Royal Canterlot Library 640 members · 484 stories
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Hello, all you fantastic Royal Canterlot Library readers!

As it so happens, we are quickly coming up on the second anniversary of the RCL’s first interview. And over these past two years, I’m sure some of you at one point or another have thought, “I’m glad they featured [insert awesome cool ponyfic author here], but that’s not the story that I would have picked.”

Well, now we’re giving you guys a chance to amend that. In celebration of 2 years of RCL, we ask you, our dear readers: For our 2nd anniversary, who would you like to see featured a 2nd time?

It’s quite straightforward: in the comments below, nominate a story written by one of our featured authors (you can find the full list of RCL-featured authors here), but one different than the story we featured. Be sure to include a link to the story and a few words about why it’s worth featuring. (Also, make sure it wasn’t already featured in RBDash’s Pony Fiction Vault; there’s a handy drop-down bar on the right-hand side where you can filter the posts by author so you can quickly check.)

Then, vote for the story you’d like to see us feature by upvoting the comment nominating said story. You can vote for as many stories as you like. The nomination with the most upvotes will be featured for our second anniversary! That’s right: we’re letting you, the readers, decide this one.

You all have until Sunday, October 4th at 11:59PM EST to nominate and vote for stories. We’ll post a reminder next week on our site/FIMFic interview post so that you guys have a chance to check back in to this thread and see what’s been nominated before voting closes.

Let the fanficing begin!

The New Crop

by xjuggernaughtx

A long time ago, my family moved to Appleloosa, and we ain't had no luck since. We tried growing apples, but our orchards just never took right. Now, the bank's gonna repossess unless we can get some bits together real fast.
No, we ain't never been lucky, but in that ring, I don’t need luck. I’m one win away from saving our farm, and Granny says that tonight I’m fighting some fancy unicorn named Blueblood. I hear he's real fast, but there ain’t no way I’m losing with so much on the line.
This ain't gonna be pretty. In fact, I can just about guarantee it’ll be real, real ugly.

Juggy has come an awfully long way since he was featured for Diary of a Pliant Tyrant. I had a chat with him at the time about how I didn't really think that story was up to snuff. It was enjoyable, sure, but it was a pretty poor representation of it's format. We've talked a fair bit since then. We worked on a few things. I even bought him a book.

Then suddenly, he comes out with one of the strongest character pieces I have read on this site. It's a phenomenal take on what it means to step into the boxing ring with an opponent as skilled as you are, where pure force of will and who outright wants it more is the only thing between victory and ignominy – and even victory is just a band-aid on a sinking ship. Voice, theme, characterisation, and heart make this a #1 contender for Juggy's 2nd post on The Royal Canterlot Library.

It deserves it's fifteen minutes of fame, and it's criminal that already being featured once would stop that.


Sergeant Sprinkles

A Canterlot Carol

by Ghost of Heraclitus

The business of government never stops, and paperwork never rests, even on Hearthwarming. But this particular Hearthwarming, Cabinet Secretary and tea enthusiast Dotted Line plans to do his level best to see it, at least, take a break. His ponies need to go home to their families, and he, well, he has plans this Hearthwarming.

Ghost of Heraclitus's Whom the Princesses Would Destroy is in the Pony Fiction Vault. Twilight Sparkle Makes a Cup of Tea is in the RCL.

But this is, I think, the crown to the scepter and robe. A story which is simultaneously funny and heartwarming, this features heroic Cabinet Secretary Dotted Line at his finest - driving off all of his employees to spend time with their families and dealing with crises which come up on Hearth's Warming Eve so that no one else has to. From front to back, this is a great story, and engaging throughout, whether it be Dotted Line's conflict with eldritch monstrosities inhabiting his chimney, his conversations with his staff that shows that they are true comrades, to the conversation with the Zebrecian ambassador about Prince Blueblood's non-apology, all the way through to Dotted Line's plans, every part of this is memorable and enjoyable, and is one of the greatest stories about the meaning of Christmas Hearth's Warming ever written.

Plus, let's face it - we all want to listen to another interview with Ghost of Heraclitus.

