Notables

113 members follow Impossible Numbers

Impossible Numbers follows 78 members

Guilds and Societies

Specimens of Interest

  • A Cup of Joe Our Pony Joe runs his doughnut shop, chats with his regulars...and lives in the shadow of a memory. by The Descendant 17,431 words · 8,124 views · 911 likes · 13 dislikes
  • Binky Pie by Miyajima 53,100 words · 14,113 views · 846 likes · 13 dislikes
  • Canterlot Follies Young Birdy is sent to Canterlot to steal an artifact and bolster Prince Blueblood's reputation. by LadyMoondancer 51,500 words · 24,468 views · 92 likes · 1 dislikes
  • Daring Do Bakes a Cake Dinner with Daring Do and her mother. by Lucky Dreams 6,365 words · 5,304 views · 223 likes · 6 dislikes
  • Derplicity Derpy Hooves is secretly a changeling. Nopony particularly notices, or cares. by Skywriter 7,984 words · 31,281 views · 3,083 likes · 44 dislikes

Specimens of Interest

  • En Fuego A conversation with Applejack spurs Fluttershy to check up on Twilight's mental well-being. Twilight's reaction to her encouragement, however, is probably not what she had in mind... by Mayclore 13,296 words · 6,671 views · 465 likes · 8 dislikes
  • Excerpts from a Filthy Diary Excerpts from Filthy Rich's diary, shedding light on a side of him you probably didn't know. by SR Foxley 20,834 words · 2,693 views · 101 likes · 1 dislikes
  • Fluttershy's Bad "Hare" Day Fluttershy turns into a rabbit by Pegasus Rescue Brigade 58,950 words · 17,508 views · 1,346 likes · 21 dislikes
  • Guardians of the Old Forest For centuries, timberwolves have guarded their secrets in the deepest corners of the old forest, but that may change when Roseluck stumbles in. A war is brewing under the shadows of the trees. by ocalhoun 17,659 words · 799 views · 75 likes · 3 dislikes
  • Gummy Tries All Day Long Gummy struggles to reach the Ponyville River. All of Ponyville tries to stop him. by Cloud Wander 5,873 words · 3,238 views · 299 likes · 3 dislikes

Specimens of Interest

  • Rainbow Dash's Tallest Tales Rainbow Dash and the Wonderbolts get tangled up with a gang of pirates. That's what Dash says, anyway. by Sciz 31,268 words · 1,931 views · 56 likes · 3 dislikes
  • Rites of Ascension Twilight makes a new spell and starts the gears of fate with her ascension to alicornhood. (Writing started before Season 3.) by CvBrony 441,811 words · 26,979 views · 2,492 likes · 64 dislikes
  • Short Cakes The Cake twins discover Ponyville. by Cloud Wander 5,885 words · 4,661 views · 355 likes · 3 dislikes
  • Sunny Skies All Day Long Celestia's Day Off by PhantomFox 8,536 words · 83,818 views · 8,656 likes · 141 dislikes
  • Surface Deep Rarity is Ponyville's most elegant pony. What made her that way? The answer lies beneath the surface by TheSlorg 5,652 words · 2,598 views · 122 likes · 5 dislikes

Specimens of Interest

  • The Contest Fluttershy returns to defend her title as Quiet Game world champion. by Cold in Gardez 6,714 words · 36,328 views · 1,786 likes · 25 dislikes
  • The Rummy Business of Old Blooey What ho! Big doin's on the night of the Grand Galloping Gala! by Cloud Wander 8,541 words · 2,096 views · 193 likes · 4 dislikes
  • The Sweetie Chronicles: Fragments Sweetie Belle must find Twilight by travelling through different Fanfic worlds... by Wanderer D 427,339 words · 34,079 views · 2,983 likes · 58 dislikes
  • Whip and Wing Daring Do & Indiana Jones battle each others' enemies in a race to save their worlds and themselves. by Fernin 55,000 words · 17,940 views · 1,499 likes · 26 dislikes

Welcome Centre and Landmark Attractions

Notable Exhibits from 2016

  • Eights Week Princess Celestia, forced to endure yet another tedious major event, reminisces over much better times. by Impossible Numbers 1,685 words · 282 views · 36 likes · 2 dislikes
  • Hive Versus Hive Seabreeze wants nothing more than to stay at home and relax with his family. But after his lucky escape from the Big World of the ponies, he's gained some unwelcome attention, and not just from overawed Breezie neighbours... by Impossible Numbers 46,644 words · 112 views · 10 likes · 0 dislikes
  • Practical Nightmares Only Golden Harvest always takes pains to be the sensible one for others, but that's easier said than done when Muffins has something "ambitious" planned for Nightmare Night. by Impossible Numbers 9,608 words · 198 views · 9 likes · 1 dislikes
  • Splash Dash Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and the one and only Rainbow Dash chill out in the river, and thrash out a silly story amongst themselves while doing it. by Impossible Numbers 9,822 words · 463 views · 30 likes · 0 dislikes
  • Villainy Abroad Two henchmares-for-hire, Carmine and Vanilla, are out on yet another assignment for some artefact or other. It was supposed to be just another routine "pick-up", but then henchmares don't have the best job security in the world. by Impossible Numbers 20,390 words · 110 views

Contestants in the World-Building Alliance Competitions

  • An Old Tale in a New World At this turning point of history, a new frontier is colonized from across the seas. One orange farmer's foal is stolen away, and a new tale arises when three unlikely creatures all meet at the Duende Inn. by Impossible Numbers 12,558 words · 177 views
  • Diminished When the Queen of the Changelings refuses to stick her neck out for a dying soldier, Moulder’s passionate love drives her beyond convention to seek a deal with the dreaded Sorceress, who seems more interested in a fairy tale from long ago. by Impossible Numbers 9,576 words · 197 views · 11 likes · 0 dislikes
  • The Last of Lapis Lazuli Lazuli is just another slave, one of many of the Crystal Empire. Her king keeps her fellow ponies safe from a dangerous foe, or so it seems. Yet, her treasonous thoughts refuse to lie, and there's only one other she can turn to for one last talk by Impossible Numbers 4,566 words · 609 views · 21 likes · 0 dislikes
  • Laurels The crystal ponies have captured a trespassing diamond dog, but for Electra, there's more at stake here than simply wondering how best to treat an old pest in a new world... by Impossible Numbers 4,358 words · 1,053 views · 52 likes · 2 dislikes
  • Monster Catchers Jitters the donkey is a professional monster catcher in his village, but doesn't take well to the news that his next commission involves teaming up with a newcomer from the city against a particularly tricky customer. by Impossible Numbers 5,317 words · 251 views · 10 likes · 1 dislikes

