• Member Since 22nd Sep, 2011
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I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.


A Newfoal Earth-Pony stallion writes from Equestria to tell his still-human best friend about his education there, and how Equestrians live and work.

As Featured On Equestria Daily!

Chapters (5)
Comments ( 78 )

Maube Stephen is a member of HLF, who knows.

I wonder why Stephen hasn't gone through the ponification yet. Also how are these letters going back and forth through the barrier? o.O Can't wait to read more.

it was a little dull

"like a Vanderwaals clamp onto plastcrete"

This almost ruins it for me. Why on earth would anyone use this when 'like a barnacle to a hull' or somesuch would work better? In addition, this does not have the weight of tradition behind it, and it's not easily understood. Yes, I got it almost instantly, but I'm kind of used to this sort of situation.



Hmmm. It may be that in trying to maintain a connection to the high-tech, Nano-age Conversion Bureau world outside of the Barrier, I used too many shotguns for that partic'lar weddin'. Noted.

This is pretty interesting though one-sided since we're not seeing any of Stephen's replies. Still, I think I'll keep an eye on this.

Hmmmm.....it's sort of odd to see where Trixie fits into the 'verse. My guess is that the word 'new-foal' and place name 'Los Pegasus' mean next to nothing to her; all she sees are more ponies willing to mock her for the Ursa Minor incident.


The technique of writing a one-sided correspondence is an old one. It is expected that the reader fill in the missing voice of the person being written to by implication and inference; of course any author attempting such a thing must work hard to try to make that effort on the part of the reader as easy and automatic as possible. But by having only one side of the conversation available, it becomes possible to set up situations that gradually reveal themselves in ways no other form can allow. I'm kind of experimenting with the style here.

I am attempting, in each of the four stories I intend for this Conversion Bureau 'Lost In The Herd' collection, to try a different style or trick for each one.

In the first, 'The Big Respawn', I made use of vulgar language to illuminate a fundamental change of consciousness.
In the second 'Euphrosyne Unchained' I went the basic adventure story route as by-the-book as I could.
In this third story 'Letters From Home', I am attempting the one-sided correspondence story.

Here is a successful example (one of many) of the same concept that you could check out if you wish. It is the Hugo-award winning short story that led to the Nebula-Award winning novel of the same name, 'Flowers For Algernon' by Daniel Keyes. I found a link to an online version of the short story:


Please note that I DO NOT imagine I am even vaguely close to the kind of talent someone like Keyes represents. I am pony poop in a dung cart compared to Daniel Keyes. But the technique itself is well established and useful, and, well, if I don't try to practice different styles, then how can I learn and grow?

Anyway, that is what I am up to here, for what it is worth.

Oh, dear; perhaps he'll meet the four new-foals from the last story to gain a bit of perspective on this.

The third story of four is now done. I was a little more experimental with this one, a little more daring in the style. I hope it worked out for at least some readers. I especially enjoyed imagining how sapient ponies could work in the world, building and making things. The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that a race of beings without hands could manage a technology - so long as their temperament enforced some form of universal cooperation - a 'herd instinct' overriding all else. The old saying from China 'Many hands make light work' applies, only with hooves and mouths replacing hands.

When I wrote this I strongly felt Noah/Wildfire's emotion about the events of his life, my wish is that something of that might have come across. In any case, thank you kindly for reading it.

You just keep getting better. :pinkiehappy:

Wow. When I read the first part, the revelation, my heart sank. The intertwining between the stories was very well done.

Only issue I could see was that Wildfire went from anger at his friend to forgiveness a little too quickly.

But all in all: wonderful job. Your writing keeps getting better and better, and I'm glad, because I get to read all of your stories! Keep it up!

I was so shocked about the first part of the letter I could hardly read the rest, it was as if one of my own friends had betrayed me. The amount of emotion you were able to put in this piece was amazing!

Another good story. I think you're improving with each one, and you wove this story into your previous one quite skilfully.

Kind of nice to hear that at least some of humanity trying to fight, at least some of us not traitors.

Well that was unexpected. :applecry:

Wow, that ending hit me surprisingly hard, been very melancholy all evening since finishing this one, cried during the last chapter. Nicely done.

Soooo he's a helicopter pilot and he knows the schedule of a certain twilight sparkle. For some reason I feel like I know how his story is going to end....

11328 I think that's part of it, is that ponies are predisposed to forgiveness quicker than a human would be. It draws a nice distinction between the two species

That was good! Very nice! :pinkiehappy:

Even their poop is better than humanities. Weird.

If anti-theodicy isn't a word yet, it really needs to be. Loving it. :pinkiehappy:

The 'doomed by canon' brigade is having a party in my feels, dammit... :fluttercry:

It's even worse seeing the other side of that story.

