• Member Since 11th Apr, 2012
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Bad Horse

Sufficiently advanced friendship is indistinguishable from magic.


Sometimes, you really can go out into the desert and find yourself with the help of a bag of mushrooms and some ponies. Sometimes, you're better off not knowing.

Recommended by Seattle's Angels, The Royal Guard, Titanium Dragon, & Paul Asaran. Includes drug use and cussing.

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 96 )

GhostOfHeraclitus did 3 pre-reads of this, and convinced me to completely rewrite the second half, which was originally nearly autobiographical, to instead make it a story. He also said the brony response may involve pitchforks and torches.

1204597 Look at that gay
Apart from dickhead mcgee above me this was a nice story :D
This story has potential
story + potential = a fave and a watch from me ^_^

And what is a "Sparkle pony" at that place?
Because there is no way I'm going to go there myself to satisfy my curiosity. And I'm not your brother.

And this is why we need a flag button for comments.


I also want to see ponies. Give me more ponies.

This story taught me something.


1204749 Is it not allowed to have one chapter without ponies?

1204954 No. I was referring to the end of the story specifically.


I think that's only frowned upon if you submit to EqD.

This is... really weird. Interesting, but weird.
So, what the heck is a "sparkle pony," anyways?

>fomas and granfaloons

1205049>>1204694 Sparkle ponies exist only in the eye of the beholder - no one would say they were one. It's a derogatory term, supposedly for a burner who likes attention but doesn't want to help out. In practice it's usually used for young women who would wear glitter (until it was banned) and shiny stuff and not many clothes, get high on ecstasy, and dance all night. For some reason some people hate them. Probably because they won't have sex with them.

There's a hipster burner culture, exemplified by the writers of "Piss Clear", that loves to talk about how much better burners they are than everyone else and how much longer they've been going to burning man, and these are some of the people whom you find talking about sparkle ponies.

"hipster burner culture"
I don't even know where to start with that one.
And that's speaking as a member of the nation that invented "Freikörperkultur"! :facehoof:
I think I prefer my ponies pastel colored. Thank you.

Interesting. I really don't know what else to say.

This is an outstanding travelogue ... and I have no idea how well it's going to work as a pony story. (I'll probably click on the next chapter with gritted teeth, ready to wince, and then be pleasantly surprised. Not that I don't already like your pony stories -- but with your setup, there's not a lot of things you can write that won't (A) completely leave your premise behind, or (B) carry Ch1's painful cynicism into a cruel and twisted Equestria. The meat of the rest of the story will be in how you pull off that balancing act.)

One thing I'd argue with your main character's view of drugs is that it's not the choice of substance that draws the line between worthwhile and worthless. Of course if you take shrooms seriously and let the universe talk to you, you'll have meaningful experiences. Respecting how they remove your mental blocks is part of the good mindset that leads to good trips. The same thing can happen if you drop acid -- it's a subtly different effect; you start seeing how everything is connected to everything else -- or even take heroic doses of pot. There's a sacred space, I don't use the term lightly, that drugs can take you to if you wanted to go there in the first place.

If you didn't, things can get fucked up. :trollestia:

Similarly -- I suspect your main character will learn how mistaken his contention "sleep deprivation doesn't matter to shrooms" really is. Set and setting, man. Set and setting.

So, this story has been uploaded a few weeks ago (at least) but all the comments here have been made in the last four hours, when I decide to finally read that first chapter? Or is there something else going on here?

Whatever: I want more. And yes, the narrator is cynical and bitter. I wasn't on Burning Man (I could never afford that) but I was on Fusion Festival multiple times and if things are anyhow similar at all... Well, let's just say that it actually helped me in learning to deal with people. Also I don't see what's his problem with gift culture but I hope you'll still come to that.

Interesting take on Human/Pony shenanigans. I'm quite curious to where this will end up.

1205651 I didn't know that about pot. Unfortunately it makes me ill at low doses. You're wiser than my character. Short answer: He's got bigger problems than choice of drug. I didn't take option A or option B.