Museum of Unnatural History: Free Admission

  • E Metal Celestia

    During the early days of Equestria, Clover the Clever's friend Duchess Celestia accepts a mission to safeguard the new union. Unfortunately, someone is unhappy with said union, and especially with her...  · Impossible Numbers
    11,713 words · 54 views  ·  10  ·  0
  • E Healing Properties

    Lotus Blossom: merely the owner of the spa in Ponyville? No. Before life in Equestria, Lotus was living in a country where, among other things, she was a princess. One who hated royalty. Of course, steam baths were still important. Vitally important.  · Impossible Numbers
    15,632 words · 61 views
  • E Transient

    Pinkie and Rarity reluctantly venture into the strange caves of the far reaches of Equestria. The map must have sent them there for a reason, after all. Hopefully, they'll live long enough to figure out what it is.  · Impossible Numbers
    15,434 words · 125 views  ·  12  ·  0
  • E Beautiful Lives

    Zephyr Breeze has just died due to his own neglect. This isn’t surprising, even to him. What IS surprising is what happens next.  · Impossible Numbers
    9,562 words · 399 views  ·  33  ·  0
  • E As Winter Dies, So Spring Is Born

    On the day of Equestria's first Winter Wrap-Up, the pegasus once known as Private Pansy – now promoted to Captain Pansy – leaves the celebrations early to face her former commander. Who is now in prison.  · Impossible Numbers
    4,599 words · 234 views  ·  22  ·  0
  • E The Web Untangled

    Enjoying a peaceful end to a hectic week, Fluttershy contemplates the nature of Twilight's latest diplomatic mission. All while entertaining some unusual house guests!  · Impossible Numbers
    18,435 words · 101 views
  • E Stinging The Trail

    Sky Stinger wonders how his relationship with Vapor Trail could have survived such a big and embarrassing secret. They're both still friends. He's sure of that much. But now he's actually starting to wonder why.  · Impossible Numbers
    3,470 words · 146 views  ·  13  ·  0
  • E Raven Night School

    I’m bad. My life’s bad. My future is bleak. And I should probably tell you about these weird dreams I’ve been having lately…  · Impossible Numbers
    6,667 words · 89 views  ·  15  ·  0
  • E The Icing on the Hearth's Warming Cake

    Coriander Cumin and Saffron Masala prepare for their first Hearth's Warming Eve pageant. He is less than excited to be attending... but not for the reasons you'd think.  · Impossible Numbers
    8,418 words · 66 views
  • E White Lightning and the Elite Pony

    On Hearts and Hooves Day, White Lightning and Ponet get together at the café, as usual. They exchange gifts, as usual. They hide their own deepest, darkest fears and miseries from each other, again as usual.  · Impossible Numbers
    10,400 words · 64 views
  • E Petalback

    Twilight and Spike are summoned by Rainbow Dash to Zecora's hut. It quickly turns out that an incident in the Everfree has left Fluttershy with a parasitic plant on her back.  · Impossible Numbers
    28,630 words · 269 views  ·  23  ·  2
  • E Her Song of Jubilation

    Coloratura struggles after losing the odious manager Svengallop, and does what she can to get her life back on track.  · Impossible Numbers
    10,250 words · 172 views  ·  13  ·  0
  • E Friends of the Ponies

    Ember wants to see the rise of a smarter, friendlier dragon society in the future. For her dragon subjects, this presents quite a steep learning curve.  · Impossible Numbers
    1,716 words · 387 views  ·  42  ·  0
  • E Eights Week

    Princess Celestia, forced to endure yet another tedious major event, reminisces over much better times.  · Impossible Numbers
    1,685 words · 282 views  ·  36  ·  2
  • E Floral Issues

    The Flower Trio brave the Everfree for the sake of their craft, and soon regret it.  · Impossible Numbers
    4,161 words · 170 views
  • T Magical Deathmatch

    Ponies are missing! Kidnappings terrify Equestria! During preparations for a fundraiser fashion show, Applejack and Rarity become victims too. Once captured, they are forced into a hellish fighting tournament. Their only chance? To win their freedom.  · Impossible Numbers
    25,013 words · 114 views
  • E Hive Versus Hive

    Seabreeze wants nothing more than to stay at home and relax with his family. But after his lucky escape from the Big World of the ponies, he's gained some unwelcome attention, and not just from overawed Breezie neighbours...  · Impossible Numbers
    46,644 words · 112 views  ·  10  ·  0
  • E Practical Nightmares Only

    Golden Harvest always takes pains to be the sensible one for others, but that's easier said than done when Muffins has something "ambitious" planned for Nightmare Night.  · Impossible Numbers
    9,608 words · 198 views  ·  9  ·  1
Mar
6th
2017

Blog Number 26: Reviews and Relief Edition

Now there's the stallion we'd all love to strangle.

First of all, I have a milestone to report; my latest story, Beautiful Lives, hit the Featured Box yesterday/today depending upon timezone, the first time this has ever happened with one of my fics. And of all the fics it could have happened to, it of course had to be a fic basically pointing out how much Zephyr Breeze, a character I actually quite like, is a waste of space. My life continues to throw me curveballs.

This is a good bonus, and I hope to get such an achievement once more in the not-too-distant future. Chuffed as I am with that result, however, the reader response is even better. I delight in seeing people say what was so vivid about the story for them, or even just give it a positive adjective. If only this sort of thing happened more often, because it is a wonderful thing to see my efforts become more than I'd hoped for.

Less Sophisticated Translation: MY FIC GOT FEATURED! MY FIC GOT FEATURED! OMG YOU GUYS! MY FIC GOT FEATURED! YAY! :D

Anywho, on to the main course of this metaphorical meal. Please select your preferred dish from the menu below. Or not. Who cares?*

* Seriously, Coriander Cumin needs a happy day. Or at least an hour.


