• Member Since 19th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen 15 minutes ago


I dabble in nearly everything. Sometimes that means I write pony stories. I chat about writing and other things on my Discord chat here: https://discord.gg/cz4mjDT


Twilight Sparkle is thrilled when her groundbreaking paper on friendship and magic is finally published. Surely this will revolutionize the way magic is practiced all over Equestria! But things don't always go the way one expects...

(Don't take this one too seriously.)

Cover art by Taigalife.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 60 )

It's not just a fictional trope, it's reality for most creative people. Alas.


Well, I like it, and happen to think Harmonic Theory is fascinating, so there!

He he he. I'm pretty sure the actual math involved would be beyond me.

Seen a few times where an authors most hated work is the one most popular with people while one they pretty much put their soul in goes unappreciated.

Well, nobody starts out to make a work they're going to hate! But when something you think isn't your best does better than the ones you love, you do kinda start hating it sometimes.

This is the best short story I have read so far. (I didn't know if it classified as a one shot or not.:rainbowhuh:)

It probably is a one shot, yes. :twilightsmile: (And thank you!)

8548878 The quote on that trope is a feeling I know well.
"Her first book, labored over for years, and launched full of the high hopes and ambitious dreams of youth, floundered on its voyage, though the wreck continued to float long afterward, to the profit of the publisher at least. The hastily written story, sent away with no thought beyond the few dollars it might bring, sailed with a fair wind and a wise pilot at the helm into public favor, and came home heavily laden with an unexpected cargo of gold and glory."
— Louisa May Alcott's vicarious description of her experience writing Little Women, from Jo's Boys

While not laugh out loud funny at any points, I kinda feel like this could use a Comedy tag. 'Slice of Life' alone doesn't really give the reader the right first impression.

I debated a lot about putting "comedy" on it. It doesn't really have any jokes. Nothing exactly funny happens, as such? So I ended up not, but I don't know, maybe I should.

Edit: two people have said this now, so what the heck, I guess I will.


I've actually experienced this myself. I've written a number- a small number -of fics on this site. Two of them are, well, wordy. They are, however, something that is quite important to me for a variety of reasons. And yet, they've received less than one hundred likes between the two of them.

Then there's I'm Not A God!. A satirical, tongue-in-cheek that I started writing as a lark, based off of a group thread; I forget what group it was. As of three seconds ago, that particular fic has 316 likes. A story that I wrote on a lark is doubly as popular as the rest of my fics.

So yes, this is a thing.

Yep. This story was inspired by the way a couple of my personal favorites totally flopped and two stories in particular that I think are NOT good (one I wrote just on a silly whim and one that was a commission that I only wrote that way because the customer wanted it) did so much better, and it's really crazy-making.

I mean, I also tried to make this an amusing and entertaining story in it's own right, but me feeling almost exactly like Twilight is feeling in those first few paragraphs was definitely an inspiration for it!

Could you please elaborate on which stories you believe "flopped", and which two stories you believe are "NOT good"?

I'm asking so I, and possibly others, can judge those stories for myself.

Uhm. The point is that *I* think they're bad but other people think they're good. Whichever way you happen to judge them, that's not going to change the issue in question.

Because either you agree with me that they're bad (see, I'm right, they're bad!) or you disagree and think they're good (see, I'm right, everybody thinks they're good!) So... it's pretty pointless.

I've seen it less as "most hated" and more as "lower effort" work that they are annoyed gets more attention.

Twilight losing her shit tends to be funny, whether intended as such or not.

Yeah, that captured the feeling of magnus opus dissonance all too well. Ours is a strange and fickle audience. A most enjoyable rampage; thank you for it.

You're welcome. I'm glad it's resonating for people.

And so we see the biggest issue with academic publishing. The contents are mostly meaningless, the important things are connections.:applejackunsure:


the important things are connections

Which is another way of saying that friendship is magic. :twilightsmile:

Sorry, had to.
When doing research I've found papers that seemed to be about my topic, but upon reading were so dense with jargon and statistics only the abstract and conclusion were understandable to me. I imagine Twi writes like that.

This was a fun little story, good job! :twilightsmile:

It's a pity we aren't alicorns who can turn them into newts and get away with it

I wonder what Twilight's Erdos number is. Or whatever equestrian equivalent it would be.

