• Member Since 14th Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen Mar 6th, 2016


"I've kissed mermaids, rode the el Nino, walked the sand with the crustaceans...."


This story is a sequel to The Mare in the High Castle

When the irresistible urge to write and perform a piece of surreal performance art/kitchen sink drama strikes Twilight Sparkle, her friends and the town of Ponyville are more than happy to play along. Who can resist the alluring power of the theater, and its ability to take the observer on a flight of fancy to another time and place, to step inside the imagination of another, to travel to a world where artisans craft with the stuff dreams are made on?

But for one night only, the audience will find out just how literal that experience can be....

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 39 )

I think I get it, maybe? I'm getting something, at least. :rainbowhuh:

Take one more slip:

And our Twilight Sparkle ends up writing The Mare in the High Castle, seems to me...



Don't you mean The Grasshopper Lies Heavy?


Or do I mean:

That a few slips one way or the other, and the Twilight Sparkle who wrote the play we saw here instead writes a fantasy novel called The Mare in the High Castle, a fantasy novel that we can in fact read right here on FiMFiction right now?

Honestly? I don't know what I mean anymore... :twilightblush:



Are you suggesting I'm actually a dimension-hopping Twilight Sparkle?

I'm not denying it, mind you....

All I'm saying is, wheels within wheels.


I think you might get better reception over in Uqbar.


The wheels within:

Are always my favorite sort of wheels. Kind of like the tinier chocolate chip that I've always assumed is buried inside every regular chocolate chip. :pinkiehappy:

Mike Again

Hm. Interesting. It would appear that the link between worlds is working in both directions... or something.


or something

I love something. Something is my favorite.

But seriously....'or something' is a definite possibility.

Finally pulled this off the read later list. Interesting development, and I'm really looking into the proper sequel now. Guerilla theater warfare!

I get a slightly different song in my head in re: bad future, probably in addition to the one you've got there.


I actually realized one-shots are the perfect vehicle for some of the more tangential plot ideas I had (they'll definitely help keep the proper sequel from getting too bloated), so expect some more in the future. At least two, maybe more.

Also, was never really a Mega Man fan, but that is some sweet music. But you still can't beat "Floodland" for truly epic Wagnerian apocalyptic rock.

I'm kind of divided on this one-shot.
Conceptually, I like the entire "canon Twilight unknowingly replicates events from Mareverse in stage play" concept... It's the little details that kill the story for me. Lyra painted with reflective paint? Twilight staging 'a piece of surreal performance art/kitchen sink drama' without any apparent motivation*? In my head, these just don't click with good old vanilla Equestria. Maybe it's yet another iteration, different from canonical and Mare...? But unlike the last one, there are no explicitly set rules and backstory, making getting involved with this new iteration hard.
The inner "wheel" is legitimately interesting, though. Ending of Mare... left me with the feeling that Twilight will end up being some kind of visionary or wannabe-prophet... :twilightsheepish: Though I totally like underground playwriting - it's more subtle (and way more fitting for TS) plot device than classic soapbox messianism.
Other aspects of inner "wheel" is also enjoyable - the "teaching is twisted to polar opposite after the death of teacher" trope may be old and heavily used, but it successfully creates the felling of predistation (of darker variety). And the references are amusing as always, even if I miss half of them.

At the end of day, I'm still looking forward to Mare... sequel.

P.S.: mentioning (in the extended description) that this is a kind of spin off from another fic is a good idea. At least it wouldn't give a "WTF I've just read" state to passers-by.
*I guess because Twillight from Mareverse is playwriter? Still it rather miss than hit for me.


The whole thing was made to feel dreamlike and a little artificial. It's fiction, after all; fiction inside of fiction. The Rude Mechanicals, this weak and idle theme, all that. (The epigraph by Borges was chosen for reasons beyond having the word "unicorn" in it.)

But besides that, the idea of canon-Twilight being a playwright just makes sense. She's a literate book nerd who loves writing, she's experienced with organizing large groups of ponies (cf. Winter Wrap-Up), and she was pretty enthusiastic about the Hearth's Warming Eve play in season two. A girl like that has got some manuscripts tucked away, I know it. And as Borges, Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman preach, storytelling is magic in its own right.

On reflection, though, this may be closer to her comic book characterization than the one from the show. It's probably more inspired by things like her box of fanfiction on the cover of the first micro series issue, her younger self's Dungeons & Dragons Ogres & Obliuettes obsession, or the twofer where they have to chase a bookworm through her books and she constantly complains about how the others aren't rewriting the story properly.