Featured Fic (hint: look up, stupid)

Underutilized Tags, and the Time Action Glory Challenge!

FanOfMostEverything's Contest

Relief: Productivity!

Reviews of Honour


Underutilized Tags, and the Time Action Glory Challenge!

Statistics for character tags are fascinating, at least if you've got the patience. Take out the "OC" and "Other" tags, and the Queen of Character Overuse is none other than Princess Celestia, appearing in roughly a quarter of all stories on the site. Work your way down via the main characters, and the distribution shows some jumps, both unsurprising (Twilight's right at the top, but then the show all-too-often seems to be hers) and downright saddening (Rarity is at the bottom, lower even than Discord!). Then, broadly speaking, you've got the most popular background characters and the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and then as far as I can tell, after that it's a free-for-all.

I mention this because the really depressing part comes when you go and see the lowest of the low. Of course, I'm not really going to get emotional or pretend not to understand why this happens. Some characters are gravitationally strong, attracting all sorts of stories and interpretations. Other characters require a bit of bending before you can get much work out of them, or just don't leave any impact. Heck, background pony tags are basically OC stand-ins, for all the characterization the show gives us. And ultimately, the whole thing is probabilistic, as open to the random contingencies of the fan climate as the real climate is to everything under the sun (and including the sun too).

Nevertheless, it seems vaguely unjust to me, for instance, that Seabreeze has a prominent role in one of the 143 released episodes of Friendship is Magic, and thus a representational percentage of roughly 0.7%, yet features in only 22 out of over 100,000 fics, or barely 0.02%! He's not a bad character, and I'm confident the combined talents and creativity of the fandom could produce for him the sort of varied and spectacular fics rewarded regularly to other character tags. Even focusing on the recent glut of tags, the lopsided distribution and low story counts make me think a lot of potential remains untapped. After all, a major key to diversity and any kind of evolution involves finding a niche and thriving in it. I really believe it can be done for these overlooked cast members.

That's where the Time Action Glory Challenge group comes in. Their main purpose is to take these overlooked tags and give them their time in the spotlight. Their frankly ambitious aim is to ensure each tag has at least one hundred stories under it by the end of 2017, though if you ask me that's nigh impossible without a fantastically high production rate, or at least most of the fandom getting involved. Therefore, I consider it at least worth trying for the target and accepting a consolation prize: as many fics for each neglected tag as possible. Let not the good tags fade into the shade.

Each month is expected to have a certain theme: this month's is "Marching Forth", an open theme allowing for many kinds of interpretation. Tangentially, FanOfMostEverything has invited its members to contribute via his own Imposing Sovereigns contest, though see his own blog for the terms and conditions of that particular challenge. And I myself intend to begin a prompt later this month.

So, if you believe there's a tag that's woefully underappreciated, or if you wish to find a poorly-tapped niche in the fandom, or just want an arbitrary challenge, remember the name: Time Action Glory Challenge. The only inspections we pass are yours.


FanOfMostEverything's Contest

Oh yeah, and FanOfMostEverything has a contest on at the mo: Imposing Sovereigns. Apparently, he got it from a book or something. Don't ask me. All I know is that his contest involves taking a princess (he's very loose about what counts as a princess), taking a role from a list (Schemer, Warrior, Partier, etc.), and then writing a fic about them before the end of this week. That's the abridged version: if that's not enough to fully win you over, check out his own blog on the subject and see if there's an opening for you. Also, cash prizes are involved.

To give you a preview, here's a list of the roles more fully fleshed-out, and the current slots available and taken. I'm afraid it is limited to one user per slot, and you have to claim in the comments section of his blog, but hopefully there's something here to grab your attention:

Roles

• Warriors: Princesses Who Fought Their Own Battles

• Usurpers: Princesses Who Grabbed Power in a Man's World

• Schemers: Princesses Who Plotted and Planned

• Survivors: Princesses Who Made Controversial and Questionable Choices

• Partiers: Princesses Who Loved to Live it Up

• Floozies: Princesses Notorious for Their Sexy Exploits

• Madwomen: Princesses Who Were Likely Mad, or Close to It.

Sign-Up List (as of this moment of publishing)

Warriors

• Celestia: Foals Errand

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight: River Road

• Flurry Heart: Lise Eclaire

• Platinum: Carabas

• Pumpkin Cake: Daedalus Aegle

• Others:

Usurpers:

• Celestia:

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight:

• Flurry Heart:

• Others:

Schemers

• Celestia: Impossible Numbers

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight:

• Flurry Heart: Georg

• Ember: Masterweaver

• Others:

Survivors

• Celestia: SirNotAppearingInThisFic

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight: PegasusMesa

• Flurry Heart: ReluctantBrohoof

• Platinum: Silver Moon

• Starlight Glimmer: Czar_Yoshi

• Others:

Partiers

• Celestia:

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight:

• Flurry Heart:

• Platinum: bookplayer

• Others:

Floozies

• Celestia:

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight: Thought Prism

• Flurry Heart:

• Others:

Madwomen

• Celestia: Aragon

• Luna:

• Cadence:

• Twilight: DarkSpark

• Flurry Heart:

• Ember: Bugsydor

• Others:

I've ruled out the slots that have already been taken, and if you find that limitation too much, don't hesitate to tell him. He explicitly welcomes feedback. Please do read his rules, though, if you want to take part.


Relief: Productivity!

Anyway, back to narcissism mode. To my own surprise, I have just emerged from an uncharacteristically productive month. Seven fics in one month is, to put it bluntly, not something I was expecting to achieve even when I was starting out in 2011/2012. Especially not during that slump in 2014. So I am immensely gratified to see the muse has done a workout since then!

The fics of honour are listed below, because if there's one thing we can't get enough of, it's lists.

Petalback

White Lightning and the Elite Pony

The Icing on the Hearth's Warming Cake

Raven Night School

Stinging the Trail

The Web Untangled

As Winter Dies, So Spring Is Born

As for this month, I doubt I'll match that level of output, as it would require an average rate of one fic every four or five days. This may well be a simple fluke, and of course it's about quality, not quantity: no point rushing out a dozen fics if they're a load of dingo's kidneys**. But hopefully this will still be a good month for writing. One can only hope... and one can do some actual writing, of course. :twilightsheepish:

** Darn, but I wish Douglas Adams was still alive. Now there's a writer who needed to be more prolific.


Reviews of Honour

As if to compliment my increased output, this year has also seen an increase in the number of reviews I receive, though that was hardly a difficult achievement. But reviews on all over the place! Yay!

