • 17 weeks
    Against Literalism

    “I think I see it,” Rainbow Dash whispered. She squeezed as low to the rocks as she could and crawled forward over the tumbled-down ruins of the jungle temple. “It’s just up ahead, in the nave.”

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    18 comments · 828 views
  • 19 weeks
    Who loves Sci-Fi (Spoiler: It's this guy)

    So, in the ten years I've been writing pony fan-fiction, I have had a persistent dilemma: I love sci-fi, but the MLP universe is intrinsically a fantasy setting. Many noble stories have bridged that gap, including some of my personal favorites (Kkat's Fallout, Iceman's Friendship is Optimal, and Arad's Stardust, as a small sampling). But except for a few scraps in my

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    17 comments · 531 views
  • 22 weeks
    Some original fantasy writing

    Normally when I write original fiction, it is strictly fiction – that is to say, not 'genre' fiction (i.e. science fiction, fantasy, etc). But I do love me some fantasy, so when the opportunity came to produce an original piece accompanying a favorite old game world of mine, I could barely pass up the chance. So if fantasy is your jam, you may enjoy this.

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    12 comments · 576 views
  • 25 weeks
    Romance Novels

    “What if,” Spike said, “Ginger Gypsy hadn’t been afraid to confess her love? Would you still hate her so much?”

    I frowned. “Hate is a strong word. I never said I hated her.”

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    24 comments · 758 views
  • 27 weeks
    Back to a more normal posting schedule

    Hey folks,

    I just published a pretty huge chapter in my favorite story, The World is Filled with Monsters. I have a good plan for the rest of the current act, and the rest of the story to follow.

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    27 comments · 607 views

Who loves Sci-Fi (Spoiler: It's this guy) · 7:09pm Dec 31st, 2021

So, in the ten years I've been writing pony fan-fiction, I have had a persistent dilemma: I love sci-fi, but the MLP universe is intrinsically a fantasy setting. Many noble stories have bridged that gap, including some of my personal favorites (Kkat's Fallout, Iceman's Friendship is Optimal, and Arad's Stardust, as a small sampling). But except for a few scraps in my short story collections, I've never tried to write a true Science Fiction story myself.

Well, that ends today. Many of you who've been reading my stuff for a while might know that I'm a big believer in the use of contests to spur productivity, and it would just so happen that Bicyclette is holding a Science Fiction contest that wraps up Jan. 6.

On the very last day of 2021, I'm happy to publish my first new story of the year: Refraction's Edge. It has everything I've always wanted to explore with science fiction – spaceships, alien ruins, strange planets and friendly AIs that nevertheless have their own agenda that may or may not overlap with yours. And I get to do it all with my favorite subject: ponies!

Refraction's Edge

Zenith would give anything to find her lost sister Nadir, who vanished in the depths of space long ago. And now, after decades of suspended animation, she has finally located Nadir on a strange planet haunted by alien ruins, far outside known space.

It's lonely out there, but Zenith has company – six personalities simulated by her ship's AI. And she'll need every ounce of help Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and the others can offer, for Lapis is a more mysterious, and dangerous, planet than she could ever have imagined.

Incidentally, I'm also pretty happy with how the artwork turned out. I'm currently vacationing for the holidays and not able to use my normal computer for art, but I was able to put something together with GIMP and this laptop.

I know I haven't been as active on this site as before, but I am still very much a part of the fanfiction community. I hope all of you who have a similar love for adventure stories, science fiction and ponies will give Refraction's Edge a chance. It's been a while since I had this much fun writing a story, and I hope you'll enjoy reading it too.

Comments ( 17 )

I love sci-fi, but the MLP universe is intrinsically a fantasy setting.

The difference between these two things is not nearly as large as we pretend it is. Star Wars is unusually blatant about this, being a Swords and Sorcery tale that impersonated science fiction as its main innovation.

I'm kind of in the same boat as you, but more extreme. I love sci-fi, but something has just never appealed to me about combining sci-fi with ponies, as what draws me to MLP is its elements that aren't really compatible with the genre. I don't think I've read a single sci-fi fanfic that I really enjoyed.

There is actually a major open door for science fiction stories with Generation 5. A lot of time has passed between the generations and through the mirror is the EG universe which could very well be star trek level at this point. So if you want to have the Izzy counterpart captaining a star ship, that would be possible.

I actually have been playing around with the idea of a short fic where Izzy gets the mirror from Alphabitte. She goes through the mirror alerting Twilight who had left through the mirror with Spike just before magic failed, and who has been watching the mirror in the hopes that magic would one day return to Equestria. They have a nice conversation, with Izzy trying to get Twilight to come back with her to Bridlewood, and Twilight saying that all her presence would do is bring the ponies back to the past. If the ponies have found friendship then she is not needed there, and should make their own way. I was pondering though if Spike would want to be a dragon in Equestria vs a dog in EG, and if he would go back with her, at least for a while, to stretch his wings.