Pinkie's been an apprentice baker ever since she moved in with the Cakes, and part of that is because she hasn't completed her master piece: the dish which will prove she's worthy of the unamended title. For her, that's a soufflé. Something she's never been able to successfully bake.

With the Cakes out of town and the bakery closed for a day, Pinkie has a chance to spend her time in trying to take that final step. And perhaps somewhere before the end of her failures, she'll learn something about why doing so was important --

-- or if it was ever really important at all.

Estee's previous feature was Five Hundred Little Murders. It is a very good story, no doubt about that, but I always felt that the Curators have a propensity to feature drama - sad and dark stories - over, well, happier stories.

To me at least, this is Estee's best story. The writing is spot on, Estee's signature narrative voice breathes life into every one of the mane six, especially Pinkie, and the ending is great, featuring one of the fandom's most underrated characters (well, not so much these days with Slice of Life, but still hardly seen anywhere). The lesson in the end is something everyone can take to heart - if you read Estee's Triptych, you'll know that he has an obsession with the question of cutie marks and destinies in the MLP universe. This story is similar, but does it just as effectively, on a much smaller scale.

The humor is understated - there's no laugh out loud moment - but in the end the story, like all good slice of life stories, it leaves you with a warm and fuzzy feeling. It is without a doubt the single best Pinkie Pie story I've read anywhere.

Also, can we nominate more than one? I'd also throw a Cold In Gardez's story into the ring. Someone can probably write a better recommendation than me though.

Group Contributor


Also, can we nominate more than one?

Sure, I'll allow it. :twilightsmile: I think I'd like people to keep their number of nominations as limited as feasible — after all, you're making an argument for the best among the best here — but I certainly won't begrudge anyone for nominating an extra story or two!

Author Interviewer
Group Admin

It'll be a good idea if you keep each nomination to a single post for voting's sake, of course.

by The Descendant

When they began to read the ancient book Twilight and Spike only had the slightest of ideas what it could possibly be about. As the illuminated inks revealed to them an image of Princess Celestia locked in combat with a massive dragon and his sons they realized that the song written upon the aged pages was telling of a long forgotten battle...

... and that the Celestia they know and love is capable of things they dare not imagine.

The Descendant has A Cup of Joe in the Pony Fiction Vault and Variables in the Royal Canterlot Library.

I've had The Song of Syhlex on my recommended stories list for a long time. It was one of the few lore stories for an early Equestria when we knew even less than we do now. The style in which the story is written is quite enjoyable and greatly enhances the feel that this is something that happened so long ago that is has nearly passed into myth.

4734369 Damn. That's a good call.

4732567 Since it's the 2nd anniversary, why not re-feature 2 authors?

Group Contributor

4736547 Oh.

Oh, I like the way you think. :ajsmug:

Unfortunately, that would also mean twice as much work for us. :rainbowderp:

4736795 Maaaaaybe. Or maybe it's an opportunity for all of you to read two great stories instead of one! And 2x the work fits with the theme! Hooray for theming!

Still, If it's too much of a resource drain, that's understandable.


Thank God! You guys have been wrong so many times, there's no way I could narrow down my list to just one :derpytongue2:

Actually, after combing through my "Favourites" and ignoring any already in the Vault, I've only got a list of eighteen fics. Most of those are just stories that you could've also gone with, but aren't necessarily better than the ones you did pick. I'll try to focus on where you really screwed up

OK, this is harder than I thought it'd be. I may have to nominate more stories than I'd planned, but I'll try not to go too overboard

Last Hearth's Warming

by Kegisak

Last Hearth's Warming, I gave you my heart

The very next day, you gave it away.

This year,

To save me from tears,

I'll give it to someone special...

It's been almost a year since Blues broke up with his coltfriend, yet everywhere he goes he can't stop seeing him - not even in the new stallion Blues has been asked to train...

I couldn't even finish reading The Colour You Bleed. It seemed to have a good story at its core, but was sorely in need of an editor (though what Kegisak fic isn't?)