Seriously, these are immensely gratifying, not only for the valuable critical feedback and pointers for improvement, but for the sheer pleasure of seeing people appreciate all the effort devoted to these stories. Comments so far have been encouraging too.

Incidentally, the Big Master Review List (link goes directly to spreadsheet, FYI) is a great resource that links to various reviews. That said, it currently only has four of mine up (should I nudge Singularity Dream about this?). So more comprehensively, I'll list my own reviews here in no particular order:

Louder Yay blog has given me two of them. In fact, it was because of Loganberry's first review of one of mine that I first became aware of the Big Master Review List, as my story Practical Nightmares Only was added, resulting in my receiving a notification. A bonus upon a bonus, indeed. The two reviews were: the aforementioned fic in a Carrot Top Edition post (three stars out of five, which seems respectable enough to me); and Lapidify: To See and Die (four out of five) in a Royal Canterlot Library Edition post. So far, so good!

In fact, Lapidify did quite a few rounds recently. It has been covered by PresentPerfect (recommended), the Royal Canterlot Library (um... I think this one's self-explanatory), Seattle's Angels (you know you're in a good place when your fic's being compared to the raptor kitchen scene in Jurassic Park), Shrink Laureate's blog post here, and even this dude, whoever the heck he is. All it needs is a review from City of Doors, OneManPonyRamblings blog, Titanium Dragon, PaulAsaran, Pleasant Reviews!, John Perry, The Royal Guard, Soge, The Goodfic Bin, Meridian Prime, MLPmatthewl149, Cerulean Voice, Inquisitor M, Foals Errand, and the Pony Fiction Vault, and I'll have the whole set!***

*** Tricky, considering at least two of those on the list are no longer active.

For completeness' sake, here's some older stuff too:

Griffon a Load of Bull, reviewed by Seattle's Angels and briefly mentioned by theRedBrony in a signal boost post. I still find it a bit unfortunate that this is apparently my top-rated fic of all time. That's probably due to longevity and this unexpected shout-out, but given what else I've written, I think it's way overdue a dethroning.

Last but certainly not least, I'd like to give a hearty thanks to xgfhj for their rankings, both in blog form and via their library additions, which have consistently challenged me to finally try and get a higher rank than four stars.****

**** Even if I still think All of a Fluttershy wasn't bad enough to deserve just two... :applejackunsure: Ah well, different palates, I guess. It's hardly my proudest achievement either way. On the other hand, The Campaign for Extra Trixie is something I think needs either chopping up or scrapping altogether, though I'm not sure which, hence its continued survival.


Well, that's most certainly all for now. If this post seems a little too self-indulgent, then my only defense is that I'm enjoying my own minor renaissance while I still have one. I've got huge gaps to make up for.

Until next time, Impossible Numbers, out!


Statistics

List of Fics Accepted by Equestria Daily

Nothing new to report since last time. Although I have submitted Splash Dash, I'm still not feeling entirely confident after my last mistaken bout of optimism. The obvious solution would be to edit Villainy Abroad, but sentimental as I am, I just can't bring myself to do it. My resolution instead is to try harder with future fics.

New Stories?: Six. Again, rain check on any advanced analysis, though it should be obvious the Time Action Glory Challenge influence was strong here. Also, I marvel at how a Fluttershy fic about the wonder and solace of spiders gets less attention than a fic about a barely noticed Hearth's Warming Eve character.*****

The Icing on the Hearth's Warming Cake

Raven Night School

Stinging the Trail

The Web Untangled

As Winter Dies, So Spring Is Born

Beautiful Lives

***** I'm not being fatuous; the spider one was inspired by watching an episode of a David Attenborough series, Life in the Undergrowth, and subsequently got more attention and effort from me. By contrast, the Private Pansy one was a result of a moment's inspiration and completed more or less in a day. Based on that, I honestly anticipated wholly different reactions to the ones these two fics actually got.

New Updates: No

Story Count: 48

My Total Story View Count: 38,429

Age: 1,910 days, or 272 weeks and 6 days

My Follower Count: 105

My Followed Count: 77

Report Impossible Numbers · 57 views · Story: The Web Untangled ·
Feb
17th
2017

Blog Number 25: "But It's Actually Got 24 Reviews" Edition

A lot has happened since the last blog post, far too much for me to feel happy cramming it all into a single follow-up. I will most likely revisit some points in later posts, so for now this is mostly going to focus on one or two big ones. Once more, the time-tested contents section is below.


New Tags! Woohoo!

NaPoWriMo Results Post

The Oddity of Season Six

The Good Side of Season Six?

The 24 Season Six Episode Evaluations

Oh, and a Faulty Laptop


New Tags! Woohoo!

After the New Character Tags blog post, readers can now hunt down characters once shunted under "Other". Most of them I don't care about, but there are enough tags there that frankly have shockingly low story counts. So when a group arose recently with the main aim of increasing the number of stories for such tags, I joined in. After all, one of the joys of fanfiction, pony fanfiction in particular, is expanding upon characters otherwise overlooked or neglected. Also, I have a soft spot for background ponies, who are after all simply yet intriguingly designed.


NaPoWriMo Results Post

Well, that was too intelligent to last; now on to something stupid I did. Like a dimwit, I waited until two days after the scheduled release of the NaPoWriMo Results Post to ask after it via email, and then immediately discovered the post in question had been released a day early. Which I would have noticed if I'd actually checked. Looks like my powers of observation and good timing remain intact.

As for the post itself, I did pretty well all things considered, being the third most productive participant out of a total set of twenty seven, and one of the number to surpass the traditional benchmark of 50,000 words. More to the point, I earned a snazzy new cover for Hive Versus Hive, courtesy of Novel-Idea. It'll be interesting to see what happens during the next contest - maybe I'll even break the 100k target I fell short of last time - but I don't want to get ahead of myself.

Good lord, why can't I be that productive all the time?