OK yeah, I tried. For scientific reasons. I mean, come on. No, down and under isn't really possible. Ponies aren't like dogs. Enough said.

I'll be honest, at this line, I had to stop and take a breather, I was laughing at this line. :rainbowlaugh: The fact that he did it FOR SCIENCE makes it even funnier.

Now you would be amazed at how smoothly this goes. It's like magic. Once the two saw-ponies were strapped in, I just found myself trotting in to the saw cover with the others. I didn't even think about it, We just all worked as one. I've never experienced anything like it, not even during my days back at the factory. And it felt good to work together. Nopony complains, or shirks, or causes trouble. Not when it counts.

Say...a thought occurs to me. I don't know if you address this in a future story..but I had a thought.
Perhaps its not so much that being an Equestrian makes one more positive (or more likely to work well with others) perhaps its simply the magic of harmony flowing throughout their lands that causes this. Were it not for the magic of Harmony, its entirely possible they'd be acting more like humans can act.

This also gives an interesting theory on what Discord's Rule actually was. Perhaps he didn't actually do much except mess with things every now and then, but simply replaced the magic of Harmony with the magic of Disharmony, and thus "he ruled Equestria in an eternal state of unrest and unhappiness." (Heck, other than replacing the magic, he wouldn't have to do a thing, and could just sit back and watch the 'fun')

When there is a job to do, that a lot of ponies are all doing, suddenly it's like there is nothing more wonderful than helping out. Afterward, everypony is just back to being themselves. It's a little creepy, when I think about it.

Perhaps I'm just weird like this, but this would infuriate me, for three reasons.
1-I am very individualistic, and the idea of some invisible force controlling me, even if its to help people, simply chafes against my soul. I am not the type of person who enjoys being manipulated (unless I desire to, but that's a waaaayy different story.)
2-If I'm going to help others, I want it to be because I genuinely wish to do so. I don't want some invisible force of some kind saying "right, so its helpy time, everyone play nice and help because I say so and you have no choice"
3-I don't like the idea of someone forcing an emotion on me. Being forced to be happy is not something I'm keen on.

But I was assured that within the borders of Equestria, nothing is poisonous. Nothing.

That's technically incorrect, show canon at least. Poison Oak was mentioned, and that's not even getting started on Poison Joke.

But something tells me in this 'verse that both obejcts don't grow anywhere except inside the Everfreee forest. Of course, also by show canon, the Everfree is technically within the borders of Equestria. But that's neither here nor there.

I'll finish with a little statement about magic. Unicorns suck. I don't like their attitude. They don't know what real work is, and they prance around like that horn makes them more special than everypony. I don't have that feeling around the pegasai, they're cool. But I get annoyed at the unicorns. They're all loners, or so it seems, and because they can magic things, they don't seem to have that work-together spirit I described earlier. I wouldn't trust one in any sawmill I ran, that's all I'm saying.

Seeing this bit warmed my heart :pinkiecrazy: Hey, don't judge me, I'm only a tad bit crazy!

Maybe Equestria is a pocket universe, or subspace, or some alternate reflection of earth.

Forgive me for being a bit out of it in my trek/technobabble, but does subspace even work like that? Of course, there's always the ever present handwavium known as 'DE MAGIKZ!!' but still, its something that bothers me.

Otherwise, this was an interesting read, and while its pretty much an info-dump, it doesn't feel like an info-dump. Onto the next chapter, and then whatever story is next on the list!

Your comments cheered me when I needed it. Thank you.

I'm glad you liked the 'For Science' dog bit!

Okay, I just had to vent before finishing the story, I hate Stephen with the passion of the sun. I like, however, how you tied your stories together so well and how you made this into a major plot arch. Thiugh saddened, I can't wait to read the following reactionary letters. Really, this is a well-written and original story!

11067 in response to your reponse to Orpheus, while I agree that your reference is not immediately understood by our present mindset, I believe that making such futuristic phrases actually adds to the stiry by making it relevant to the time period it represents. While people (or newfoals, in this case) may use old idioms like "heard it from the horse's mouth", of course there are going to be new ones made over the development of the human race. Currently, we make comparrisons with thigs that would have made no sense in the early 1900's, so why shouldn't there be new sayings in the future that we can only grasp at. I completely understand Orpheus's complaint and respect it, but I disagree in that it detracts from the story. If anything, it adds to the futuristic setting of the story.

Wow. What a great way to end the one-sided correspondence story! I was afrad of how, after discovering what Stephen was going to do with the information (gained from your connections made in the previous chapter), the correspondence would be terminated. But you made a great decsision to make it a coping mechanism, suggested by his wife. Though, the mood swing of this letter (from anger to forgiveness) was swift, I think it is supported by his mutual awknowledgement of the horrible truth and his hopes for a better future. Also, as you said in "Unchained" and other works, that ponies are more likely to keep a level head and less likely to hold a grudge than humans. Great work! I like how you are using different writing styles for each of the "Lost in the Herd" series, and, of all of them so far, I think that you rose to the challenge of such an unconventional writing style (one-sided corrsespondence) with great success! Thank you for writing this! It was really amazing to read!