This story gives me the same feeling I get after watching a Chris Nolan film: the itch to run out in the streets laughing for joy and make something amazing. It certainly helps that you're consistent with your ambiguity (if that IS a thing one can do) and you give the reader a lot of dense material to ponder when leaving the theater, especially regarding the metaphysical makeup of you universe(s). I'm going to have to give this another read tomorrow when my head is fresh.

I guess what I'm trying to say is: I really like it and I can't wait for more.


Funnily enough, I had that exact same feeling the first time I read Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

That's the beauty of postmodernism, I guess; it's all about how texts build on one another to produce meaning and influence people to make more texts and more meaning, while also undercutting the belief that any text is sacrosanct.

Although Foucault's Pendulum comes damn close, even if it is seven hundred pages.


Awesome! I'll have to check it out. I'm already planning on reading his "The Name of a Rose" after your most recent blog post. Any other suggestions?


Depends what you're looking to read, really.


Yeah, sorry. That was pretty vague. I guess any books that inspired the writing of Mare in the high Castle.

When I find an artist or author who I think is on to something I like to try and get in their head and see where they're coming from; see what they're really getting at.


There was a WHOLE (post about my inspiration that I've moved to my blog) here.

It's gone now.


Ha! That's a doozy, all right.

I love doozies. :)

Thanks for putting that much thought into your response. My Goodreads to-read list has gone up by 3% (which is actually a lot, I just have a lot of books I want to read). Again, I find it really interesting to see what an artist or author draws on to make their work. I'm excited to try and find out what makes your writing tick.

Ah, well. Best of luck with your writing! (Or reading. Or life. Or what-have-you). I can't wait to see what you've got in store!


After rewatching season four (before it disappears from Netflix), I would also like to add in my defense that before "Filli Vanilli" there wasn't the slightest clue Rarity and Big Mac were in a doo-wop group together, nor was there any evidence Sweetie Belle was interested in writing for the theater before "From Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils". So, good old vanilla Equestria does have a tradition of suddenly giving hobbies to its characters to benefit an episode's storyline.

Wow, just wow.
Also, you made me read "The Man in High Castle". You should be proud, I guess

5565109 5634054
Oh, it seems, there is a misunderstanding here. Maybe I should re-analyze my fellings... So:
(Canon) Twilight writing a play seems totally legit for me, even if it's never mentioned in series, yet it seems fitting with her character.
What bugs me - how avant-garde the play is. The one of thing that sold MLP for me back in 2012 was an interesting balance of being a bit self-ironical and meta-referential, and yet being somewhat naive and straightforward in its stories. Even if it was moderately shifted latter (and comic book are even more experimental, I suppose... Haven't read them (yet?)), kitchen sink realism still a far cry from vanilla MLP and thus don't tie neatly in my MLP-related theatre of mind, I guess.

Of course, that's just IMHO, which, while based on some facts from real word, is also a product of twisting that reality through my personal perception and experiences :twilightsheepish:


you made me read "The Man in High Castle". You should be proud, I guess

Just think of me as T. Sparks, sharing a love of good books. :twilightsmile:

kitchen sink realism still a far cry from vanilla MLP and thus don't tie neatly in my MLP-related theatre of mind, I guess.

Yeeeah, about that....

The audience is so confused and alienated because the play doesn't reflect their lives at all. Ponyville isn't like that, because of the magic of friendship uniting them all, so they have no frame of reference for what they're watching. Rarity Takes Manehattan (which, granted, is from season four) does imply the big city isn't as friendly as Ponyville, at least not until Rarity unleashes her generosity on it. Twilight's hometown of Canterlot, too, is a breeding ground for elitist snobs, and they definitely have some Dali-esque avant-garde art, as seen in Sweet and Elite.

I guess I didn't make the small town/big city distinction clear enough. In fact, I think I'll go add a few lines at the beginning explaining that better.

Also, apparently I said "Canterlot" in the description, which was a mistake. The story takes place in Ponyville, while the play takes place in Canterlot.


Any other suggestions?

One more:

Philip K. Dick's The Penultimate Truth. It won't take you long before you go, "Hmm, a story about an underground vault dweller hiding from the nuclear winter of World War III who must venture up to the blasted wasteland of a surface and comes into conflict with the remnants of the US Government led by a president who is secretly an AI? Sounds familiar."

One stallion in the front row declared that at least the effects were decent.

Good ol' Sokka. :pinkiesmile:


Sokka? No no, my friend. That was....


(I still have no clue how they got away with that on Nickelodeon)

Aaaand there goes the Grasshopper. I must say, your skill in erasing the border between realities is.. scary? In a good way? I don't even know :rainbowderp:

Definitely made me actually THINK about what I am reading, which is a rare (:raritywink:) and amazing feat for fanfic about colorful cartoon equines.
Nothing to it, you sure know how to write a good story. Can't wait for the next installment - Electric Shetlands, if I remember correctly?