The Oddity of Season Six

Let's just say things have changed over the last five years and three months.

Normally, I wait for most or all of a pony season to come out, and then watch all the episodes online. By contrast, Season Six remains the only season with episodes unwatched.

So what did I do this time? Well, instead of looking for full episode downloads, I started looking for clips well after the season itself had concluded. I had picked up details about episodes here and there too in the form of summaries, and, after a bout of clip-watching, then I went and watched a few episodes. Namely, the ones I could muster any enthusiasm for.

:applejackunsure: I hate sounding like an old sourpuss with nostalgia goggles firmly over my eyes. After all, there are plenty of Season Six episodes I'd put on par with those of the earlier seasons. However, I did some back-of-the-envelope tallies recently, and the ratio of liked-to-disliked episodes for each season has, overall, dipped for me. There are local anomalies, of course; Season Three is much lower than its neighbours, and Seasons Four and Five are roughly equal. But the trend is still unmistakeable.

Once, I would've hunted down whole episodes and watched them back-to-back, but ever since the finale of Season Five, I've been less than keen to do so. To understand a big reason why...

Well...

I'm afraid the next four paragraphs are going to be a bit intemperate, so this is exactly where I want to make it clear this is a matter of personal taste, and not meant as some kind of insult for those who don't share my views.

A big part of it is that I was getting tired and irritated by the badly done and overdone "villains redeemed" trope. Once or twice is fine, in theory, as it allows focus on the conflicting impulses and on what made a character go one way over the temptations of the other. Even then, there are convincing and unconvincing ways to do it. A trend of the things would correspondingly need some pretty convincing performances according to my book.

However, the show seems unusually bad at pulling them off, and I find the idea at least slightly obnoxious when we already have so many normal or more relatable side characters who could do with being better integrated into the morals of the show. For example, Cheerilee and the Cakes have barely done anything since Season Two; I'd rather the show explored school issues and family responsibilities with familiar staple characters than ran another lacklustre episode on why Discord still sucks at friendship-making.

With that in mind, it certainly doesn't help that, even by those low standards, Starlight's turnaround was gallingly executed, with the half-baked psychological explanation nowhere near proportionate to her sheer terrifying competence at brainwashing and even to her petty-but-ambitious revenge scheme. Besides, she's a fantastic villain even in her second two-parter (I contend her first appearance was by far her best). I don't know what's worse: the fact that they squandered such an antagonist so tritely, or the fact that they expect us to sympathize with someone so spectacularly diabolical and hypercompetent that her mere revenge plot created dystopias and apocalypses over and over.

And the idea of her sharing billing with the likes of Spike, Twilight, Rarity, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Rainbow Dash? Especially in one episode that apparently revolves around her mass-brainwashing favourite characters and expecting us to find that comedic? I apologize if you personally have no problem with that setup - in the spirit of tolerance, I say good for you - but the very idea produces an instant and passionate "NO" in my head. I'm not exaggerating when I say her mere presence in Season Six was a big turn-off for me.


The Good Side of Season Six?

That aside, there was some interesting news filtering through about the sixth season, and some of the episode synopses proved very tempting. So this year, I thought I'd at least sift through the summaries and clips, and track down those online episodes that didn't seem too off-putting. I don't want this to get too long-winded, so in brief I'll list the episode, mention how far I got along that three-point investigation, and then give my general reactions to it. Especially good or noteworthy episodes will get a little happy Twilight for their efforts: :twilightsmile:.


The 24 Season Six Episode Evaluations

"The Crystalling"

Didn't get past the summary. Even leaving out the whole Starlight issue and everything associated with it - and for good measure, let's leave out the unappealingly designed, uncharismatic narrative wrecking ball and world-building headache that is Flurry Heart* - about the only thing that grabs my attention in any passion-inducing way is the return of the Crystal Empire... and the rest of the story seemingly doesn't care about the crystal ponies or any real world-building in that direction beyond the climactic snowstorm. Combine that with the strange redesigning of said crystal ponies that subtracts more than it adds, and I feel no guilt whatsoever in ignoring this one.

* I'll take this moment to repeat that this is MY reaction and not an attempt at stating some objective fact, as if anyone who disagreed with me was automatically wrong. Call me paranoid, but I really don't want comments misunderstanding my position, and please take it as read that this caveat is shadowing the rest of these summaries, because I really, really want to avoid that kind of misunderstanding.

"The Gift of the Maud Pie" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. It sacrifices strong plotting, but in return I get a likeable and hilarious character-driven outing that is just a simple chance to hang out with two histrionic mares and a stoic with a stone. Given how much fun I had watching Rarity hype up Maud's tranquil fury and Pinkie's desperate attempts to outclass Maud's gift, I do not begrudge it that sacrifice one bit. Special mention must go to Rarity's bizarre attempts to keep Maud from eavesdropping on her talks with Pinkie Pie.

"On Your Marks"

Watched enough clips to see virtually all of the episode. This wasn't onto a winner from the get-go, given my strong dislike of "Raiders of the Lost Mark", but all the same this was a curiously directionless episode about directionless ponies trying and failing to avoid feeling directionless, and thus it is an example of why "having X story structure match character's X experience" isn't automatically a good thing. There were some redeeming moments; Bulk Biceps had a smile-inducing cameo, the Tender Taps story was sweet enough to deserve its own full episode, and I thought the song and visuals were kind of OK. But a few good moments does not an episode make.

"Gauntlet of Fire" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. Torch ordering the dragons to feel the right emotions at the right time? Funny. Ember pretending to be too cool for friendship while being clueless about it? Good. High-stakes dragon obstacle course with ponies on the line? Dramatic. Spike and Ember's actions promising a hopeful future for dragon society? Heartwarming. And Spike carried himself very well, taking on the hero mantle and encouraging Ember's better nature. I think I have a new favourite Spike episode.

"No Second Prances"

Watched a few clips, but really an episode involving both Starlight and Trixie is not one best calculated to appeal to me. Saw bits of the end, mainly because I was wondering what the new manticore design looked like. That said, and even though I'm not a fan of Trixie, she was at least a decent antagonist and I still think she could've been better used than as "Starlight's friend". Also saw the bit where Cranky asks Celestia about her hair. It made me laugh.

