• Member Since 24th Aug, 2012
  • offline last seen Jun 9th, 2015


A Pasty Plebeian Pencil Pusher


Sometimes we forget why things are the way they are. Sometimes we don't know why we do the things we do. And sometimes, there are those who change it, whether through intense courage or complete idiocy. Change can either be good or bad, but even when a change is good, it may happen for all the wrong reasons.

Someday I'm going to do a completely different version of this story which will be longer and more thorough, but until then enjoy the current edition.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 27 )

This story took me way too long to write, but now its done.
As much as school gets in the way of me writing, this is the second fiction I have written that was inspired by something I did in school (Market Ponies, if you have read it, is a spin-off on a book I read for school), so I guess I should be thankful for it.
I came up with this idea while I was studying the American Civil War, specifically slavery. I started daydreaming and wondered what it would be like if Ponies were enslaved. And so you got this. I also drew influence of of a book called Anthem that I read last year (Ayn Rand, anybody?), and it deals with a collectivist society, which is pretty similar to a hive. Also, the main character of my story and that story share some major similarities.
Also, if you didn't catch it in the description, the main character speaks using "we" in the place of "I" and "us" in the place of "me" to reflect the collective hive mind. (I also stole that from Anthem, btw)
Thanks for reading, and please tell me what you think of this in the comments!

Wow. Just... wow. These are the kind of fics that make me proud to be a Brony and proud to read fanfiction. I applaud you.

thanks. It's nice to hear that people like this one. I'm pretty proud of it myself.

As an old Civil War Between the States for Southern Independence buff -- growing up in that part of the world will do that to you -- I applaud. Loudly.

I also note that Variant, once persuaded, took a far stronger moral stand than did Lincoln, who at first was interested more in putting down the rebellion than in the ultimate fate of those whose emancipation he proclaimed.

Oh, so you figured out the metaphor. Wasn't too hard to figure out, but still. It eludes to this in the story, but the only reason Queen Variant let them go free was because it was a way to make use of the dormant changelings, who would be more loyal workers. So actually, she doesn't really care. And as we see in her memoirs (ugh, I keep forgetting the main character is a she), the populace liked it for the same reason as the queen.

Which is a rare example of a group and its leaders having substantially the same interests. (It's rare today, anyway, what with the fragmentation of politics generally.)

Aw, this is fantastic. I loved it!
You really got a strong sense of the collective across and it worked well for the story told. Keep up the awesome work!

True. The thing I found funny during the unit was that the teaching was sometimes a little biased to the North. I guess that's a little forgivable since I live in Vermont, which is about as north as you can get without moving to Maine. But the teaching always tended to avoid the other reasons for fighting than slavery, issues that would shed the south in better light. They were wrong about slavery, but they had the right to be disappointed over their lack of political voice.

Thanks for noticing. I must admit that I stole a lot of ideas from the book I mentioned (Anthem), but a large part of making this story was trying to make the collective seem realistic, while still trying to get across that they had a democratic system of government, and trying to prove that they aren't really evil. Using "we" instead of "I" was a big part of that.

No harm in borrowing like that. The most recent original invention is the wheel.
And yeah, you nailed the government and race portrayal perfectly.

One of the best AU fics I have read in a very long time. It's amazing how much meaning you fit in such a short number of words.

**I changed the cover art because people might have mistaken this for a HiE fic because the original cover picture had a person on it. The barbed wire gets the point across just as well**

The story is solid but not emotionally engaging. Because it's composed mostly of formal speech I found it hard to immerse in the world you'd created. It's certainly a good "What If?" hook, but somehow the topic of enslavement, presented in such a detached manner, doesn't really trigger a strong response. I didn't identify with the main character well either, and the constant reference to herself as 'we' was quite jarring as I read it.

I also get a strong American slavery vibe from the work, so not being a US citizen with a background in the subject may have also worked against me. The ending reflections also seem discordant with the experiences of modern societies. The slaves did not rise up and overthrow their white overlords, they integrated into society and became equals. Whether or not the protagonist is mistaken in her assumptions simply because of her inability to accurately predict the consequences of emancipation, the fact that this image is the final one we're left with makes the entire process seem futile. Ponies will return, destroy changelings and reclaim land, and society reverts back to status quo. You could even see a cycle of each race locked in eternal rise and fall until one or both are destroyed completely.

Overall a solid work, but it failed to personally hook me.

