• Published 19th Jul 2012
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The Best of All Possible Worlds - McPoodle



The philosopher Voltaire finds himself in the most-frustrating place imaginable: Equestria

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Afterward, Credits & Acknowledgements

The Best of All Possible Worlds

Afterward


Ponies, as has been stated, have a habit of taking anything unusual in their lives, turning it into a good story, and then preferring the story to reality; humans are not that different from ponies in this regard.

Once Emperor Noffony I had been overthrown, the griffons settled down into something greatly resembling “normal” to the ponies. As a result, the story that the ponies ended up telling themselves to explain the events of the Griffish Revolution was that their neighbors had temporarily gone completely insane, but were all better now, thank you very much. As for that bizarre form of government they now practiced—something called “republicanism”—ponies simply put it in the mental bucket labeled “things that will only give you a headache if you try to figure them out” and went back to the same hum-drum lives they led before any of this madness ever happened. (Pinkie Pie, when she came around, earned herself a permanent place in that bucket.)

The griffons on the other claw consider themselves entirely different than what they were before the Revolution. They see themselves as a unique experiment, a merger of all of the major races of the world: their own strength of character, fused with Diamond Dog republicanism, pony ingenuity, and dragon patience. This belief is backed by fact: The Griffish Republic boasts the highest ratio of non-natives among their population of any of the Four Races. In the case of the integrated Orange Clan, the non-natives are treated indistinguishably from griffons, and are treated as if the facts of their differing sizes, lifespans and diet are mere accidents of birth and nothing more. This confidence in their own identity is due to an innate belief that they are uniquely blessed by the creator god that all of the ponies seem to have forgotten about, and destined to convert the entire world to their doctrines when the time is right. Luckily for everybody else in the world, that time is “not yet”.


The parts of Princess Celestia’s life after the events of this story which are not public knowledge are not in my place to reveal, so you’ll hear no more of her here.

Also, Morningstar and Eveningstar’s great accomplishments occurred before Voltaire visited Equestria. They attended the family weddings, helped to care for the family grandchildren, and died of old age surrounded by their loved ones. Typically for Morningstar, she spent her last moments criticizing those around her for their lack of sincerity when they claimed they would be sad to see her go.

~ ~ ~

Cogs Sparkle moved permanently to the Aerie and became a Griffish citizen, although he became a conscientious objector during the Griffish-Equestrian War. He is even suspected of sabotaging some of the clockwork engines of war that he had prepared for use against a possible dragon invasion that never materialized. He married a fellow inventor who happened to be a griffon, and died without fathering or adopting a child. Instead, he spent his life putting Griffish civilization on a non-magical, technological foundation.

This was long considered by pony historians to be a bad idea. Magic, after all, is a lot cheaper than technology.

With the opening of the Trans-World Portal, however, that gamble is finally starting to pay off. It may take centuries for the consequences to fully play themselves out, but most objective observers predict that the griffons will become the major economic winners of the trans-Portal trading network.

~ ~ ~

Zody Sparkle married Blue Belle in EY 6768. Their daughter, Rigella, was born a year later, and was named after the bright blue star. Zody died at Water Loop in 6770. After a complex negotiating process, Rigella was officially adopted into the Sparkle family, and all modern Sparkles are her descendants.

Blue Belle was present at the tragic death of her husband at Water Loop, and the collapse of Noffony’s invasion in that battle is largely credited to the joint machinations of herself and Perrygore. After the inevitable awards ceremony at Canterlot Palace, Blue Belle withdrew from politics, spending nearly two decades in mourning before marrying her long-time suitor, the Griffish diplomat pony Sir Purse Strings. Despite her age, Blue Belle fulfilled her family duty by giving birth to Blueblood XVI three years later. There are dozens of stories told about her, impossible rumors that she killed the Mad Emperor herself before he succeeded in severing the Strings of Fate, that her husband was a mere pickpocket that she tricked the world into thinking was aristocracy, and that she was secretly the Princess’ most trusted advisor and the hoof behind the most incredible acts, both good and evil, that happened during her long life.

Most of these rumors are true.

~ ~ ~

After the Orange Revolution and the voluntary joining of the Orange Tribe of dragons with the Griffish Republic, Ambassador Botvinnik and a number of other aristocrats joined the Purple Clan, but they were never allowed the power they once held. Botvinnik is currently nothing more than a pineapple farmer, and ponies are still his only purchasers.

~ ~ ~

Noir of the Diamond Dogs died of a heart attack in 6769. The Diamond Dogs said that he chose this form of death rather than vote either for or against invading the Griffish Empire as an ally of the ponies.

~ ~ ~

The griffon Sky Shock was tried for crimes against griffinity and placed under house arrest for the remaining fifteen years of her life. By all accounts, it was more a prison of the mind than of the body.

She died crying out the name of her lost daughter.

~ ~ ~

Leopold ran for president against the mysterious figure who would later go down in history as Noffony I, under a platform of strict neutrality. He was assassinated during a political speech, an act which at the time was blamed on the ponies and led both to Noffony’s elevation to emperor and the outbreak of war.

~ ~ ~

Uncle K’s sanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. realizqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi.. Ponyagination. After transfornisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Strings of Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi. Ponyaanisqatsi.

~ ~ ~

Citizen Perrygore survived the turmoil of the Griffish Empire the same way he had weathered every other event of the Revolution. Which is to say I have no idea how he survived the turmoil of the Griffish Empire.

He settled into a comfortable cave and wrote his memoirs, which in letters to his friends he claimed contained all the secrets of his various political masters through the years, including Noffony I.

He died peacefully in his sleep in 6783. His memoirs were never found.

~ ~ ~

True to her wishes, Genevieve left no impact on history. This at least was what she believed to her dying day on the shores of Water Loop.

However, it is suspicious that an incredible series of portraits of Princess Celestia exist from this time period, signed by Prince Blueblood. The Prince was not known for his artistic ability. If not for those signatures, it is highly unlikely that the works would have survived the Iconoclastic Purge of the early Eighth Millennium.

~ ~ ~

In AD 1754, Friedrich the Great triggered a conflict called “The Seven Years War” in Europe and “The French and Indian War” in America; Winston Churchill considered it “the first world war” in history. Despite being massively outnumbered by an alliance of his numerous enemies, Friedrich managed to fight them to a standstill, giving his British allies the leeway to fight in the colonies instead of in Europe. It’s a bit of a stretch, but the fact that I am writing this translation in English instead of French is in some part due to the King in Prussia. To take a less American-centric view, the economic and political strength of modern Germany is also partly to his credit. Balanced against those two accomplishments is his masterminding of the First Partition of Poland. He died in 1786, having succeeded in his dream of becoming King of Prussia instead of merely King in Prussia. Napoleon considered the man to be his greatest inspiration as a general.