"Newbie Dash"

Barely got past the summary, because joining the Wonderbolts should be a bigger deal than this. Saw the "Rainbow imitates her friends" montage. Kinda funny. But good grief, the Wonderbolts are becoming even less appealing the more seasons pass by (Season Five being a possible exception, though my memory's a bit vague there). I swear Spitfire used to be mellow in the first two seasons; I can just about give her a partial pass for Season Three because it might just have been the demands of the role. I also have mixed feelings about the whole "Rainbow Crash" thing; even if it is friendly banter, doesn't that at least rely on both sides feeling comfortable doing it? I don't get that sense of camaraderie between Dash and the 'Bolts, which just makes it seem careless at best.

"A Hearth's Warming Tail"**

** Shouldn't that be "Tale"? Yet the majority of sources I consult spell it "Tail". I honestly do not understand why.

Saw a video of the Luna's Future song. Good grief, is this episode a case of two extremes. On the one hand, I'd rather ignore Starlight's presence whenever feasible, and the "stupid spell causes armageddon" plot is a large part of what bugged me about the Season Five finale (and, to a lesser extent, the Season Four finale). Seeing it put forwards again is immensely uncomfortable. On the other hand, I like Hearth's Warming Eve episodes, and that song is ambitious and spine-chillingly good, and I've heard so much praise about this episode that I wonder if it's really worth muscling through my reservations to watch the whole thing...

"The Saddle Row Review" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. A comedy gem, but then it does have Rarity in it. Even without the novelty of the interview format, this would be a pretty entertaining romp as the chaos grows and the grand opening looks less and less likely to happen, but the way they use the interview segments to add off-beat reactions and to draw out the lesson was delightfully apt. I had a fun time watching this one, especially such gags as Pinkie's "angel-devil" moment and Twilight's, ahem, "sweep remix"***.

*** OK, OK, technically it's not a "remix", but that gag, especially with the smug hoof-bump between AJ and RD, was still chuckle-worthy.

"Applejack's 'Day' Off"

Watched the whole episode. A stretched story that, were I in the wrong mood or had slightly different tastes, would so easily send me to sleep. Three things salvage it as at least passable for my palate: the spa, because I for some reason like the accented ponies and liked seeing the layout in more detail (as well as a glimpse into their half-hearted work ethic); Applejack, because I'm the sort of person who thought "Apple Family Reunion" was a major highlight of Season Three; and the moral about simple solutions, which if nothing spectacular is at least homey and respectable, as some MLP morals have failed to be. Otherwise, nothing special.

"Flutter Brutter" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. At first, I was a bit lukewarm towards the idea that Fluttershy's parents were even more weak-willed than her, and as much as it's nice to see her character development, I kind of relate to Fluttershy's nervous/fearful side too much to like seeing her without it. However, I increasingly like the set-up after rewatching this episode, and Fluttershy getting the best of her brother while still being kind and considerate is wonderful.

In addition, Zephyr Breeze didn't bother me nearly as much as he's bothered other commentators. Partly, this is because I thought it was obvious from the start he'd have self-esteem issues, and partly because I did at least find some of his antics funny ("turns out the animal communication thing isn't genetic"). But mainly it's because his fear of failure was so easy to sympathize with. Also, his attempts to impress an obviously unimpressed Rainbow Dash were amusing. And in any case, I will forgive this episode anything for that song.

"Spice Up Your Life" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. I've seen people say how uncomfortable they found this episode's handling of Indian characters. Maybe I'm missing something sinister, or maybe I'm just overly happy to hear different accents regardless, but honestly I think it was played respectably enough with the moral. In any case, this one's another winner for me****, with an interesting alternative look at Canterlot and how immigrants might fit in, and good character interplay between the four main ones. To my surprise, I found myself really liking Coriander Cumin for his straightforward "realistic" defeatism, considering the episode often shows he's got a point. Zesty having a semi-masochistic and slightly patronizing philosophy about superior food having less and less taste rang true for me. Also, I like the cheerful song and the way it was used to contrast Pinkie's pro-diversity attitude with Rarity's pro-conformity sensibilities.

**** The only thing I really don't like is the return of the map, the presence of which often turns innocently heartwarming friendship stories into tales of missionary work directed by an unaccountable authority. I think the episodes would improve dramatically if this element was at the very least put in the hooves of someone like Celestia, who is - if nothing else - an actual living being you can relate to and argue with. I've beaten that drum before, so I won't do so again, but I thought I'd make a note of it. Thankfully, it's not in the episode for very long anyway.

"Stranger Than Fan Fiction" :twilightsmile:

Watched the entire episode. I am not a fan of the "A.K.Yearling is Daring Do" trope, and that does take this episode down a peg. My initial interest in this one was Patton Oswalt's guest appearance, and boy howdy was he great! Quibble Pants was way too entertainingly picky but still immensely likeable, and I'm so glad they didn't just make him an annoying killjoy but understood that his frustration came from his enthusiasm for the books. Imagine my delight, then, when this character was not the only saving grace of the episode; the relationship and antagonism between him and Rainbow was well-played, the self-aware adventure story was a good means of getting some mileage out of the "it's real" trope, and the fan-directed message was agreeably tolerant.

"The Cart Before The Ponies"

Heard a few bad reviews of this one, which put me off a bit. On the other hand, Cheerileader***** is too darn cute! And maybe it'll have some decent bits like "On Your Marks". Maybe I'll watch a clip in the future to see what all the fuss is about.

***** Darn it, but I remember when "Hearts and Hooves Day" gave me hope that Cheerilee would become a much more prominent character. The dichotomy between her inspiring teacher persona and her incompetent teacher persona needs some attention, and she plays a reasonably important role in Apple Bloom's daily life. Besides, she's a teacher. You gotta get some good stories and life lessons with her character, right?

"28 Pranks Later"

Saw bits of the "zombie" outbreak. Interesting moral, and interesting bowdlerization of a genre not otherwise suitable for a family show. Otherwise, nothing particularly remarkable. The idea of her deliberately upsetting Fluttershy at the start was a major turn-off, and hearing this one described as "The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" but with an even more obnoxious Rainbow Dash? Discouraging.