Oh! I have managed to find out the answer to your request. I think it is really incredibly open-minded of you, after all of my annoying preaching about how you should join me in Equestria (as at the beginning of this letter, sorry, again), that you would want to hear the other side of the issue. I can't think of a better pony to hear about the non-HLF viewpoint than our own ambassador Twilight Sparkle either. I can see why you want to hear it directly from her. And I am more than happy to help.
It wasn't easy, but I managed to find out her schedule, so you can see her in person. My new pegasus friend Skysinger knows a pegasus that knows one of the Royal Guard. I vouched for you, and explained things, and in the end he helped me out.

Oh dear.

Wow. That was a gorram rollercoaster of feels, but... I think what hurts the most is not knowing whether Skysinger and Wildfire ever made up. :fluttercry: I hope Sky decided to try again, eventually. Which reminds me, I still need to figure out who Amaranth is...

Hm, I wonder if he ever learns to make friends with the unicorns...

Hm, this is the second time I've seen mention of the idea that Pegasi are somehow the elites of Equestrian society. Where does this idea come from? it has always been the unicorns who were portrayed as such. Or is this just viewpoint bias in both cases?

It's really interesting to see his understanding of the world grow, and his attempts to persuade someone on the path of joining the HLF to come and join him instead. I wonder where it will lead.

Oh. Oh... Oh. Well. This is not going to end well at all is it.

I hope he gets to be friends with Sky again. What a terrible thing to have happen to you :(

Another story where the word "Bittersweet" seems remarkably appropriate. If this is one of those meant to compare Equestria and Earth, it surely does a very good job. On the one hand, we see the difficulties and joys of adapting to life there. (Personally, I'm not sure how you could ever adapt to writing with your mouth. Say what you want about hands, but it's hard to compete with that level of dexterity. The Unicorns got it easy if you ask me)

It's remarkable just how similar Equestria is to earth. Well, maybe not this version of earth, or any earth that's ever actually existed for very long. Maybe more just the ideal of earth. In many respects, the love and community the Equestrians do have is exactly what so many people have longed for all their lives. Of course, it's also the small town thing. Some small towns can be like that. Well, the friends anyway. If you ignore all the drug addicts and people who hate each other, it's just like that.

It's hard to envy poor Stephen. I've already said what I think about him, so there's no need to go into detail. Still, it's sad to have to see the consequences play out like this. Masterful working the stories so they entwine like this, though. It's a pretty neat idea, and I sure didn't expect it. In a way, his connection with the protagonist serves to humanize him. To show that anyone we think as normal and balanced might end up a monster. Sure, they probably won't. But there's always the one. Even if this monster was more guilty of intent than success. It sounds like his girlfriend was the one who actually managed to do the murdering and stuff.

Celestia seems a little like Nyarlathotep, the way she's portrayed here. Maybe not all the different masks, but she shares much in common with the one in the Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath. She's surely not evil or wicked or malign in any way, at least not in this story. Yet, she is capable of actions that would be considered such, if you were to warrant it. It seems every society must be guilty of some evil in order to function, even the remarkably good ponies. It's just in their society all the hard stuff is concentrated into two ponies, so that it isn't shared by the whole society. Shame that's not practical here. Earth, as it happens, seems to be rather barreft of such divine beings incarnate, ruling over us.

And in the end, Wildfire forgave. That's a nice way to end it, even if there's no way he's getting his miracle.


It's remarkable just how similar Equestria is to earth.

Yes, yes it is. That is one of the first things that hit me when I watched the show initially. Here was this alien universe of sapient equinoids who literally control and are physical nature within their cosmos (except for the Everfree), and yet everything in their world looks like it was transplanted from the Tudor period of earth history and technology.

I love working out No-Prizes to explain things. I went through the notion of Equestria being a future, destroyed and reborn earth. The physics didn't work, so that was out. Then I simply accepted the universe at face value - it was a universe, another cosmos, not anything like our own. Equestria wasn't even a planet, it was a place, a realm, likely very alien indeed. So... as with my works in the past, such as Unicorn Jelly, I started working out the unique cosmology that would most easily explain what the show presented.

The connection to our earth was a natural progression of that line of reasoning... and in the rest of my stories I explore it thoroughly. By the end, almost everything will be explained, except for one thing: I never wrote the book that explains precisely what Equestria actually is. I don't know if I can do that now, or will... a lot was taken out of me by the massive harassment and abuse that happened. But everything but that last detail is fully explained.

There is no way that Equestria could look so similar to our world without some connection in the distant past.