~ ~ ~

I hope you realize that the villainous character of Count Algarotti was entirely my own invention—I needed an antagonist from among Voltaire’s circle in Prussia, and I couldn’t take Maupertuis seriously, so I went with the guy Thomas Carlyle had an irrational dislike for. In real life, Algarotti was a polymath and a bon vivant who went through life offending no one. Algarotti’s essay on opera (1755) shaped how that art form would be treated for the next several decades, and Cristoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice was a direct result of their shared ideas on the form.

~ ~ ~

Voltaire’s prediction that he would not last long in King Frederick’s service turned out to be accurate: he got into a fight of words with President Maupertuis in 1753 over the latter’s intellectual bullying of his inferiors that ended with the French philosopher getting himself arrested and kicked out of the country.

Forbidden to settle in Germany or France, he eventually bought himself a private estate just over the Swiss border at Ferney, where he spent the rest of his unexpectedly long life as a lord of a tiny village. The horrible official response to the Great Lisbon Earthquake of 1755, and the even more shameful cover-up of that response by most other philosophers of the day, led Voltaire to pen Candide, the work by which he is best known today. After a crisis of conscience, he used the fame this gave him to attempt that which he lacked the nerve or selflessness to do previously: to use his pen to defend the weak instead of merely to attack the strong. He became a champion of religious tolerance, raising awareness for the martyrdoms of the Protestant Jean Calas and others, and his return to Paris to watch a performance of his most-famous play in 1778 was a triumphal one. As he had expected, however, the stress of the trip was too much for his weakened body, and he died before he was able to leave the capital. It is said that on his deathbed that a Catholic priest begged him to renounce Satan and all of his works. Voltaire’s response: “Now is not the time for making new enemies.”

On July 11, 1791, in the midst of the French Revolution, his remains were transferred to the Panthéon of Paris in a huge public ceremony. Written at that time was his epitaph, reflecting the way the revolutionaries viewed him:

He avenged Calas, La Barre, Sirven and Monbailli.

Poet, philosopher, historian, he gave a great impetus to the human spirit, and prepared us to be free.

He combatted atheists and fanatics. He inspired tolerance. He reclaimed the rights of man against serfdom and feudalism.

He also founded a watch company that is still in existence today.

~ ~ ~

“If God hadn’t existed, it would have been necessary to invent Him.”

—Voltaire, Letter to the Author of The Three Impostors, 1768



Credits and Acknowledgements


In writing a story set two and a half centuries before the first episode of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, I’ve wandered pretty far afield from Lauren Faust’s original vision. Nevertheless, I wish to express my profound appreciation of that vision, and in particular her careful “non-vision” of the character of Princess Celestia. By leaving her mysterious, she has left the space that I and so many other unworthy authors have attempted to fill with our writings.

The only names in this story that directly come from Friendship Is Magic are the following: Princesses Celestia and Luna (and Nightmare Moon). Discord (and other theoretical dragonequii). Star Swirl the Bearded. The Blueblood and Sparkle families (assuming they are families in canon). The Summer Sun Celebration, the Raising of the Sun Ceremony, and the details and characters of the Hearth’s Warming Eve pageant (the Windigos, Clover the Clever, Private Pansy and Smart Cookie). Equestria, Canterlot (and especially its palace and gardens), The Everfree Forest, Hoofington, Manehattan and Trottingham. Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. And of course the ponies as a race and what little we know so far about griffons, dragons and Diamond Dogs in this setting.

My knowledge of Voltaire was primarily taken from Voltaire: A Life, by Ian Davidson (2010). My primary source for King Frederick II was Frederick the Great by Thomas Carlyle (1865). Both were supplemented by their entries on Wikipedia, so I get to blame that if I got anything wrong.

I went through a period a decade ago where I tried to find the best generalist work on the French Revolution that had ever been written (in English). I eventually concluded that The Days of the French Revolution, by Christopher Hibbert (1980) was that book, and it was my source for major parts of Chapters 20 - 32.

Additional Bibliographic Notes by Chapter

Introduction

* “solid pink substance”: shoggoth or Smooze—you decide!

* the watch: When Isaac Newton proved that the universe could be explained mathematically, this opened up the possibility that it could be completely explained in that way, that the universe was some sort of elaborate mechanism like a clock, and once the Celestial Clockmaker (aka God) had set that clock in motion, there was no longer any reason for Him to intervene. Under the philosophy of Deism, which grew up around this concept, God’s only purpose was to create the universe; everything that followed after that was the result of the interaction of that machinery with human free will. Voltaire was a Deist.

Chapter 1

* Opening: The starts of both this and the next chapter are modeled after the narrative style of Candide.

* Genevieve: Her name selected, as if it needed to be said, because its diminutive is “jenny”.

* “Nightingale told us once that she thought Genevieve here could probably draw anything in Equestria”: First mention of the Royal Tailor, and Rarity’s ancestor.

Chapter 2

* Burr Linn: Berlin. I probably let this joke go on for far too long.

* “The King suddenly noticed the flute in his hand”: Friedrich the Great was a passionate flutist, having C.P.E. Bach and Johann Quantz among his court musicians, and composing original pieces of his own.

* Dean Swift: Jonathan Swift was Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, and Voltaire was fond of using titles to either elevate (in the case of Swift) or demean (in the case of “Flattener” Maupertuis). Gulliver’s Travels had been written in 1726, so enough time had passed for the work to become generally known.

* Pegasus, with a capital “P”: It should be remembered that prior to the Twentieth Century, there was only one winged horse in literature or mythology, and “Pegasus” was his name, not his breed.

* The Garden of Eden, also known as Paradise (1536, by Lucas Cranach the Elder). You’ll want to spend a few minutes examining this in detail, because there’s some weird stuff (otherwise known as The Book of Genesis, Chapters 2 and 3) lurking in odd corners of this painting.

* “he did not want to be turned into a newt”. Witches can do that, you know.

* Seven-league boots: A common element of fairy tales, each step taken in these boots takes you as far as an average man could walk in a seven-hour day, approximately 30 km. The most recent reference to them that I can remember was from Howl’s Moving Castle.

* “Newton discovering gravity from an apple hitting his head”: Voltaire was in fact the first author to use this story to demonstrate how the scientist realized that the force that caused apples to drop towards the center of the Earth was the same as the force that kept the Moon falling but missing the same destination. I used to think the story was an oversimplification, but other than the fact that the apple fell next to Sir Isaac instead of bonking him on the head, it turns out to be essentially accurate.

* The Age of Louis XIV was published in 1751, just barely making it in before the setting of this story. It was a cultural evaluation of the late Seventeenth Century, which Voltaire considered to be the Golden Age of modern civilization. Which meant of course that he thought of his current age as a corrupt fall from that paradise.