Good job and thank you!



There's some more one-shots before I get to Shetlands. The next two are "The Simulneighcra" and "Clans of the Fain Commune," both featuring Vinyl Scratch. Then there's "Dr. Bloodwhinny," starring Cheese Sandwich (though obviously I couldn't get away with a name like that in a story like this), and finally -- assuming I don't come up with any more ideas -- "The Zapp Gun," involving Featherweight the paparazzi and Rarity, his unwitting target.

Good news, everyone!
No, really, glad to hear it. It's also nice to see you have this detailed a plan. Looking forward to them!

Brilliant use of multiple realities and beautiful prose.
I'm certainly looking forward to more.

I'm starting to wonder which reality this is being perceived from. I mean, for all I know, Castleverse Twilight could have been dreaming this.:twilightoops: Chapter 17 mentions something about the Elements of Harmony art movement. Maybe Twilight in Normalverse put on this play so that Castleverse Twilight might see it. I mean, where did Normalverse Twilight pull Solara and High Castle from? Her flank, I guess. A play about a playwright and friends who are just players on a stage. Events occur during the play that skew perceptions of reality and suspension of disbelief.:pinkiesick: I could read more into the ties to the last lines of Chapter 17, but people can think it for themselves.

Normalverse Twilight seemed to work really hard on becoming Castleverse Twilight. But why? Nopony else can read her thoughts. Nopony was there to read her thoughts out to the crowd, and there most certainly was no soliloquy. There is some purpose to the play, and don't understand what message Normalverse Twi is trying to send. To the audience or to Castleverse Twi. I still don't get how you weave all of that into its own story. The previous story had the story, the illusion of the world as perceived by the characters, and the illusion of the play. Here, there's the story and the illusion of the illusion of the play in the play. All of which is perceived by ponies who are trying to artifice a particular mindset.:rainbowhuh: Layers upon layers of layered layers of "reality."

:ajbemused:Not to bleed in from the previous story, but for the sake of amusement, I must say Thorny Bends is Starlight Glimmer. Think about it! Equality for all races! YAY! True Friendship for the first time. The Castle 6 seem to consider Thorny a friend. In our town/radio show, which might as well be its own world, ponies are equals on the stage as dictated by Thorny. Look at how DIVIDED everypony is in the city. MATH BUTT MARKS. I hope this was entertaining.:twilightsheepish: I can't wait to read S***lands. Oh, it's Shetlands?:facehoof: We might need a different single word to reference the story by.


It's all some mighty entertaining speculation. As to the nature of reality, though, my lips are sealed. :eeyup:

Except to say that those quotes by Zhuangzi I referenced are very, very deliberate. :pinkiegasp:

I must say Thorny Bends is Starlight Glimmer.

That might be a plausible theory if I hadn't started writing High Castle in August of '13, when Sunset Shimmer was still a brand new character. :twilightsmile:

I can't wait to read S***lands. Oh, it's Shetlands?

Considering the state of Equestria, it's not that far off. :ajsleepy:

Oh. This is so very, very clever.
Twilight performing on stage the depths of despair that Twilight feels as she attempts to grasp her visions of Twilight and put them on stage.

Your universe is probably one of the most horrific translations of pony I've come across. It makes FoE look like a foal's game. Congratulations on the perfect dystopia.

Wait, how old is this work? Did I miss this, all those months ago? 36 WEEKS?!? HOW COULD I MISS THIS!?!?

I need to check on you more often ponichaeism. You are one of my favorite authors, and I cannot sit here in ignorance of your work.

I... I... I don't understand. :rainbowhuh::twilightoops: hopefully the sequels (:pinkiehappy:) will clear it up a little... but... *sigh* I was hoping there'd be a happy ending to the Mare in the High Castle-verse... That's seeming less likely. I suppose I should've known, anyways, just looking at the story so far. Still hoping for some happiness at the very end, pleasepleaseplease?


Even if it does have a happy ending....will you be able to trust that it's real?

This turned my mind inside out.
Twilight writing a play about a dystopian a/u Twilight writing a subversive play about an a/u Twilight's life to expound on the meaning of friendship.
Or at least thats what I got out of it. When I wasnt doubting my sense of inverse reality. Cause things really got slippery perception wise.

This was wonderfully twisty


I feel compelled to point out that I don't deserve that much credit; the conceit was taken right from The Man in the High Castle. I just....fiddled with it a bit, that's all.

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