Last Hearth's Warming has similar issues, but they don't become a problem until you're almost done anyway, giving you a chance to actually enjoy that core good story (unlike Colour). And what a story it is! Easily one of the best m/m shipfics out there (not hard, considering how unfortunately few good ones exist). This is how you ship ponies! At one point, I actually had to step away from the computer to squeal into a pillow like a schoolgirl. Any fic that can provoke that kind of reaction from me has to be doing something right

Movements of Fire and Shadow

by Inquistor M

Much of Luna's life has returned to normal in the short years since she returned. It takes a pony very close to her to spot that something is haunting the princess again and that she's been sneaking off after nightfall for some time. When that pony has all the tact of a battleship, the only thing for certain is that things are about to get heated.

Scott's written some great stuff, even if I don't always agree with his stylistic choices. While Every Mare Needs Her Stallion was good enough for a "like", I feel it was one of his weaker works. Pride and The Boy Who Cried Wolf easily trump it. Movements is his only fic in my "Favourites", though, and if we ignore the fact that my standards for that change over time and according to mood, we can say that actually is my favorite story of his (hey, I'm not gonna go back and re-read 'em all. I'm behind enough on reading new stuff)

This one's another example of how to ship ponies, but in a totally different way than Last Hearth's Warming, because as one commenter put it, it's not really a shipfic. This one's for those who want a little more subtlety and intelligence in their writing, and don't mind a story that skimps on the horse frenching. Also unlike LHW, I'm not biased toward this one, because lesbians

I've still got a few more on my list, including Cloud Wander and Cold in Gardez, but if I have to limit it to just one (which I'd like to do), I'd have to go with:

The Railway Ponies: Highball

by The Descendant

I was still a young colt when I took my first steps into the world of steam engines and railroading. I was meant to sing the song of steel, the chorus of the railways. Despite the challenges, discomfort, and dangers, I wanted to be a railway pony. I wanted a fine steam engine like #3803. I wanted to be like Highball.

What I got? Well now, there's a story worth telling...

I had a hard time choosing between this and Tangled Up in Blues, and I'm still waffling on that decision. Both stories have great characterization. To quote Scott, "...they feel like actual people." Check out the OMPR review of All the Mortal Remains — another fic I wanted to nominate — if you want to see him elaborate more on this subject. It's chock-full of research and romanticism, and about as highbrow as ponyfiction gets. Impress your friends with how sophisticated your tastes are when they just see this and not all the smut and random comedies also in your "Favourites"! That's not just me, right? I can't be the only one who gets self-conscious about what they read

Contraptionology! by Skywriter

I know that there's often a bias in these kinds of contests against works of considerable length and age. People prefer stories that they've read recently and are fresh in their minds, or are short enough to be read during lunch breaks or in the few minutes before they go to sleep.

But for those who haven't read Contraptionology! yet and are interested in intelligent, well-written comedy-adventures - or if you're just as big a fan of mixing ponies and Mad Science as I am - I promise that it's well worth your time. I can't think of another story I've read that does such an excellent job of riding that fine line between absurd situations and genuine tension, keeping you on the edge of your seat as you watch Flutteryshy mutate into the monstrous Flutter-Bee-Bat, Rarity conduct pre-emptive strikes on Canterlot with her Wondrous Lanthorn, or Applejack delve into the mysteries of the universe with her Large Hadron Cider, all the while somehow maintaining a perfectly coherent plot and pace. I believe someone once referred to Contraptionology! as the summer action blockbuster of pony fics, and it is - if summer blockbusters were full of clever ideas, intelligent writing, and genuine character development and growth.

This is one of the fandom's earlier fics that has aged very, very well, and I'd love nothing more than to see it get a second chance at the spotlight in the RCL's second anniversary feature. ~ Sable


I'll second you on that. My vote for Song of Syhlex.

4732567 This is a nice idea, but it turns the choice into a question of who has more followers, or who's willing to ask their followers to vote for them and who isn't, or who gets a plug from someone with more followers. At least try to get a site blog post for this, because I think most people only find this thread when somebody asks them to come here and vote for a particular story.