* Micromegas was published in 1752, so I’m cheating a bit by including it here. The story was about Micromegas (“little giant”), a native of a planet orbiting the star Sirius. He teamed up with a native of Saturn to examine Earth. There, they came upon a team of learned explorers, almost certainly Maupertuis’ polar expedition, and proceeded to mercilessly mock their stupidity. The excerpt given in this chapter was from the beginning of the book, explaining why the Sirian suddenly saw a need to visit other solar systems. Seeing how King Louis was the one who exiled Voltaire from France, it is far more likely that he was the target of the satire than Friedrich.

* Port wine (and the English): Port is fortified wine produced in a particular region of Portugal (hence the name). It became popular in Portugal’s ally England during the War of the Spanish Succession, because import of wines from their enemy France became impossible at that time, and the Portuguese alliance included duty free imports.

Chapter 4

* The Orange Dragon Clan’s spy: Later revealed to be Pensive Thought.

* Janus: I threw this in here to show that the Princess engages in activities completely unknown to her subjects. The Roman Janus was the two-faced god of beginnings and endings. The doors of his temple were closed in times of peace and open in times of war. Let’s just say that the fight between Genevieve and Blue Belle just opened those doors, and they will not close for at least a generation after the end of this story.

Chapter 5

* The stories that humans told about unicorns: I’m referring primarily to the Unicorn Tapestries.

Chapter 6

* Eveningstar and Celestia’s conversation: This is based on the assumption that Celestia thought Nightmare Moon’s banishment to be eternal before this moment, and that the book Twilight Sparkle reads about the thousand year term of banishment was written afterwards, probably at Celestia’s command. The banishment in my chronology occurred in the year 6014, while the story takes place in the year 6764.

* “That reminds me of a race of ancient humans that once mixed up their months and years and ended up believing that one of their sages lived for 969 years.”: The individual referred to is Methuselah, and this argument about substituting months for years is a common one used by rationalists to explain his supposed longevity in the Bible.

* The Roman: Ovid, or in Latin, Publius Ovidius Naso. The emperor being referred to was Augustus, who went to the extraordinary length of personally sentencing the poet without a trial or a hearing before the Senate in AD 8. He was exiled to Tomis in what is now Romania, where he completed the Metamorphoses before he died in AD 17. The author was deliberately vague about the cause of his exile in his writings, his least ambiguous statement being that he was guilty of “a poem and a mistake”, his crime worse than murder, more harmful than poetry.

* Zebricans: I’m pretty sure the first use of “Zebrica” to refer to the home country of the zebras in Equestria comes from the Fallout: Equestria series of fanfics. My stories are not in that continuity, but I find I like the name “Zebrica” enough to use it anyway.

* Empress Elizabeth: Ruler of Russia from 1741 to 1762, and a long-time enemy of King Friedrich.

Chapter 7

* “He figured he was...near the exit of the Northwest Passage”: In other words, Voltaire guessed that he was in the same general location as Studio B, given where people thought the Northwest Passage was located in 1751.

* Voltaire’s prayer that God make his enemies ridiculous: This one is documented as being his. The second one is my own invention.

Chapter 8: Voltaire liked body humor jokes. No more need be said.

Chapter 10

* Celestia’s fancy alicorn cousins: This was written during the period when the Crystal Kingdom was just a rumor among the fans, so I decided to combine it with Prance (France) and make it an island floating just off the horizon to the east of Canterlot. Obviously, this was also before I learned that Canterlot was landlocked.

* The amniomorphic spell: I’m told that the name, first revealed and tied to Star Swirl in “Luna Eclipsed”, was meant to be a weak Harry Potter pun. My interpretation, however, was that it was tied to shaping (amnio) of one’s form (morphic). At a time when we had just learned that the alicorns had not created the ponies, the name of the spell seemed to imply that it was used to turn two normal ponies into alicorns. If I’m lucky, the first episode of the Fourth Season will confirm this. [Edit: It didn’t.]

* The “magical catastrophe” that forces Celestia to raise and lower the sun each day: This is later revealed to be the work of Discord.

Chapter 11

* The Coppenbrügge outside Hamelin: Site of the climax of The Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Chapter 12

* A Citizen of Canterlot: The plot of this nonsensical play was inspired by that of Voltaire’s most-famous play in his lifetime, Zaire. It is also a subtle dig at the supposed author of this story, who is at times Morningstar, at other times Eveningstar, with unresolved emotional attachments to both her princess and her assistant.

Chapter 13

* The Diamond Dog Revolution: The reader is expected to make parallels between this development and the American Revolution, with the Diamond Dogs standing in for the Americans, the Orange Clan of dragons for the British, and the griffons for the French. Goliath in this case is George Washington, Duchess Praiseworthy is King Louis XVI, and the ponies correspond with the Prussians and other nations that did not officially choose a side in the conflict, but rather sent private individuals like the Baron von Steuben to lend individual support to the American cause.

* Botvinnik: My private system for keeping dragons as distinct in character from ponies as possible includes the rule of giving them all names of famous Russians or at least East Europeans. The historical Mikhail Botvinnik (1911 - 1995) was a Soviet and Russian International Grandmaster and World Champion of chess who was also a pioneer in the field of computer chess.

Chapter 17

* The Pitts: A reference to the two British prime ministers William Pitt the Elder and William Pitt the Younger.

* “The Frog Princess of Fomalhaut”: This is essentially Voltaire’s “Power and Omnipotence” essay from the Philosophical Dictionary, converted into a fairy tale. It’s also the whole reason this story was written, because the moment I read it, I knew Princess Celestia needed to hear it.

* “Brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax”: Chorus of the titular creatures from the comedy The Frogs, by Aristophanes (405 BC).

Chapter 18

* “Peaches, the griffon export especially loved by the ponies”: You ever notice how peaches have this warm inviting orange skin, but turn blood red around the pit?

* Grizelda: Yes, she’s precisely who you think she is, at least if you know what the common nickname for “Grizelda” is.

* “It means that it is 8 o’clock”: At least in the first season of the series, clocks only had eight hours on them.

* Voltaire’s theory about revolutions: This is the one major aspect of his character that I invented. You see, Voltaire was a good historian, but the art of modern history was so new in his time that he simply didn’t have the data necessary to come up with this theory. Instead, it’s my own invention, fueled by equal parts Oswald Spengler and Arnold J. Toynbee. Although it is my impression that even as early as 1751, Voltaire had a gut feeling that France was hurtling towards self-destruction.

* The details of King Friedrich’s life: All taken from Carlyle’s biography.