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gonna have to check out this contest when it's done 👀

In a world where magic is a form of science, canonical sci-fi ponies are pretty easy for me to write. Seven of my stories have the #scifi tag, and others feature it without it being a dominant theme.

IM going to enjoy the hell outta reading this

I enjoy SciFi as well, and the first chapter has really hooked me.

Oh I'm so here for this.

I will definitely be giving this a read early in the new year!

Both sci-fi and fantasy are cozily sharing the 'speculative fiction' designation. The most sound distinction I've heard (and thus use) is that science fiction relies on science -- especially technology -- as a central element, without which it is no longer science fiction and becomes (usually) fantasy or 'just fiction'. (The line about 'sufficiently advanced technology' is but one muddying factor!)

5622601 (ETA, you may not see this in a notification...)

It's a very cool start for what's looking like a good story. Kind of Alastair Reynolds in flavor, which is a good thing; he's one of my favorite SF authors!

I consider science fiction to be the exploration of behavior and society through a fictional setting where these qualities are more easily displayed. Sci-fi tends to be introspective, examining humanity against an alternate background. From this perspective, Friendship is Magic qualifies as science fiction, while the latest Star Wars and Star Trek reboots get kicked over to the action genre.

I am so hyped for this. :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:

I'm very behind at the moment, but I've put this on a short list; thanks!
And good luck!

My opinion: Science fiction, at least before 1990, tended to use empiricist metaphysics, while fantasy has rationalist metaphysics. That means, among other things, that usually:

  • The authorial voice in fantasy uses virtue ethics, rule-based ethics, duty ethics, or deontological ethics. In SF, it uses consequentialist ethics (that action is best which would give the best results on average).
  • Fantasy worlds have karmic payback; SF worlds don't. Karmic payback makes virtue ethics work better than consequentialist ethics in fantasy worlds. Like, Frodo risks literally the whole world to spare Gollum, which is stupid, but which turns out to save the world, because the world rewards virtuous acts.
  • Most of the main characters in many fantasy books could be labelled "good" or "evil", though this is less true than it used to be. Main characters in SF books are more likely to be "correct" or "mistaken", or "reasonable" and "unreasonable". My theory predicts that SF authors would dichotomize less, but I don't know if that's correct.
  • Characters in fantasy are likely to be idealized in some way, whether good or evil; e.g., having young, fit, powerful bodies, or an insane skill level at something. (I call superhero comics fantasy, not science fiction.)
  • Fantasy is conservative or reactionary: typically the protagonist ("first actor") is technically the villain, and the hero's quest is in response to the villain's disturbance of the natural order, to restore or preserve the way things used to be. Change is by default bad. SF is pro-active, and sees change as likely to be good.

    • This is one reason fantasy is more likely to draw on ancient and medieval cultures, while science fiction dwells on future possibilities.
  • Fantasy worlds are logocentric: there is a kind of magical power in words. For instance, a myth of original creation using speech, the incantation of spells, the elevated speech of high fantasy, the ancient and medieval requirement that fantasy be written as poetry.

    • A more subtle effect is that the category divisions made by words are presumed to describe the world accurately, because each category defined by a word corresponds to its own eternal, essential nature. This is why old fantasies like The Lord of the Rings were so racist.
  • I predict that fantasy art is likely to be more stylized and to use bright primary colors, while SF art is more likely to be naturalistic and use a restricted color palette. I don't know if this is correct.
  • Fantasy creates awe and wonder from the miraculous: things that are amazing because they're impossible. SF creates awe and wonder from the marvelous: things that are amazing because they're possible.

I think popular media blurs the dichotomy more than books do. Space opera (e.g., Buck Rogers, Doctor Who, Star Wars) is rationalist science fiction, and follows rationalist metaphysics. I don't know of any parallel empiricist fantasy genre.

There are also cynical deconstructions of fantasy, in which the world is the naturalistic world of empiricists (no karma, virtue ethics don't work, colors are not bright, the characters are not beautiful and may even be deformed), and the authorial voice takes a perverse pleasure in shoving this in your face and saying "Isn't this naturalistic world terrible? Isn't the real world rotten to the core?" I think these subvert "classic" fantasy (say Tolkien) the way Raymond Chandler noir private-eye stories subverted old "lone hero saves the town and gets the girl" Western tropes. Game of Thrones might be one of these, but I only read the first book.

I'm curious just how likely it is that people who like SF or fantasy, like (or dislike) the other, because they really do come from different worldviews.


Those are some pretty insightful observations.

I'd like to note that the thing normal people (ie. the other person who responded to me) think of when you talk about the difference between fantasy and sci-fi is only mentioned tangentially: in the only second-level indented bullet point where it's mentioned only as a tendency, and in the last as an admittance of why it's the case.

Hi Gardez! You did a great job on the cover art, I agree. I'm looking forward to reading this over the next few days!

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