1205667 I finished the first draft 2 months ago, but didn't finish revising it and submit it until yesterday. His problem with gift culture is supposed to be part of his alienation. He doesn't like it because interacting with people is scary, and money is simpler and he can handle it. I probably shouldn't have said that; explaining the story is cheating. (I'm not wild about gift culture myself. It works better if you're socially adept. It works better when people are more equal, whereas at Burning Man there's three economic classes: Big camp member or RV camper, Car camper, Flew into Reno with a backpack. It's more stressful in a physically-demanding environment. For some people, being able to shower is an important factor in how much they can enjoy Burning Man, and it's a big @#$* deal to get a shower because of gift culture.)

I'll post again at midnight if the universe doesn't have other plans.

Interesting, very interesting.

Well this was okay, I felt like being depressed today anyways.

1207784 Ah, I just saw it early.

I know this isn't really relevant: I have more of a problem with paying people or accepting money then with exchanging gifts.
If I am paying normally I have a feeling of forcing the receiver to do whatever they do. This is especially bad when I think that they might not find their job to be satisfying.
Taking money... I don't know, I just don't like it.

Oh, now I begin to see what's his problem.

How he could call Rarity shallow only because she began with the basics of the pyramid of needs (or whatever it is called in english) I still don't understand.

Now after reading this... I don't know what to say besides that I think it is somehow relevant.

I'll try either way.
He is unwilling to try anything he doesn't do already.
He definitely moves in the wrong circles, as I personally met multiple instances of "true Pinkies" who weren't just airheads but genuine sources of happiness for anyone around them.
Accusing teenagers of not being mature is kinda redundant and blaming now grown up people for the mistakes they made when they were younger won't help them or himself.
I can imagine how people who like dancing so they can be seen can come off as shallow, but anyone comes off as shallow if you decide to not converse with them in the first place.
Parties are contests to see who is most fun? I know it's a far spread mispractice to think there is a right way to party, but there still are enough places where you can go at a party and do what you feel like doing - especially in the reaches where acid is well known. My god, I read a whole book in one night at a party and noone objected, was offended or tried to make me stop more than once. It was glorious and it hadn't be the same if I hadn't been there to read that book.

It's depressing he doesn't even try. He takes less then he needs and than is available, he assumes the worst of people around him, he doesn't understand the easiest concepts of the interactions between mind and body, he consciously embraces his prejudices only so he can hate Pinkie Pie for supposedly being someone she is not...
I can see why the ponies hate him. It's depressing.:pinkiesick:

Ah: You messed up the colors.
<He raised one impossibly-long eyebrow impossibly high. Poor little brony. You thought you could be like them, just by watching their show? Thought you could become likeable? Thought a bunch of phony names on websites could be your friends? Thought you could become good? After what you've done? That's so pathetically stupid, I think I feel tears coming to my eyes. Any moment now. Oh, wait; dragons can't cry. Thank goodness; that would have been embarrassing.>
From here on everything is in Discords red. Although this might be an interesting storytelling device I don't think you intended to use it, as it doesn't make that much sense in this instance.

1) leave the desert
2) find a fun thing to do
3) lose that anger
4) stop running away from problems
5) "Friendship is a gift, it has to be earned though"
6) listen to what your friends tell you
I'm kind of surprised that even Discord made a real contribution. But this a drug induced hallucination, so he 's essentially talking to himself. Only few people can tell themself to fork it and really mean it.
But "the dreaded pink one"? Really? That guy really needs a hug!:pinkiehappy:

Poor little hater. You don't have to be fun to have fun. Even Pinkie Pie can't have fun at all by herself, that's just creepy. But you have to take the hands (ot hoofs) that are reaching out to you and being an antisocial lonely hater-pants will not make you happy.

"Pleasantly surprised," as predicted. Although ... yikes, clearly "pleasant" was the wrong word. That was motherfucking creepy in a way that'll stick with me for a while. Quite a character study.

Now you've got me curious what the autobiographical draft looked like. I really hope, for your sake, that it wasn't as bad a trip as your character's.

Pitchforks and torches? Hah, shouldn't it be love and tolerance - wait, this is the Internet. Burning pitchfork love!

I can dig the pessimism. I rationalize mine away as needed by focusing on the outliers: somewhere out there, there are beautiful people. And if we can imagine paradise, are we not one step closer to finding a path there?

Wow. I... Wow.