* Voltaire’s first exile: In 1726 (before Voltaire had become Voltaire) a French nobleman, the Chevalier de Rohan, tossed out an insult to François-Marie Arouet at a party. Arouet responded in kind. The Chevalier responded by sending his servants to beat Arouet. Arouet challenged him to a duel. Insulted that someone so inferior to him in birth would dare to do such a thing, the Rohan family arranged for the monarchy to issue a warrant to arrest Arouet—back in those days you didn’t even need a charge to do this, just so long as the gap in nobility between the two parties was big enough. Under normal circumstances, this would have led the young wit to be tossed into the Bastille, where it was highly unlikely that he would ever be seen again. Arouet negotiated to be exiled to England instead, where his exposure to English government and science would not only fundamentally change his outlook on life, but also lead to the adoption of his new name.

* “Did you decide to quit being banished?”: Invader Zim (Nickelodeon, 2001), created by Jhonen Vasquez.

* Voltaire’s scientist friend, who helped him get rich: This was Charles-Marie de la Condamine. Remember earlier when I told you that Pierre Louis Maupertuis got famous by traveling to Lapland to prove that the Earth was ever-so-slightly flat on top? Well in reality he only did half the job: he measured the length of a degree of latitude near the Pole, but that had to be compared to the length of a degree of latitude near the equator in order to prove that one was smaller than the other. And the man who measured the equatorial degree (in Ecuador, in fact)? Charles-Marie de la Condamine. Unlike Maupertuis, he didn’t get a swell head over the accomplishment, even though he ended up doing more than the “Great Flattener”: since the meter is based on his degree of latitude, Condamine effectively created the basis of the Metric System.

Chapter 20

* Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopédie: This was considered by its creators and contributors to be the founding document of the Enlightenment, its aim to transform the way its readers thought of the world around them. When completed in 1772, it had 28 volumes and 71,818 articles. Voltaire contributed 26 articles on history, literature and philosophy.

* The griffons bankrupting themselves fighting the dragons (over the Diamond Dog War of Independence): Parallel to France bankrupting itself fighting for the Americans in their war of independence.

* Attempts to make up the loss through “clever economics”: Finance ministers Jacques Necker and Charles de Calonne fail to save France through clever economics, 1776 - 1787. The fictional analogue for France being supported by the local god-princess, of course did not correspond with real life.

* “You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs”: Common proverb first quoted by the Middle Eastern historian Charles P. Issawi. The quote continues “...but it is amazing how many eggs one can break without making a decent omelet.”

* “FISBY LIVES!”: A derivative of “Frodo Lives!”, a counterculture slogan of the 1960’s and 1970’s, often found spray-painted on the walls of college campuses and a reference to the Lord of Rings series of books by J.R.R. Tolkien (1955), which entered widespread paperback publication during this period. The precise meaning of the original slogan is uncertain.

* “Are you robbing me?”: “I’m robbing you!

* The Pointy Pillow and The Comfy Chair: Season 2, Episode 2 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, entitled “The Spanish Inquisition” (1970).

* “Pumpkin-ification”: Oblique reference to the satire Apocolocyntosis Claudii by Seneca the Younger (First Century AD). The title is a Greek pun meaning both the apotheosis of the Emperor Claudius, and his miraculous transformation into a pumpkin.

* The proverbial “dark alley” of fiction: Here’s the pertinent section of TV Tropes, which itself could be considered a “dark alley” of sorts, if the currency you are about to be deprived of is time instead of money.

* “Let them eat cake”: A phrase incorrectly attributed to Queen Marie Antoinette. In fact it was invented by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and placed in the mouth of a fictional queen for his Confessions in 1765, when Antoinette was only nine years old.

* “The Bakery”: The Bastille, which was stormed on 14 July 1789.

* The taking of the Griffon Palace: The Women’s March on Versailles, 1 October 1789.

Chapter 21

* “B”s letters to her husband: Modeled on John Adams’ letters to his wife Abigail, particularly the ones from 1778 - 1779, when he was traveling in France to enlist their aid in the Revolution.

* “Affair of the Mango Tiara”: Deliberately redolent of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace (1785) that so discredited Marie Antoinette.

* “Evil councilors”: I am convinced that the entire course of English monarchical history between the Norman Conquest and the Civil War was dominated by this belief.

* A pony “nailing himself in the foot”: Pony analog of the human phrase “shooting yourself in the foot”, although this version is less about stupidly inflicting pain on yourself and more about pinning yourself to the floor through stupidity so that the perfectly-justified bloodthirsty mob that’s coming for you can more easily inflict their vengeance.

Chapter 22

* “My Equine is atrocious”: With help from the readers, I eventually worked out that the key to bad Equine as spoken by Diamond Dogs is to avoid use of the words “I” or “me”, the forms of the verb “to be”, and in general to strip out all unnecessary words to getting your meaning across.

* The method by which the Diamond Dogs learned enough political philosophy to liberate themselves: This owes some debt to the animated film La Planète sauvage (The Savage Planet, 1973), directed by René Laloux, which also is about long-lived giants dominating normal-size creatures that they treat as pets.

* Woofston: Inspired by the pioneering magician Alexander Herrmann (1844-1896), stage name “Herrmann the Great”.

* “[griffons] are much better than pegasi when it comes to creating violent weather like tornadoes and blizzards”: In my headcanon, pegasi can levitate themselves and control moisture, while griffons can control air currents. This is the reason why they can speak any language they care to learn, even ones that should be impossible to pronounce with a beak.

* “...or Great Britain could quickly rise to become the dominant political power on the planet”: Although the rivalry between France and England (later Great Britain, later still the United Kingdom) dates back to the Norman Conquest, the struggle between the two powers for control of the world dates between the start of the Nine Years War and the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars (1688 - 1815). Right around the time of this story is the point where it became inevitable that the British would win, unless held back by the force of individual French genius. This was because of the increase in industrial capacity created by the Industrial Revolution, and a much quieter reform in banking practices that left the British with nearly unlimited credit to pay for the ever-increasing cost of war. Have I put anybody to sleep yet?

* Hoofdini: Inspired, obviously, by the magician Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926).

Chapter 23

* “The most adorable rattlesnake that the unicorn had ever seen”: The character being described is Butterbold, Fluttershy’s ancestor, so whatever cutie mark she gets, it has to be cute. The choice of a rattlesnake reflects both Butterbold’s personality, and her parallel with John Adams (the Gadsden Flag).

* Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus (Mary Shelley, 1818). The most famous of the theatrical adaptations was written by Henry M. Milner (The Monster; or The Fate of Frankenstein, 1826), but the version that inspired the movie was written by Peggy Webling in 1927. There were two silent adaptations of the novel before Frankenstein (1931, Universal Studios, directed by James Whale), but usually when somebody refers to “the original”, the 1931 version is the one they’re thinking of.