Author Interviewer
Group Admin

I added it to the top of last week's feature post. That's about the best we can get.


You could have the thread for nominations and leave the voting to an internal vote in the RCL.

4745346 I think Noble Thought has the right idea here. The actual winner probably ought to be determined by the staff. The RCL could take the top five results or something, then do an internal vote for the winner. Or just read them all, I guess. I mean, they're probably all good, right?

4745317 That's probably the best you can do, then. "Reader's choice" implies popularity, so we shouldn't try to factor out popularity. It bothers me that Skywriter and Ghost are too shy to plug their own stories, but that's their decision.

Group Contributor

4745346 4745433

I think at this stage, telling everyone who voted, "Hey, remember what I said about you guys getting to pick the feature? Well guess what, I lied. Your vote didn't actually count; we're gonna pick the feature instead" isn't exactly something I could say in good faith.

Besides, I'm pretty happy with the selection of stories we've got on this thread. :twilightsmile: We've got a tight race and still five days left to see where this thing goes.

Clearly we just need to join in on the blog plugs :V


That is how I found this post. I wasn't even in the group until then (and I am certainly not staying in it after this appalling display), though I have enjoyed all the site posts up to that point. I also have approaching zero followers by count and no clout whatsoever to influence anything.

4745630 I agree with this, but this is a fitting quote.

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. -Joseph Stalin

Group Contributor

4745782 Given that everyone gets to see the vote tallies in real time along with us, I'm going to say that that quote is really not fitting at all.

4745814 Eh, suspension of disbelief.

4745782 AHA! You shouldn't have told me that. I just... COUNTED THE VOTES! Mwah-hah-hah!

And I decide the feature goes to My Immortal.

4746046 Damn, I was hoping that Half Life: Full Life Consequences would get it!:pinkiecrazy:

Next time maybe, next time....

4745692 Clearly we need to subvert the process by cooperatively plugging a red-and-black alicorn fic. :moustache:

But does the RCL accept incomplete stories? :V Though it is really more of a serial.

Is it really so bad if this comes down to a popularity contest? Nothing about the OP suggests it's a contest to determine the best author, and any eligible candidates have already been featured anyway, so I don't see how it matters. If anything, popularity having an influence kinda makes sense, since a more popular author probably has lots of other stories their fans would've rather seen featured

I dunno if there's any way to see who voted for what, but if there is, just restrict everyone to one vote per author. So you could vote for Highball or Song of Syhlex, but not both. That'd spread votes for them out a little, diminishing the impact of their popularity

4746216 Reader's choice is going to be some kind of popularity contest, so, like I said, it's not really a problem.

restrict everyone to one vote per author.

Hmm. Then having 2 stories nominated is a disadvantage. That doesn't seem fair either.

I'm happy with the nominees. Anyway, I think JP is right that they can't go back on what they said. I'm just thinking ahead to their 4th anniversary. :ajsmug:

There is a village where everypony can be the same.

You may have read some nasty things about it. Rumors of stolen cutie marks and power-mad unicorns. Tall tales about forced smiles and frightened glances.

It's all lies. All except the part about us wanting to escape. That's true.

It's why we came here in the first place.

It's hard to pick a Cold in Gardez story, because I've not read anything from him that I didn't like. My pick for him was between this and All the Mortal Remains. This won out because this has lesser views, and that story already has a pretty detailed blog post about it.

(Spoilers for the story below - if you've not read it, I would recommend doing that now)

This is in essence a re-telling of the season 5 premiere, except in this town, Starlight does not exist. And that makes all the difference in the world.

This is not a town built on deceit. Everypony here knows exactly what they're getting into, and exactly why they are here. Every day, everypony wake up to a different job, go to home with a different family, and sleep in a different bed, in a town where everypony is finally equal. It's the age old question of individualism vs. communalism, egalitarian vs. meritocratic, but applied to Equestria, a world where destiny is a force as real as gravity is on Earth, and everypony has their own special talent stamped on their flanks. In short, the last place this village should exist in.