"The Times They Are A Changeling"

Saw bits of Thorax's backstory. A story about one good changeling seeking asylum with the ponies sounds promising... until I remember the joke appearance of one at Cranky and Matilda's wedding. Seeing at least one changeling just chilling with the other citizens seems much more subtly powerful to me, joke though it undoubtedly was. In any case, I wasn't interested enough to give the rest of this episode a chance.

"Dungeons and Discords"

Watched enough clips to see virtually all of the episode. Mostly dull and esoteric, considering my interest in Dungeons and Dragons is non-existent. Discord episodes don't seem to capitalize on his unusual social position and abilities nearly as much as they should do. These are episodes about a chaos spirit learning about the subtleties of friendship, for crying out loud. Even by those standards, though, this one feels like a belaboured missed target.

"Buckball Season" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. Take out the excessive facial expressions (and maybe don't exaggerate so much the skill gap between PP-FS and AJ-RD), and this one's golden. I like the depiction of Snails as an extremely patient daydreamer with killer reflexes, and it was fun watching the two earth ponies and the two pegasi manage their own and each other's approaches to the game. And it's a good game too! I want to see Buckball come back, because it looks like a legitimately fascinating sport with simple yet sensible rules. Another delightful watch!

"The Fault in Our Cutie Marks" :twilightsmile:

Watched enough clips to see virtually all of the episode. I am really, really bothered by the idea of the Crusaders being some kind of life-meaning police, and Gabby is too perfect to be a compelling character. Even her one dramatic moment ends up being in the service of said goody-goody goodness. But who cares when you've got an adorable "archaeologist"****** and an even more adorable griffon on your hands? I don't agree with the fan theory that Gabby represents what the CMC went through - for one thing, Gabby's problem is a fundamental biological difference and a result of her being, if anything, too competent - and I'm not a fan of the "griffons are selfish grumps" trope. Still, it was a cute episode with an interesting moment or two from Scootaloo, and the compromise at the end hit just the right spot between sweet and credible.

****** Seriously, though: "archaeologist"? Are American kids really going to struggle with "palaeontologist", or plain "dinosaur expert/fan" or "fossil hunter"? Gosh-darned illiterates...

"Viva Las Pegasus" :twilightsmile:

Watched enough clips to see virtually all of the episode. Applejack and Fluttershy working together... have we actually seen that pairing before in the show? Because I really liked the unintuitive way it was done here, especially given the nature of the conflict and how it drew upon their core strengths*******. Flim and Flam make a welcome comeback, this time nearly overshadowed by a hammier and even more cunning manipulator, and the gambit at the end was worth the price of admission alone. Also, finally no redeemed villains! Only minor gripe is that I kinda wish Las Pegasus was a Los Angeles imitation rather than a Vegas one, but it worked well within the episode, so I'll happily accept this change.

******* This is another reason why I'd like to wipe that map out of the series; the way they pieced together what was going on and incorporated the Flim Flam brothers into it was fitting, but it's a lot more interesting and relatable when they muddle through it than when they seem to be divinely set up and played like pawns by an all-seeing mystic plot device.

"Every Little Thing She Does"

Saw five seconds of the infamous brainwashing clip. Single-handedly shut down any chance of my liking the Starlight arc at all. What I've heard about the episode since then has only reinforced my distaste for it. Incidentally, I regard "Lesson Zero" as arguably the lowest point of Season Two, so this really wasn't one I was going to countenance even if it hadn't involved Starlight to begin with.

"P.P.O.V. (Pony Point of View)"

Watched more than half of the episode in clips, but not all of it. Had some amusing bits, such as the exaggerated depictions of Rarity and the strange but oddly fitting depiction of sea captain Applejack. Sadly, the idea of such a strongly held spat occurring among these three good friends - especially Pinkie, the most innocent of the bunch - rubs me the wrong way. Also, A-Bunyip-Did-It is arguably one of the most unsatisfying resolutions to a mystery I've ever seen in the show. Even "MMMystery on the Friendship Express", which included Pinkie revealing clues after accusing the perpetrators, more aptly incorporated its out-of-nowhere explanation into the moral and theme of the episode.

"Where the Apple Lies"

Watched more than half of the episode in clips, but not all of it. There are interesting ideas here, such as showing Filthy Rich's business relationship with the Apple family, Big Mac being a know-it-all chatterbox, and Applejack once having fewer scruples about lying. But those things demand a less tired backstory, and I couldn't make much of the whole "escalating white lie" routine. This is an episode which has Applejack lying, Filthy Rich being a decent pony, and Big Mac talking his mouth off, for crying out loud. It should be a lot more interesting than it is.

"Top Bolt" :twilightsmile:

Watched the whole episode. On my first viewing, I thought Twilight and Rainbow Dash were caricatured, at least a bit. On subsequent views, however, they're much more entertaining, similar to how Rarity and Pinkie clashed over how to save The Tasty Treat. Still, this episode works firstly, lastly, and almost entirely because of Sky Stinger and Vapor Trail. Both of them come off as understandable and likeable characters with their own flaws and strengths, and their relationship is both sweet enough to make me care about them, but rocky enough to show they have flaws and can generate interesting drama and dilemmas. A good episode.

"To Where and Back Again"

Saw four clips. One was Starlight and Trixie visiting... what's it called again? "Our Town"? They go there, they get swamped by startlingly forgiving former victims, Starlight goes into trauma mode, and Trixie gives a hammy speech before poofing them both out of dodge.

Watching this clip made me realize something. The main characters were saved in "The Cutie Map" by four bystander ponies: Night Glider, Double Diamond, Party Favor, and Sugar Belle. They, while taken in by Starlight's equalist philosophy, nevertheless were still ordinary characters whose understandable desires conflicted with their initial public image. After some tense moments, all four of them are soon disillusioned, and repay the main characters by rescuing their cutie marks. For a brief, beautiful, glorious moment, the show (largely) eschews all that "overpowered characters driven by destiny/magic/map/whatever" stuff and shows ordinary Joe becoming the heroes, even if only for a limited time.

A show that subsequently let them join the main cast is a show I would have been hugely enthusiastic for. Heroic bystanders! Victims who stand up to bullies! Relatable yet quirky characters trying to make sense of relationship philosophy! And there's no guarantee, just because they've thrown off one set of shackles, that they won't fall prey to another set. Think of what stories could have been told with these guys. Indeed, had you suggested someone from that double-parter was going to come back in a big way, they would have been my first pick.