I feel a lot better about myself having read this. I've made mistakes in my life, God knows, but at least I've never given up as utterly as this guy. It's a sweet poison indeed that is its own antidote. Thank you for this, Bad Horse.

Also, I find it utterly hilarious that this is apparently not the first time Applejack has been channeled by someone through the magic of psychotropics.
What? It is.

Very nice. Will read again :pinkiehappy: Will not do shrooms :pinkiecrazy:
Is it normal that pinkie's text isn't pink ? :pinkiegasp:

I find it a little worrying (and somewhat more worrying that it's not more than just a little worrying) how close I've been to being as bitter as this character. :pinkiesick:
I've "given up" a lot more thoroughly however, in a certain sense. Despite not believing in such things, I probably would have ran for nearly any escape-reality portalgate that presented itself. Even if it meant running into the desert and dying.
Not believing actual happiness is possible can kill your spirit. What do you live for if you don't think life's worth the living of it? I'd hate to think that way.

I've been curious about Burning Man for awhile, ever since I first got introduced to the concept by a few stoner friends of mine, and now... well, I want to experience it even more. I wonder if I took shrooms, would I see ponies? I'd love to... Anyhoo, off to chapter two!

Sorry dude... I read the first chapter and it was pretty cool. Second chapter, though... Not my cup of tea. There's just something about it, I can't really explain what, that turns me off. So I think I'll just part ways here. You've got a hell of a writing style, though, so keep doing it. Btw I'm not going to downvote you, because like I said the story I think could be good, if I were a totally different person reading it. Nothing against you.

1257130 Is it normal for Pinkie Pie to be normal?
1258954 Self-destructive bitterness isn't your thing? Thanks for not down-voting anyway. BTW, the EqD rejection letter said the writing "does not quite meet Equestria Daily's standards." :derpyderp2:

That was.... uh............... hrm.
I'll get back to you on that.

I think it's a damn good thing that you kept yourself out of this story. This way, the character isn't a person, and stays a character. The thing about characters in stories is that even though they're supposed to seem like a person, they really aren't. The character in the story is defined exclusively by his rejection of the mane 6. I know that there are many people who would find similarities between themselves and the character, but everyone who reads this is more than that character. This is like an inverse of the normal inspirational story- instead of reading about a character get over their flaws, here we're presented an example of flaws and we're shown how they can drag one down into pointless hate and isolate a person. The reader will feel the need to reject the character, and that's the point. As a person, you can choose to change.

The reason why you got that robo-response is because EqD has had problems telling everyone that their story was not accepted. Many people resent their entries multiple times because they just didn't know. With robo-emails, the pre-readers may not get around to giving explanations to everyone, but at least you're not in a twilight-zone of wondering if your story will be posted or not. As to why it was rejected, you can send them an e-mail asking why, but you're gonna be rolling the dice a bit. You might get a reasoned response, but sometimes the pre-readers just can't deal with all the stories they get and so they might send you a couple short sentences or nothing at all. Meh.

It's a shame, because I think this story deserves a bigger audience if for nothing other than the smack to the mind that the brilliant imagery is. I will be definitely recommending this story to others. Thank you for writing this.

Man, how on earth does this story have so few views? This stuff is great! I really, really, really want to see what happens next. :rainbowkiss:

This was honestly brilliant and thought provoking. It deserves to be featured so much more then any of the other cookie-cutter crap that gets into the box oh so often.

What the hell? I

I don't think I can read this. This is the third thing I could not read (other than a few graphs) the first being the Jerusalem Bible, and the second being Left Behind. A set of christian books for after the salvation.

But really, What the hell?

1459657 I love graphs! Maybe that's the problem.
How far did you get, and what made it hard to read? The style, or the content?
You might also not like: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson.

What a shame EqD rejected this. I certainly learned more about myself reading this than I learned reading My Little Dashie (which struck me as not much more than wish fulfillment). The main character in your story strikes me as being bitter in a way similar to how the main character in Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground was bitter. However, to my dismay, the main character is unable to find a solution to his woes in either story. Such a solution would be quite useful to me, as I find myself relating with such characters far more than I would like.

In any case, great story.:pinkiehappy:

Very well written story. I can't say it is my favorite, but you certainly did a good job on it. Personally, i can't relate too well to the main character. We share some issues, but for the most part i've come to terms with any of the more severe issues he presented. Still, that doesn't make it a bad story; it was a good read.