Yet Cold in Gardez not only brings it to life, he makes it believable. Everypony is there for a reason, and within that and the almost mundane description of life in the village, a strand of melancholy persists in the background. We mourn the things these ponies lose when they join the village - their past, their ability to express their individual talents, their property and even their family - and we sympathize with them, because only deeply broken individual would end up in a community like this. Yet, who are we to argue if this is what makes them happy?

Cold in Gardez takes the season 5 premiere, and turns it into the story it really should be, one which doesn't take the easy way out. And that makes this story an incredible read.

Comment posted by mustangdrew4 deleted Oct 1st, 2015

4747701 This one is already in this thread, so there's no reason to post it again.

If you want to vote for it, just upvote the post with it, that's all.


I am very, very grateful to Posted for nominating my story The Song of Syhlex and to Professor Oats for nominating my story The Railway Ponies: Highball. I am very, very glad that they feel that these works were worthy of inclusion in this anniversary project.

However, I must ask that they be removed from nomination.

It was unfair—and unbecoming—for someone with as many Watchers and Followers as myself to "advertise" this contest and by inadvoidable extension bias the voting towards his own works. I had assumed that with names like Cold in Gardez and Skywriter being thrown around, as well as by having a good selection of other worthy works, that this contest would be a lot closer in terms of voting than it is at this time. I did not mean to make this a "Two-Horse Race" between my own works.

I apologize to those whose opinion of me has been damaged by this action on my part, to the R.C.L. for tampering with their anniversary project, and to my own Watchers who I must now disappoint.

Thank you all for your time, and best of luck with this anniversary project.

4732567 I'm totally against this. The Descendant has just as much right to be in this contest, and just as much right to advertise, as anyone else. I've blogged about it twice, and if he's doing something wrong, then I am too. Tons of people love his stories and that's on display here. This is a contest about what the readers want to see featured, and I think the readers have spoken and continue to.

4744382 Hey, if you know The Descendant, please try and talk him out of pulling out of this contest. It's ridiculous for him not to accept what he's earned here.

Author Interviewer
Group Admin

This is what we asked for. You've done nothing wrong, and others have done the same. You are a well-respected author in the running with a lot of other well-respected authors and you definitely deserve to be here. You wouldn't have all those followers if that was untrue. And it's not like you went and told your followers to nominate you: both story noms were done out of love and appreciation for your work.

I cannot speak for my fellow curators, but I wholeheartedly reject this request.


Descy, if you pull out of this contest, I will cockpunch you the next time we meet. If I were involved in this, I would be advertising like a mofo. Don't pull out -- you've more than won the honor. And it looks like you're not going to win this request.

4748664 That's kind of you to offer. But now I feel guilty. [1]

Will you stay in the competition if I blog about it, and ask Ghost, Skywriter, and Cold in Gardez to blog about their nominees?

[1] Maybe because of that orphanage. But the view from my summer home is much nicer without it.

Group Contributor

4748664 I'm in complete agreement with 4748875 here.

Additionally, if it makes you feel better, your announcement of this thread actually brought a huge boost to all of the nominated stories, not just yours. Titanium's nomination of A Canterlot Carol leaped from, like, 8 upvotes to 17 in the immediate aftermath of your blog post, Pinkie Pie vs. The Soufflé was stuck around 3 or so beforehand, and The New Crop leaped from the low-20s into the mid-30s. And heck, the nomination of The Song of Syhlex was already closing in on The New Crop before you even told your followers about this. You brought a lot of attention to this thread and, if you ask me, actually generated a lot more excitement and interest in this than we would have otherwise had.

I beg you to reconsider. Besides, as 4748801 pointed out, if we were rejecting nominations for the reasons you put forward, we'd be throwing out a lot of these nominations. :derpytongue2:

The reality is that most of the nominated entries with lots of votes got promoted in blog posts, so... yeah, there's no reason to withdraw.

4749243 4748664 Ghost, Skywriter, and Cold in Gardez have not blogged about it. But I'm going to post a blog about it now, and I'm going to ask each of them to post as well. That's about 7000 followers between the four of us, maybe 5000 unique followers. That should alleviate your concern. Titanium Dragon, you want to post too?

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