Anyway, digression aside...

Next up was Discord getting angry about Fluttershy being captured. Nothing amazing there, except that he apparently doesn't rate Twilight very highly. Odd, considering she's the pony who basically made his redemption stick and opened his eyes in Season Four.

Third was Discord falling into the multi-Fluttershy trap. In brief, that clip packed a pretty dark punch that was a true "I wish I could surgically remove this scene" moment. In a good way, I mean.

The last was basically the climax. That was all Chrysalis, because good grief! This is why I like delightfully twisted and sadistic villains in the first place. Everything from the creepy entrance to the constant air of menace to the excessive and horror-inspired design all combined to make an arrestingly dark performance.

The rest of the climax did its darnedest to make me think worse of her, but I'm happy to report it failed. It tried, though, with the speeches made by protagonist characters I didn't care about (a good villain needs a worthy opponent, after all), the uninteresting and unearned love-magic on display, the frankly astounding scene with the attempted reformation, and the even more frankly astounding lameness of Chrysalis exiting stage-left.********* But honestly, she's still a great villain who stole the spotlight with ease, so I've seen all I wanted to here.

********* Seriously, I burst out laughing at that final part of the clip.


Overall, ten good-to-great episodes out of twenty-six is not an impressive tally - I have a similar ratio for Season Three, though with a lot of caveats. I'm actually kind of alarmed, as Seasons Four and Five seemed to be doing so well that I figured Season Three's hit-and-miss nature was a one-off. This is the first time I've felt downright reluctant to watch an entire season (Season Three I at least followed to the end). Still plenty worth salvaging, though.

Here's hoping Season Seven rises higher.


Oh, and a Faulty Laptop

For a brief period in January, my laptop packed up on me and refused to load any web pages, despite the connection and all other applications working perfectly fine. It took twenty-four hours of trying this, that, and the other to get it working again, and then I had no clue what actually worked. To this day, I still have no idea what happened, and it does cut off occasionally. So in case you're wondering the next time I have an unusual gap, that's probably why.


Until next time, folks! Impossible Numbers, out!


Statistics

NEW: List of Fics Accepted by Equestria Daily

Funny thing is that Work and Play got accepted by Equestria Daily, but it didn't have the author label attached to it, so it didn't come up when I tried searching the first time. I didn't even know it had been posted until I got a conspicuous upsurge of views and pieced it together. Since I'm scatterbrained enough to forget this kind of detail, and since it could act as additional information to add to the statistics, I'll include a list of accepted fics here:

All of a Fluttershy

Cutie Mark Espionage Agency

Through the Eyes of the Hurricane

Rise of the Solar Wind

The King and the Changeling

Lapidify: To See and Die

Work and Play

I suspect standards have tightened over the years, because I get the impression the first two wouldn't make it past the pre-readers today. Still, I'm taking what I can get.

Sadly, Villainy Abroad isn't set to join the ranks. I got a response a few days ago, and it turns out my half-joking "laundry list of problems" crack wasn't half-joking. More specifically, the pre-reader said the story was likeable but had too many rough spots, an overuse of the passive voice, and some confusing POV switches. I mean, had it been the more usual list of spelling errors, minor confusions, or even "rewrite this section: needs punch", that'd be one thing, but a "lot of rough spots"? I'm not sure it can be improved without a major overhaul. And I was really looking forward to this one too...

I think it'll be a while before I submit something to them based on how much I like it. Heck, I think it'll be a while before I submit something, full stop.  I must have become way too complacent about this, but it's still a shame to see your pride and joy get declined.

New Stories?: Four. I'll probably go into more depth about them in a future blog, but right now I'm not in the required mood.

Friends of the Ponies

Her Song of Jubilation

Petalback

White Lightning and the Elite Pony

New Updates: Petalback received a new chapter recently. Can't tell when the next one will be ready, unfortunately.

Story Count: 42

My Total Story View Count: 36,764

Age: 1,893 days, or 270 weeks and 3 days

My Follower Count: 102. Boy howdy, did this one jump!

My Followed Count: 75

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  • Viewing 26 - 35 of 35
#35 · 5w, 5d ago · · ·

>>2399775

No worries. I'd been wondering about White Lightning's tag ever since it appeared on the list, and when I discovered she hadn't really garnered much fandom interest before now, I thought I'd fill a vacant niche and try my hand at a little characterization exercise. After all, the fandom's done more with less before now.

By the way, I'm part of a group dedicated to giving underused character tags some more attention: Time Action Glory Challenge. Whatever ideas you have for White Lightning or for anyone else, they could be realized during one of our prompt challenges, or they can be written any time at your leisure. It might be right up your alley, if you'd like to join in.

#34 · 5w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

I just saw your latest story, White Lightning and the Elite Pony, pop up somewhere in my feed.

Before I get around to reading it, I just want to say:

Someone finally posted a story using the White Lightning character tag! :yay:

Unfortunately, I couldn't really come up with any story ideas for her myself yet, but I've kinda been looking forward to seeing her tag used for a while now... :twilightsheepish:

#33 · 6w, 3d ago · · ·

New Benchmark: 100 Followers as of Friday 10th February 2017, yay! :yay:

Now get me another hundred. :ajsmug:

#32 · 9w, 6d ago · · ·

>>2380359

No worries. I found it through the Royal Canterlot Library. For a short fic, it packs some impressive psychological insight, social commentary, and atmosphere-building into a simple thousand words or so. Good stuff. :ajsmug:

#31 · 9w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Well, thank you for the following. I'm glad you liked A Good Filly:twilightsmile:

#30 · 12w, 3d ago · · ·

>>2368567 Ah, thank you so much. And happy holidays! :twilightsheepish:

#29 · 12w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>2368450

You're welcome. The Legend of the Gift Horses contained some fascinating ideas, and was an entertaining read. Thank you for writing it. :twilightsmile:

#28 · 12w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Ah, thank you for the favorite! ;3

#27 · 96w, 6d ago · · ·

>>1824911

:ajsmug: No worries. You earned it with The Flower's Dream.

#26 · 96w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Thanks for the watch! :pinkiehappy:

  • Viewing 26 - 35 of 35
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