Some of what you said is true, but I feel the need to argue some of it
Firstly, you got hooked up on the "we" thing, which I expected some people to do. That's perfectly fine, but in the end, a fully realistic portrayal of a hive mind required that they do not know individuality. As mind-jarring as it is, it is authentic.
Also, assuming that this is based on American slavery is assuming a lot. This story pulls a lot of influence from the slavery practiced in Africa by European nations, where the slaves did overthrow their oppressors. The fact that the changelings are just letting them go on their own with no assistance or compensation is parallel to how the European nations neglected the people who lived in those areas, and the point where the ponies overthrow the changelings is equivalent to when the African colonies overthrew the European empires that controlled them. I'd say that is a pretty accurate metaphor if I do say so myself.
That being said, there are references to the civil war, which is no surprise since I am American. For example, the queen is the metaphorical Abraham Lincoln, and the main character represents the voice of people who wanted the slaves freed for non-political reasons, while Lincoln's motives were largely political.
I hope this didn't come across as rude of offensive, for that is not my intent. Some of the things you said, such as my story's lack of ability to be enthralling, are completely accurate, and I respect those points of your opinion. I think we can agree to disagree on these standpoints in a mature manor.

I announce this the Led Zeppelin of Slice of Life fics.

No. Nothing compares to Led Zeppelin. I name all of my chapters after songs, and there's a reason I don't do Led Zeppelin songs. No story is worthy.

That being said, the idea behind this fic is something I'm very proud of. And after I'm done rewriting it, I'll have good writing quality as well.

1514946 I don't think they really try and bend around the issues and make it all about slavery up north. At least not where I go to school. But slavery was the primary issue that fueled the war. Debates over slavery caused secession. But it came down to things like the Union not recognizing Confederate independence and refusing to remove their military presence from the Southern States. That's what caused the shelling of Fort Sumter, and began the war.

The real reason for the war is simple: The south didn't like that they had a smaller amount of political influence than the north did at that time, with the Liberal Republicans controlling a vast majority of the government. This legitimate concern caused them to split off and form their own country. However, the southern position on Fort Sumter was overly aggressive, as if they were asking for war. That was an overreaction by a lot.

The north did go to war because of slavery, though. Although the government had other concerns greater than that, the citizens were more interested in the issue of slavery, and it was the main reason they were so enthusiastic about the war. But what people tend to forget was that the south didn't go to war to protect slavery, but to protect their political rights, one of which included owning slaves, despite how immoral the practice was. If only one side is fighting for something, and that side itself is fighting for other reasons as well, that doesn't make the war primarily about slavery.

2629560 Right. Slavery wasn't the reason the north fought the war. Fort Sumter was the reason we went to war. But slavery certainly played a part. With little influence from the south, they were set up to see slavery ended as abolitionist states became the majority power. The south's life blood was slave labor. Had their slaves been emancipated before war, the southern economy would have gone into a massive recession. We saw that happen during the Post-War Reconstruction era. The south didn't fight only because of their limited political power. They fought because they wanted to save their half of the economy. And when they tried to become their own nation, the Union refused to recognize them. True, there could have been peaceful resolution to the issue of northern military presence. But the south was mainly farmers and frontiersmen. They were tough, and no doubt always ready to fight.

The south did not secede in response to opposition of slavery. They did so upon Abraham Lincoln coming into office before even waiting to see if he would dare attempt to abolish slavery or if it would pass through congress, etc. So although one of the things they feared was slavery, the primary cause of secession was being upset at their lack of political influence, which prevented them from stopping slavery from being abolished. That's inarguable fact. It also stopped them from doing a number of other things, so limited political influence is essentially a umbrella term that takes into account more of the minute reasons for secession than just slavery alone, although it is mostly slavery to the slave holders, who held nearly all the power in the region.

Y'know, I was actually in charge of reviewing this for TECS before I left. S'a good story man, and I gave it a pretty good review in my opinion, but I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post it considering I'm not a critic anymore.

You could post it on this story as an independent reviewer to make me feel good about this.
Also, if you liked this, I'm going to rewrite it sometime in the not-to-distant future, with a lot more detail and stuff.

3130522 Yeah, alright. Let me get it...

Here ya go.

You'll pardon me if I didn't give it a perfect rating, or if the review seems off or something.

No, it's perfectly on base. It's consistent with the sorts of problems I was having in my writing back when I wrote this. I do think this story is rushed and that's the main reason I want to rewrite it. I wasted this idea pretty badly, in retrospect.
And Thanks for the review. I like it when people do these sorts of things for one of my stories. It's nice to know what I did wrong and what I did right, since I honestly miss both of them a lot of the time.

3135928 Well, I look forward to the rewrite.

Story Title: Emancipation

Author: Garbo802

Reviewed by: Plebeian

For many, the word “emancipation” evokes feelings of triumph, freedom, and new beginnings. In his piece, Garbo evokes exactly those emotions, using a combination of dialogue and interior monologue to develop a character that – to most readers – should feel very familiar. Emancipation is the story of a changeling in his moment of trial, who chooses to speak out for those considered below him.
The story is fairly and suitably literal until the very end, where it takes on a more reflective style and tone. “Emancipation” presents a few subsurface themes, and the author’s intended message is clear and easily-deciphered. Garbo’s alternate universe is well-established for the length of the piece, and his protagonist and conflicts are well-developed. In short, “Emancipation” is a piece worth considerable merit.

Score: 8.2/10

The Full Review (Some spoilers)

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