* Afterschool Special: Refers to a series of made-for-television movies produced by the American ABC network in the 1970s through the 1990s.

* “Who Guards the Guardians?”: The Latin original of this phrase (“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”) was first written by the poet Juvenal at the end of the 1st Century AD. It is also translated as “who watches the watchmen?” and so is the source of the title for the comic book series Watchmen (1987, Alan Moore).

* Firefly II: I’m having trouble absolutely pinning down the precise statement from Lauren Faust that proves this, but Rainbow Dash was designed to have the look of the G1 pony Rainbow Dash, but to have the personality of Firefly. Hence the frequent appearance of “Firefly” as either a mentor or ancestor of Rainbow Dash in fanfiction and fanart.

Chapter 24

* “K simply knew the trick of not being interesting enough to notice”: As several readers pointed out, this concept was stolen directly from the Somebody Else’s Problem field in Life, the Universe and Everything (Douglas Adams, 1982).

* The National Assembly: In the French Revolution, this lasted from 17 June to 9 July of 1789. It began as the Third Estate breaking away from the meeting of the Estates General (called to deal with the failure of Necker and Calonne). They declared the Tennis Court Oath (20 June) to not dissolve until they had drawn up a new constitution. They renamed themselves the National Constituent Assembly on 9 July, although historians frequently group both groups together as the National Assembly, since they have the same makeup. Under this name, they lasted until 30 September 1791, when they dissolved themselves. Among the acts of the National Constituent Assembly were the abolition of feudalism (4 August 1789), the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (26 August 1789) and the polarizing Civil Constitution of the Clergy (12 July 1790) and the passage of the Constitution of 1791 (30 September 1791).

* The Legislative Assembly: Staying with the French, this body first assembled on 1 October 1791. By the time it was replaced by the French National Convention on 20 September 1792, it had almost no political power left. This period saw the disastrous beginning of the war against Austria (and eventually the whole of Europe) and the suspension of the monarchy.

* “The populace of the Aerie turned against the Assembly”: This is meant to represent the First Paris Commune, an unofficial government backed by mob rule which acted as a force driving the official French government further and further to the left.

* The Constitutional Convention: More-correctly known as the French National Convention, this body ruled France from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795. It marked the beginning of the French First Republic, the adoption of many of the positive legacies of the Revolution, and two different constitutions. This was also when Louis XVI was executed and the Reign of Terror ruled supreme.

* Maximilian Peter: Modeled on the French Revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre (1758 - 1794).

* Sub-committee for Wise Governance: The Committee of Public Safety, the de facto government of France during...

* The Culling: The Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 - 28 July 1794). The fictional group names only seven hundred victims; its real-life counterpart claimed tens of thousands.

* The griffon peasants deciding that getting hit by pastry didn’t hurt: Representative of the transformation in warfare at this time, where French peasants began fighting for the abstract idea of “the nation” instead of standing by while kings they cared little for launched armies of mercenaries at each other.

* The minor civil war inside Griffonia: The War in the Vendée (1793 - 1796).

Chapter 25

* The Warkotsch Plot: Taken straight from Book XX, Chapter IX of Frederick the Great by Carlyle.

* “The Austrians are masters of Schweidnitz...at the mercy of the Russians”: Direct quote from a letter of King Friedrich dated 10 December 1761.

* “A League of Three Petticoats”: This was King Friedrich’s term for the three women. As his treatment of Madame de Châtelet showed, the king’s liberal attitude on most matters did not extend to the female gender.

* “The war was about to dramatically turn in the Queen’s favor”: In our history, this moment, in January of 1762, was known as the Second Miracle of the House of Brandenburg. King Friedrich’s letter above was taken from the Wikipedia article for Miracle of the House of Brandenburg.

Chapter 26

* The liberation of the dragon peasant army: As the French conquered the territories of their enemies, they organized them into client states, all with French-modeled republican governments.

Chapter 27

* “I’ve written historical epics about two human kings”: These were La Henriade (1728), about Henri IV of France, and the History of Charles XII, King of Sweden (1731—“Carl” is the Swedish form of “Charles”). A condensed version of the former work appeared in English as an “Essay Upon the Civil Wars in France” (1728). This offers a chance to read Voltaire in his own words.

* 39 ½ foot pole: “You’re a Mean one, Mr. Grinch”, sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, from How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (1966 TV special directed by Chuck Jones).

* Henri the Great: Henri IV, born 1553.

* “A king died young”: Henri II in 1559.

* “[He] left only underage children to succeed him”: François II (crowned 1559 at the age of 15, died in 1560), Charles IX (crowned 1560 at the age of 10, died in 1574) and Henri III (crowned 1574 at the age of 22, died in 1575).

* Henri’s worthless father: Antoine de Bourbon (1518 - 1562).

* Henri’s respected mother: Jeanne d’Albret (1528 - 1572).

* Civil war: The French Wars of Religion (1562 - 1598).

* “It seemed certain that he would be executed”: The “he” in this account is Louis, the Prince of Condé, and the year is 1560.

* Catherine de’ Medici: Lived 1519 - 1589.

* The two leaders of the Bourbon family: Louis, Prince of Condé (1530 - 1569) and Gaspard, the Admiral Coligny (1519 - 1572).

* The assassinated leader of the Guises: François de Lorraine II, Duke of Guise (1519 - 1563).

* Henri’s new wife: Marguerite of Valois (1553 - 1615). The marriage took place on 18 August 1572. Jeanne d’Albret opposed the marriage; she received a pair of perfumed gloves from Catherine de’ Medici as a peace offering, and soon after she put them on she dropped dead.

* The St. Bartholemew’s Day Massacre: Started on the night of 23 August 1572, and lasted several weeks. The eventual death toll is impossible to know for certain, given the massive amount of propaganda issued after the fact by both sides, but by averaging the extremes you end up with a ballpark figure of 10,000.

* The young Duke of Guise: Henri I, Duke of Guise (1550 - 1588). As you’ll notice by now, there were an awful lot of Henri’s running around France at this moment in history.

Chapter 28

* The “Trottingham Induction”: My explanation for why the Royal Guard is in some respects like the British Yeomen of the Guard. The “certain individual” referenced is of course Shining Armor.

* The Estates General: The one tied to the French Revolution was called in 1789, while the one that Voltaire is referring to was called in 1588.

* The Cardinal of Guise: Louis II (1555 - 1588). He was assassinated on 24 December.

* The Duke of Mayenne: Charles of Lorraine (1554 - 1611).

* The Duke’s widow: Catherine of Clèves (1548 - 1633).

* The Duke of Mayenne’s puppet: Charles, Cardinal de Bourbon (1523 - 1590). As king, he was known as Charles X, but the fact that another Charles X of France exists (reigned 1824 - 1830) is definitive proof that nobody in later ages believed he was the legitimate ruler of France.