Also, never, EVER eat about 13 grams of shrooms and then play any of the Slenderman games. ever. you will be scarred for life.

Um, hey Bad Horse. I'm a big fan of your work, getting turned onto your stuff by reading Mortality Report about a month-or-two back. I've read most (not all) of your stuff, slowly going through it; I really also enjoyed Big Mac Reads Something Purple and Fluttershy's Night Out (which I think is your best thing I've read so far), and I'll probably get around to commenting on those, eventually, too.

You've done some fantastic work here, which starts with some excellent characterization, drip-fed throughout the story at a perfect pace to give us a picture that always seems to feel complete enough, and then gets a little more detailed. Clean, concise, and easy-to-read while still feeling challenging, your story still makes the reader figure out just enough that they're the ones understanding and concluding, rather than just being told what's what, which leads to it hitting much harder. The kicker, though, is that I just love how you wrote a perfect tragedy without it being sad or melodramatic. I mean, you did an excellent job, from giving us a protagonist who is undone by his own character flaw, to using his suffering to provide your reader with the catharsis that your first-person protagonist never receives. Yes/no autobiographical hoo-haa aside, this story is fantastic, and definitely needs to be read.

That out of the way, what I really want to say that I'm glad I gave this story a shot. It's definitely one of your best, standing right up there with the other stories I've named above, and people who skip it are doing themselves a disservice. Like I did. Not really being a fan of "humans" stories, I totally skipped this, only begrudgingly giving it a read after reading your comment on bookplayer's blog post. And I'm really glad I did. Whether it was the "human" tag or the tiny number of views, I strongly encourage people not to skip over this one.

Anyways, Imma go read Twenty Minutes now :twilightsmile:

This is the ultimate antithesis of brony-in-Equestria. It's well-written, very much so, with a character so deeply set in his problems that he comes alive. The closest I can relate this little reading experience to is Lolita, sans the thick paragraphs of American countryside scenery.

In short, this wins my utter respect for being such a work of craft. Not quite art, which carries more expression, but craft.

I can't say I really enjoyed the story, since for the whole time I felt some kind of slow-burning hate for the main character. Not because he mistreated the ponies, but because he represents a certain stereotype of person that seems to define itself by its hatreds and so-called "superiority" to others. I can't feel sad for the miserable state he is in, for it seems to have been brought by his own actions (especially his inaction), only a certain pity.

Despite that, it was a great read. The mental images come as very strong and clear, and the overall character arc is interesting. It works as a character study of both the protagonist and, by contrasting him to them, the ponies he interacts with. Considering that nothing magical was happening, I guess you end up seeing the ponies as reflections of his own internal issues. I especially love the irony of how much he hates being criticized by the others, yet is the first to do so to the others. A pretty mentally engaging read, in the end.

Respect. I expected a silly story about ponies on acid from the title and got a fascinating introspective into the head of a seemingly very disaffected and disillusioned, tripping brony.
The description of the festival and the writing in general was very good, but that "Poor little brony..." passage was my favorite. To me it summarized perfectly whats wrong with parts of our little community. A motley crew of freaks lurking behind phony nicknames and "original" characters trying to fit in somewhere so very hard that it hurts. No own personality or individuality, just play your part, swim with the herd, you don't even have to think, you're already thought over. And if you have a different opinion, you're a hater. It doesn't even matter if you like the show or not, you're a hater. That turns me off so very much. No critique allowed in our happy rainbows-and-sunshine world. Be a bro, not your inconvenient self.

But you didn't. Disregarding the big grey mass of the screwheads with sparkles for brains, screaming loudly for attention that they only get from each other, because they're so devoid of anything remotely interesting except for their pipe dreams that all look alike after reading a few, you wrote your mind, and i admire that. Great story. I hope you gained something from your trip beside sand in every body orifice. ;)

Got here from Wanderer D's blog.

I really liked the story. It reminded me of my own enlightenment and escape attempt at Burning Man back in high school (Car camper). I really identified with your main character on his points of social alienation and his rebuttals of the Mane 6. Rationally speaking, it's not easy to have faith. Though I don't share his anger and passive hatred I can see how it lead him to do what he did.