*WolfishLOL* "For want of a citation, the publisher was Toasted"

*Couldn't resist the pun, sorry*

Oh you have NO IDEA what it can be like to read even a "Simple" academic journal article, much less some of the ones written that are more complex. Unfortunately these articles are written BY professionals FOR professionals all too often. Which means even Undergrad students can have problems trying to understand them! It's like "There's a decent chance students could be reading your article, you think you could try to make it easier to understand? No? Damn"

This was a GREAT read and one that I wholehearted approve of. I mean honestly even in the more serious academic circles this can be a real problem. Unfortunately for many, the Value of being Published FAR outweighs any Penalty for having your Study REFUTED (Disproven). In fact if you did a Replication Study (Where you tried to repeat someone else's study to make sure it's legit) and you DISproved someone's article there isn't much claim to fame there. This is ESPECIALLY true in the Non-Academic Circles. So for Non-Academics everybody is going to hear about "Screaming at water makes ugly ice crystals, but praising them makes pretty ice crystal", but NO ONE will hear about "Scientist faked results" and other stuff.


(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Seriously though, this was fun!

The last line was perhaps the best part of it all. It won't even be arson, rather a state issued controlled demolition of a building proclaimed hazardous to the health of the nation, carried out by a member of royalty no less!

Unfortunately, outside reporting on Scientific Publications is and always will be abysmal. As much as I would love it if the public were more informed and scientifically literate, the more realistic side of me just wishes media would stop trying to report on Science, and just leave the Scientific Community to sort it out amongst themselves. Then again, I suppose most funding comes from sources that are also uninformed.

...Why is it that the subjects of study are hardly ever the most difficult, complicated, or frustrating parts of science?

Drats. I was hoping Twilight's Vandalism was indeed state sponsered. Oh well, I guess Celestia isn't one to abuse her power. Well, ignoring all the other crimes that went unpunished after a brief reformation of the culprit.

This reminds me of both The Sokal hoax and it's much funnier predecessor The Conceptual Penis. In that there are magazines (even in the peer reviewed circles (especially in them)) that that will publish anything if it looks good / fits their usual format.

Of course that's not counting the funny stories (like the cat one here) where a person computer (cat) generates a paper. And people accept it into their magazines.

Still good fic, and quite funny. Here's a mustache and a cookie for you.



Well not one to abuse her power outside of cake related endeavors, or trolling the G3.

It's NOT just Non-Scientific Publications that the problem. Even the Scientific ones have become more focused on "Non-Biased Double Checks" OVER "First Time Publication of Biased Results". Getting positive results just sells better, even in the Scientific World to some degree, than a general "Previous Study Proven to be Untrue!". I think part of it is because when getting Funding for Research you can legit say "Oh my Research was published", WITHOUT having to add in "But my Research was Proven False". Even if it IS mentioned I'd say that carries less weight than "Hey look at least my Research was awesome enough to get published, even if it was later disproven!". Partly because I imagine those associated with such research get a nice boost as well.

Very true. There is also the pressure to publish multiple, diminished pieces because your career success is usually measured in "how many times have you been published?" What I was saying is that all of this nonsense exists as a bid for more funding, support, wages or what have you, and the people typically making the decisions on those things wouldn't value refutation or repeat experiments as much as flashy new claims.

That I can completely agree with. It's a sad state of affairs when even the Scientific Community is Valuing Quantity OVER Quality. It's also why I have started to be a lot more skeptical when people say they find things from an article. Both because often times the reporting is done burrying the real meat of the article far down below, and because it may not even be accurate. I've found reports of research stuff that was outright false, by neglecting to mention the conclusion.

As an academic I rather think Twilight's reaction is reasonable. Refutations are one thing, deliberately mis-citing is ANOTHER THING.

Funny enough, the author citing Twilight didn't actually commit academic misconduct, he just badly miscalculated his equations and wasn't smart enough to notice.

Actually, the only academic misconduct I can see is Celestia pulling strings to get her article published.

The author is debatable. A certain level of incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

What's not so debatable is the misbehavior of the journal, who published the article in question without any sort of peer review or even editorial oversight.

And a certain amount of nepotism is a rather traditional perk of being the royalty in question, when there's a Royal Journal of Something.

True enough, there's a reason the Canterlot archives aren't subscribing to those clowns.

This is really well-written, I'm just a little on the edge to accept that Twilight would flight to such a dangerous state for something that honestly does seem trivial.
I'm about to go into the next chapter but I'll keep fully an open mind and see if any more explanation is provided.
I know that 'Lesson Zero' is possible rationality to my doubts but... this is a bit on a different level.
Idk. Despite that one little thing this truly is such a good piece, your writing style is quite professional and keeps me going, and describes everything to necessary extent. Looking forward to the 2nd chapter I'll be reading in like 5 seconds. Onward :derpytongue2:

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