* The King of Spain: Felipe II (reigned 1554 - 1598). And yes, this is the Philip II of the Spanish Armada.

* Henri turns Catholic: This was on 25 July 1593. He was crowned on 27 February 1594.

Chapter 30

* God creating the universe to be His crystal garden: I first encountered this idea in a science fiction story from the 1930’s, I think. I can’t remember the name or author, though.

* Celestia and Luna as pegasus and unicorn, respectively, before their apotheoses: The former is from “Sunny Skies All Day Long”.

Chapter 31

* Citizen Perrygore, alias Random Tally: Corresponds to Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754 - 1838), in my opinion the most-fascinating figure in the history of the French Revolution. When everybody else was losing their heads (in many cases literally), he managed to hold positions of power for the National Assembly, the Directory (1795 - 1799), the Consulate (1799 - 1804), the French Empire of Napoleon I (1804 - 1814), the restored King Louis XVIII (1814 - 1815, 1815 - 1824), and King Louis-Philippe (1830 - 1848). His greatest achievement was preventing the dismemberment of France at the Congress of Vienna (1814). He did this by playing all the other countries of Europe against each other. In terms of character, Talleyrand was utterly and completely corrupt, willing to betray anybody to advance his own ends, and yet made himself so indispensable that government after government found themselves with no choice but to hire him to work for them. In his own mind, however, he was always faithful to one master, the nation of France, and he only changed sides when he felt that a government had stopped serving that master. Some of my favorite quotes of his: “What clever man has ever needed to commit a crime? Crime is the last resort of political half-wits.” “Since the masses are always eager to believe something, for their benefit nothing is so easy to arrange as facts.” “Speech was given to man to disguise his thoughts.” “The art of statesmanship is to foresee the inevitable and expedite its occurrence.” And finally his judgment of America: “A country with thirty religions and only one sauce.”

* The Directory: In the history of the French Revolution, this refers to the period from 1795 to 1799, a period dominated by the rise of Napoléon Bonaparte.

Chapter 32

* Malice/Mallus: Johnny Appleseed. ‘Nough said.

* “Why is a raven like a writing desk?”: The Hatter, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865), in the chapter “A Mad Tea Party”. Carroll didn’t intend the riddle to have an answer, but upon being besieged by correspondence on the matter, eventually came up with the following: “Because it can produce a few notes, although they are very flat; and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front!” (“Nevar” is the word “raven”, spelled “with the wrong end in front.”). It was puzzle expert Sam Lloyd who came up with the more generally accepted answer: “Because Poe wrote on both.”

Chapter 33

* Hoofball: Not sure if this was actually first used in the series (like what the Cutie Mark Crusaders were doing with that ball in “Lesson Zero”), or if this is purely a fan creation.

Chapter 34

* “I’m stealing this chariot!”: And nopony will ever know.

* “I stole control of Equestria from your ancestors”: The idea that Prince Blueblood is a descendant of Princess Platinum is a pretty old one in the fandom. If I ever find out which story was the first one to make that connection, I’ll go back and insert the proper credit here.

Chapter 35

* Somepony Else’s Problem: See Chapter 24.

* “That’s Just Creepy”: Spike’s line from “Owl’s Well That Ends Well”, written by Cindy Morrow. [Yeah, it appears that I just imagined the “just” in that quote. Deal with it.]

* The Cathedral of the Central Steed: As stated, I based this on Chartres Cathedral. I used Wikipedia’s entry for most of my research for these descriptions, although the church was first brought to my attention through the PBS “Cathedral” documentary by David Macaulay that I saw in my childhood (1986), and I was reminded of its glory by The Education of Henry Adams (1918).

* “The Lady is our shepherd. I shall not want.”: Psalm 23 in the Old Testament.

* Gutenberg: Johannes Gutenberg (c.1398 - 1468).

* “Am Anfang schuf Göttin Himmel und Erde.”: Genesis 1:1 from the Gutenberg Bible (“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth”), with “Gott” changed to “Göttin” (“Goddess”).

Chapter 36

* The proposed House of Elders: The Houses of Lords and Commons are obvious enough from the British Parliament and the way their governments were portrayed in the “Hearth’s Warming Eve” episode. The House of Elders, on the other hands, reflects the Gerousia from the government of ancient Sparta, a clear inspiration for ancient pegasus society. To qualify for membership in the Gerousia, you had had to be a Spartan male over the age of 60. Election was by approbation, and membership was for life.

Chapter 37

* The Last Judgment: Here is the western rose stained glass window from Chartres, depicting this subject. The Last Judgment is always on the western rose of a cathedral, because that is where the sun goes to die.

* The Jesuits vs. the Jansenists: The two groups were bitter rivals of each other in the Eighteenth Century in France. Interestingly, Voltaire’s father sent him to a Jesuit school, and his brother to a Jansenist school, despite claiming to be a devout Christian—sounds kinda cynical to me.

* The stained glass images of Genevieve’s mortal life along the north wall of the cathedral: In the northern hemisphere, the southern side of a building will always be better lit than the northern side. For this reason, the stained glass on the northern wall of a cathedral always depicted the travails of the life of Christ, while the southern wall depicted his resurrection and the promise of the afterlife. The exception of the gloom of the north side was the transept, which was devoted to the Virgin Mary.

* The window of the idealized Zody: Corresponds to the northern rose window at Chartres, which similarly glorified the Virgin.

* The conflagration window: The Chartres windows don’t really match up here, as the Crucifixion is usually depicted as an object in the chancel rather than in the windows behind it.

* The “Best of All Possible Worlds” Window: Corresponds to the southern rose window at Chartres, which depicted the Apocalypse.

* Paces Romana and Sinica: Reference to the Pax Romana (27 BC - AD 180), which was invented as a term by Edward Gibbon in Chapter Two of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) [oops—anachronism alert!]. Less well established as an historical concept is the corresponding Pax Sinica, which refers to the multiple periods when a united China dominated East Asia, during the Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. Wikipedia puts its first mention in 1994, and it appears to be used more frequently to refer to a hypothetical future state as to any moment in the past. Just as everybody likes sticking “-gate” after the name of any American governmental snafu, fans of Gibbon like to turn every period of relative peace into a Pax, despite the mismatch in using the Latin term for “peace” for peoples that don’t speak Latin.

Chapter 39

* “Sixteen”: That’s how many times Genevieve has had to reset Jenny’s memories so far.

Chapter 40

* The Thirty Years War: Lasted from 1618 - 1648. In the territory of Brandenburg (which makes up half of Prussia), half of the population was killed off, and it took centuries before the region fully recovered. Of course any Thirty Years War reference from me will include the obligatory plug for the incredible Ring of Fire series—1632 (2000) and sequels—of sci fi novels created by Eric Flint.