I hope you will find my solution to this dilemma satisfying.

Yes, I had noticed that your stories tend to get lots of attention. Very polarizing, with lots of hate. That's part of what made me want to read them, actually. I figured that if lots of people hated them, they must be worth reading! Haven't been disappointed so far! I look forward to seeing all these questions answered as I continue to go through them! The journey continues! I should be able to read another story or two by the end of tonight, although they seem to be getting longer the further I get. >.>

I just love your Celestia, dear Chat. you can tell that she is a powerful but loving deity.

Thank you, very much, for being willing to read my stories. I put all of my heart and soul into them, I try to do my very best. I hope that you might like them!

I... like Celestia, very much. I reason that hers is a difficult and often lonely burden - she loves all creatures, she desires peace and order and kindness, but she must also rule - she is a ruler, and to rule is to make difficult decisions that must be made. When I write her, I think 'Diana and Venus, Elizabeth the first, what would a blend of them do?'

I see my Celestia as a nurturing mother figure, but also as a strong ruler, who seeks to maintain peace. She is, for me, a consummate chess player, but she doesn't play merely to win - she plays so that the other side feels satisfied too.

4533558 I certainly think you do a good job writing her.:raritywink: 'hugs'

Right, I don't have a lot of time before I need to start doing things in preparation for class, but I've got a bit.

Yeah, of all the adjustments, I imagine that writing with one's mouth is one of the most difficult to make. Hm, though I recall you saying that Equestria has three written languages; perhaps each is shaped to be easy for the associated pony type to write. Not that that helps with English, of course.

Hm, so apparently letters in the reverse direction are being sent and read, but we're not getting them.

The vocabulary and sentence structure seem to be growing more complex as his skill improves, which seems a bit odd. Then again, we're seeing this as typed text; in reality, it's… oralscript? Whatever the earth pony equivalent of manuscript is. Anyway, it probably starts out as quite a messy scrawl, with large and unevenly made letters. As more complex words and sentences tend to be larger and require more symbols ("Is that a semicolon or a pair of inkblots?"), it probably does make sense that he'd want to keep things simple.

Interesting bit about the woodworking. Ponies are so reliant on working together; fortunately for them, though, they work together really, really well. :)

Also an interesting bit about the unicorns. It's probably colored by Noah's perspective, but the coloring itself is interesting; we can learn about earth ponies and unicorns from the same bit of text.

Also an interesting bit about the toilets. Of course, it doesn't explain how pegasai do it, and I imagine that a lot of unicorn-dominated areas have plumbing, heated seats, teleporters if they really want to show off, etc., but knowledge!

And the end of the chapter, just in time as far as my schedule is concerned. Sigh. Well, the story is making me a bit jealous (as I'm sure you can understand), but I'm certainly enjoying it! Lots of nice (in more ways than one) worldbuilding. :)

Yes, the first letters can be imagined as scrawling messes written with pencil in teeth by an unskilled newfoal. The issue for me, as a writer, is to show this in some manner, in typeface text. I have taken the approach you have seen to indicate a growing competency, as each letter becomes more detailed.

I thought about how the character would cope with the difficulty of writing. The first letters would be simple, with shorter words, because each letter takes so long to write. The message itself would be short, too, because the effort would be great and time consuming. There would, of course, be errors.

As competency rose, the letters would become longer, and eventually become easy to do.

Aye, it makes sense, and I'm not sure how else you would have shown it. I suppose that you, with your art skills, could have actually just drawn the letters, but I'm not sure I'd have been able to read them. :)

Hm. I wonder how many pencils the Bureaus and other training centers go through due to novice earth ponies and pegasai accidentally biting too hard?

Oh, and besides the actual content of this story, it makes me wonder about the interuniversal mail system. Do heroic post pegasai fly directly from the Barrier to the destination, braving the HLF and the other dangers of Earth? Do unicorns do direct teleportation? Is the mail hooved off to human carriers on the shore or a ship? If so, what are their stories like? Are they all uniformed and well-funded Federal Parcel Express Service officers, or is some mail placed in the hands of lone independent couriers? Well, perhaps I'll find out later in the story. :)


Do heroic post pegasai fly directly from the Barrier to the destination, braving the HLF and the other dangers of Earth?

This, exactly. Here is one depicted from the very first chapter of 'The Taste Of Grass'"


Mail is carried between the two universes by pegasus mail carriers, running a regular route to major cities... and some especially brave ponies who seek out individuals wherever they might be. And right there, in that, is the basis of a very exciting and amazing story that I wish there were still enough Three Rules compatible authors regularly writing Bureau fiction out there to take up the challenge of.

Ah well, if beggers were wishes, horses... would fly. Across the Barrier and back.

To this day I despise the filth that killed the Bureau, and even worse, the cowardly Bureau authors who caved in to them.

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