The contrast and disconnect between each of the Mane 6 and your character was brilliant. Each a possible answer to his questions about his life problems, each with simple solutions (brilliant in and of itself. I'm trying to make an argument to criticize the simplicity of the answers, but I immediately think that that is precisely what the main character would have done to avoid seeking a perspective outside his own) that he rejects because he can't widen his perspective. How ironic, yet bitterly familiar, that he calls others shallow.

I've been getting the impression that there is supposed to be some hate for this fic. While I don't see that reflected too much in the comments, my personal bias tells me that that EqD snub isn't quite for the normal reasons. If accepting the "outcasts" is part of this fandom, I can understand why they wouldn't like a fic where all of their perceived reasons for unhappiness are trashed by cute pastel ponies whose opinion they respect, especially in a way that leaves little room for rebuttal.

In many a story, we see characters grow and change. This growth gives context for readers to derive meaning. As we've gotten better at trying to derive meaning from telling stories, we've asked ourselves to tell them in ways that call the reader into question, that challenge us to learn and grow, and do better.

Your story has no character growth, but his unwavering stance against changing his perspective has instead sparked some measure of change in myself. Thank you. :twilightsmile:

Now that...

Was a good story.

A wonderfully written examination of what some bronies very well could fear to admit to themselves.

I see a bit of myself in him, as I imagine anyone would. I love parties, and don't have problems mingling and mixing, but I'm definately guilty of letting friendship die a slow death, of not making that extra effort to keep them strong. I usually replace them with new friendships that last another 2-3 years, rinse and repeat.

I'll have a lot of people at my funeral, at least.

Like Truth_Seeker, I found my way here from Wanderer D's blog.

Unlike Truth_Seeker, I found this to be dry, uninteresting garbage, and find myself a little confused as to how anyone considered recommending it. While you seem to have gotten the (incredibly sparse) pony writing spot on, the story itself seems to be totally pointless, featuring zero character progression and a total lack of anything that would make the story worthwhile. I persevered to the end in the faint hope that there was going to be some sort of payoff, somehow, but there wasn't. All I got was gimmicky font use, uninteresting narrative, and a sour taste in my mouth from the lack of real arc.

Basically, my opinion boils down to "waste of time and effort to read".

2018361 I was going to think about your comment and take it seriously, but then I recognized your name. You're that rude guy who doesn't like me. The one who wrote an extended defense of banning metafiction but couldn't explain why he wanted to ban the stories on his favorites list. The one who wrote,

Those are in-jokes, you twit. ... You're a person with poor reading comprehension, an inability to debate logically, and a walking example why ... .

Just don't read my stories. We think differently.

It's a little sad, because I have an idea why you might not like this story.

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It's a nicely-done character sketch, and I'm impressed that you managed to make me enjoy what's basically a BiE story. Still, I think you hit the same theme more powerfully and more concisely in No Regrets. This is the story of someone who's unhappy because he makes the wrong choices, and No Regrets is about someone who's unhappy because she makes the right choices. That one's a tragedy, whereas to paraphrase Applejack, this one's a story about someone who just needs a good smack in the head.

I'm confused by your decision to use Discord as the... I don't want to call him the villain because that's obviously the narrator's role, and I don't want to call him the antagonist because technically I think that would be the ponies. Anyway. Discord functions as the avatar of the narrator's self-destructive spite, but that's a strange role for a trickster figure. Nightmare Moon would've been my choice, since she's already an avatar of self-destructive spite.

This is coming out harsher than is probably warranted. Very little frustrates me more than stories that have a few glimmers of greatness, but don't quite pull it together. If this had merely been kind of good, it wouldn't bug me so much.

2045718 Interesting contrast with No Regrets. Good point about NMM vs. Discord--but NMM comes with her own host of problems, mostly "What is Nightmare Moon doing here when I thought she was destroyed/banished/suppressed into Luna's psyche?" Another reason is that I can imagine Discord wanting to twist people to his purpose, while NMM doesn't strike me as the kind who's looking for converts.

1933752 1240382 1666909 1826037 Comments like these let me know that I got the point across and someone understood it. They mean a lot more than GIFs and Spikestaches. Thanks.

1824578 So what is the difference between craft and art? I'm not sure what art is. I just know that I want it.

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