Chapter 41

* Celestia’s mock speech of outrage at hearing Gulliver’s Travels: This is a paraphrase of a speech by the King of the Brobdingnags, but is also an exact quote from the corresponding speech from the Queen of the Brobdingnags in the Jim Henson/Hallmark TV miniseries adaptation from 1996 (directed by Charles Sturridge).

* Perrault: Charles Perrault, author of Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1697, commonly known as Tales of Mother Goose in English). The versions of fairy tales that Disney adapted into films more closely resembles the gentle Perrault versions than the, err...grimmer Grimm versions.

* “Teenager”: The term wasn’t invented until 1941.

Chapter 42

* Cribbage: According to Wikipedia, cribbage was invented by Sir John Suckling in the early 17th Century.

* “Death from above!”: Catchphrase of the hyperkinetic three-foot rabbity thing Max from Sam & Max (creations of Steve Purcell appearing in comics, video games and a 1997 animated series). The 7th Bomber Wing of the U.S. Air Force may have come up with it first.

Chapter 44

* “Be nopony”: This reminds me of the similarly simple yet profound statements of the Tramp from The Mouse and His Child by Russell Hoban (1967).

Woo! What a ride!

Comments ( 156 )

Congratulations on the successful completion of your story! Fantastic Job! I'd love to see the next thing you put out.

So many connections. My brain hurts.... oh wait that's knowledge.

I came this close to reading all of those. Houdini for the win.

Wonderful story overall, confusing as it was. I'll recommend it to a friend who's a history buff, he'll get more out of it than me.

Woh fun AND educative! You should write children's special on History:pinkiehappy:

Thanks again for the fantastic ride.

I hope you realize that the villainous character of Count Algarotti was entirely my own invention—I needed an antagonist from among Voltaire’s circle in Prussia, and I couldn’t take Maupertuis seriously, so I went with the guy Thomas Carlyle had an irrational dislike for. In real life, Algarotti was a polymath and a bon vivant who went through life offending no one. Algarotti’s essay on opera (1755) shaped how that art form would be treated for the next several decades, and Cristoph Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice was a direct result of their shared ideas on the form.

Really? :trixieshiftright: Or is it that the Algarotti History remembers is the Algarotti that existed AFTER Geneviève rewrote History? That his villainous tendencies were simply purged from him by Her? Otherwise the story doesn't make sense, without Algarotti no one would have given Geneviève the idea to turn into a Goddess!

History really is a fun thing to write about, considering there are a LOT of blank spaces.

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

Because there's a 'b' in both. :trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:

Well written, and thanks for the story! I greatly enjoyed it and the bits of history tossed in were a nice bonus, like bits of bacon in an already tasty salad.

A beautiful story, with beautiful integration with history. We need more stories of this sort.
Take it from me this is what I would consider a perfect Human In Equestria story, and I have immense respect for McPoodle.
Poodle, If there is any way I can help with any future works you may have planned, whether it be proofreading/editing, pre-reading, or peer reviewing, you need only ask. T'would be an honor.

“Why is a raven like a writing desk?”

Because there's a 'b' in both.

Yes, yes there is.

On May 30, 1778, in the midst of the French Revolution

Say what? Did you drop a decade there or something?

Just a bit of a nitpick, but "Death From Above" is also (and came before Max) the slogan of the 7th Bomb Wing of the U.S. Air Force (Air Combat Command, 12th Air Force), stationed in Dyess Air Force Base in Texas. It is on their crest as "Mors Ab Alto."

Great story, and learned a lot in your bibliography, but when I saw what you did for my favorite motto, I just had to raise the red flag and send you the correction. I'll just assume you were joking when you credited a fictional character as the source of the motto. :trixieshiftright:

Looking forward to your next story. :pinkiesmile:

Loved what he said at his Death bed, a truley awsome wise ass in to the very least.

2429188 and a "n" in neither

I'm always disappointed when I finish a book, no matter how well the ending was done, how well the story was written, how well the characters were developed and in the end it doesn't even matter how much I enjoyed the book until I reached the end. I am always disappointed, its sad really that I invest so much time into reading about some fictional character and how they grow and change into a better person or fall and become the monster but when I reach the end I am always disappointed, I feel a crushing sense of sadness. No matter how happy the ending was when I reached it, all I feel is emptiness but yet I pick up another book and get stuck in reading because at the end of the day the ending doesn't matter, hell most people don't what to reach the ending of their life but in the end what really counts is the journey you take to get there and thats why I read not for the ending but for the journey and if I've read it all to that ending, which I always hate so much then you can be proud because I've spent my time on a journey that I can truly never travel again and you were the one to take me on it.
So no matter the ending I've got one thing to say...

Thank you.

-Willsons-

I guess it shows how much I loved this fic that I sat through the closing credits reading them all. :pinkiesmile:

You are a fantastic human being and this is the best mlp fic ever written. I cannot fully express how awesome you are! :pinkiegasp:

shoggoth or Smooze—you decide!

I always thought they were one and the same.

Thank you for perhaps the greatest work of historical fiction that ever involved pastel ponies. This was a glorious read. :pinkiehappy:

Well that was a fun read of semi-interesting facts that I won't remember for more than a day or so.
I can't believe I missed the Invader Zim reference while I was reading the story.....oh well, at least I got the Life, the Universe and Everything reference.

2429483 2429764
Yeah, I forget who came up with that answer or where I heard it, but it feels like the best answer imo, in that it best fits the backwards Pinkie-logic of Wonderland. Certainly better than Sam Lloyd's, which is just a stupid pun.

2430506

Aldous Huxley, apparently!

Thank you for the story. Now I need to re-read it all together...
(By the way, Elizabeth was born in 1709, but she ascended to the throne in 1741.)

2430512
The more you know! :twilightsmile:

Story is too awesome to say anything. Good run! Good run!

That story of the frog princess and how it changed the world view of the ponies has to be my favourite part... much liquid merriment was shed.

So... it's finally over for real now :pinkiesad2:

I both love and hate it when a good story ends. And make no mistake this was a good story. Well thought out, moving, entertaining... All I can say is bravo, sir, bravo...

That must be the longest afterword I have read since Lord of the Rings. Forgive me if I only read the first bit of it.

I enjoyed your epilogue -- I have a bit of a weakness for that form of narrative -- but where I REALLY fell in love is the notes for each chapter. It's FASCINATING, and provides a good bit of info, and some jokes that I hadn't caught the first time around.
Huh, I'd never heard that before about the continuation of the "omelette" proverb. Most interesting. I'll have to use it somewhere.
So apparently Talleyrand was pretty much Vetinari (from Discworld). Or maybe Vetinari was based on him; or maybe it's just such a basic and good idea that of COURSE Terry Pratchett would think of it.
Silly author; the correct answer to the 'raven' riddle is "I don't know!" Just ask Pinkie Pie.
I'd never known that about stained glass and cathedrals, either; probably because most of my knowledge of Catholicism is limited to what Martin Luther saw they were doing wrong a couple centuries ago. (My grade school celebrated Reformation Day instead of Halloween. It made for some rather interesting conversations when I talked to Catholics later on.)
I haven't read that series by Eric Flint, but I have read the Belisarius series. If you have as well, how would you compare it to the 'Ring of Fire' series? Of course, I have a drillion books still to read, but knowing that there's some other good ones can always be useful.
*looks up* Long response is LONG.

2429491

Oops, that was the date he died. He was interred on July 11, 1791.

2429493

OK, I'll give you the reference. Hearing it from Max is a lot more fun, though.

2430582

Oops--fixed.

2431941

Only the first part is the Afterward. The rest is my self-indulgent credit section.

2432129

Still need to read Belisaurius. I was sort of pushed away by the sci-fi part of it--the villain seemed too familiar (I'll still read it eventually though, because the historical Belisaurius was awesome). 1632 on the other hand has the advantage that all of the technology being introduced into the past is stuff we are thoroughly familiar with, and the story is deliberately not one-sided: there are sympathetic and unsympathetic characters on both sides, and sometimes the answer is not technology.

P.S. The 1812 series is good as well, at least the first book.

2340646 2343481 2342520 2350525 2358437 2363800 2367191 2377517 2393977 2349254 2406504 2428972 2428994 2429048 2429255 2429462 2429493 2429778 2429998 2430197 2430886 2431799

Thank you all so much for your comments! I can only hope that in the future I can continue to write stories that work as well as this one did.

2432906
That's wonderful news!
Again, if there's any way I can help you out in the future, just let me know.

Your story was amazing!
No, scratch that, that word can't even describe it! :pinkiehappy:
I'm looking forward for your next one (Of course, if you are planing to write another story) :twilightsmile:

2433706

What a coincidence, I just now posted the first two chapters of the follow-up: "Parade Coverage".

2433715
I didn't notice my notifications when I was reading the last chapter until after posting the comment, you have gained a new follower on that story :pinkiesmile:

I signed in to Fimfiction to tell you that this is one of the best fanfictions I have ever read and I thank you for creating such an engrossing story. Your passion for the works of Voltaire and European history shines brightly and your ability to use these historical events to flesh out your own story and keep my attention throughout is astonishing to me. I could go on, but further praise is unnecessary and I have no advice to give, so have a Rainbow Dash. :rainbowkiss:

That was quite the ride! Good to see that this story is over in all its glory. This really is what a human in Equestria should be. I had my doubt that such a story could actually ever be good, but this story proved it can be done, and done spectacularly.

Wow, amazing that you really put so much into this.
I definitely need this in hardback. :twilightsmile:

2432825 The sci-fi aspect of the Belisarius series is rather minimalized, and I'd say that all the technology introduced in it is stuff we're familiar with as well. Because sure, a Byzantine general can access a whole lot of knowledge of science, technology, weapons, etc; but he's limited by the manufacturing technology of his day, so even if he KNOWS about a lot of stuff, they're physically incapable of making, say, an atom bomb.
It's an idea that I've also seen in another series by Eric Flint (co-written with someone whose name I can't remember), the Pyramid series; when modern-day soldiers are transported -- or "translated" -- into the world of Greek (or Egyptian or Norse) mythology, their guns are rendered useless, because the technology of that "world" isn't capable of making moving metal parts that intricate.

The problem I might have with any series called '1812' is that, well, I'm Canadian. I know of the War of 1812, and I know of it as the war in which Americans tried to invade, and they got their behinds soundly handed to them. If the series was written from an American perspective, I'll probably be twitching all the way through it. Of course, if it's set on the Continent, with the Napoleonic wars, it'll be better.

...Oh, cool. This fic has a TVT page. Can't believe I never looked for that before.

>>>This confidence in their own identity is due to an innate belief that they are uniquely blessed by the creator god that all of the ponies seem to have forgotten about, and destined to convert the entire world to their doctrines when the time is right.>>>

*GASP!!* The griffons are MUSLIMS!! :trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia::trollestia:

(You set yourself up for trolling there, you realize that, don't ya?) :raritywink:

I have just come from Equestria and now know that this story is an utter fabrication!

Celestia has ruled as Supreme Solar Empress for 10 trillion years and Luna is just a whiny little brat who sits around playing video games and being emo!

*ticks off all the Luna fanatics* :trollestia:

"ponyaanisqatsi".... Pony life? Well, Koyaanis = Hopi for chaotic, or corrupted, and qatsi is 'life'...
Seems the original word could be a great adjective for Discord's reign.

(you ought to refer to this as well, since that's where the word koyaanisqatsi became well known)

2436422 it is a satire on every religion. All of them (christianity included) have a clause stating "You must make everyone else be part of your group" which is a shame.

Comment posted by Litho deleted Apr 21st, 2013

2456181 No, that's Catholicism.

Jesus said, "If they will not hear you, when you leave the town, shake the dust from your shoes."

True Christians know that forcible conversion is meaningless. We are to teach the Word of God to the world. It is up to their choice whether or not they wish to listen. True acceptance of God's word must be within the heart; it cannot be compelled.

It's rather similar to some aspects of Buddhism in that way, actually.

God's kingdom is not of this world, so taking over the world via religion is pointless.

2458452 there is no such thing as a "true christian" because that excludes all others as untrue. I suppose if we wanna have a religious debate we should take it to PM as not to clutter the comments or bother others.

2462934 I have a rule with plans in my little stories and RPs... If I need to constantly look back at my own notes to figure out what's going on, I've made the plan to complicated for my readers.

I save the labyrinthine plans for politicians.

They don't stand a chance. :trollestia:

2463717

*Shrugs*. I'll fix it in the edit...I hope. This was the best I was able to come up with. As several readers have noted, "killing" off Genvieve was also a bad move, but I honestly think that after she realized what she did, that she would be unable to live with herself.

Whatever solution I eventually come up with will have to solve both problems.

2464247 She needs to become a jaded monstrosity like me.

Biologists are true monsters, you know. :pinkiecrazy:

2421193

I won't pretend to be a centrist. I'm aware that many of the things I advocate are not considered realistic by many people, but I believe they're worth the struggle. If I use your argument, it may be for things you wouldn't agree with, and I hope you can forgive me for that.

2468863

On the contrary--I was saying that we have to have multiple political opinions to have a healthy society. A world of just centrists would be the Neutral Planet joked about by that one Futurama episode.

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