Czar_Yoshi’s “Stay Determined”

Tags

, , ,

(Note: We’re looking to re-feature three of our spotlighted authors, in order to offer them spotlights on stories more representative of their writing!  Our “Correct the Record” contest runs through Sunday, April 23.  Weigh in with your votes and nominations on our FIMFiction thread.  For a “ballot” with a compiled list of nominations and voting links, check this spreadsheet.)


The quality of today’s story is exemplary because today’s story is of exemplary quality because the quality of today’s story …

Stay Determined
[Alternate Universe] [Dark] [Sad] • 15,000 words

My name is Starlight Glimmer, and I hate bad endings. It isn’t fair when some ponies win and others lose, purely by chance. If I had my way, every pony would be equal. Every pony would win. After all, the only other fair thing would be for us all to have a bad ending, and who would want that? This colorless world is bad enough already as it is.

So far, my record is flawless. Never once have I prematurely ended someone’s story, never once have I hurt someone more than they can bear. And every time I spare a life, make a new friend? I get stronger for it. Eventually, I’ll be so strong I can fix the entire world.

No matter what the world throws my way, I’m never going to give up.

FROM THE CURATORS: This unusual time-loop story was a medalist in FanOfMostEverything’s recent “Imposing Sovereigns” contest, so it was initially puzzling that the contest results post was so vague about its strengths … at least until we read it.  “I can see why they had to hew and haw so much about what to say without spoilers,” Horizon said in his nomination.  “The joy of this story is sitting back as you’re reading it, or after you’re done, and blinking as piece after piece falls together in your mind. The moment when this graduated from interesting read to nomination was when I looked at the impossibly bleak and somewhat overwrought Alternate Universe that the story had warned me about in its tags — and then realized exactly how seamlessly it linked to canon, on multiple levels, including some lovely and subtle statements about changelings.”  And while those links became a subject of hot debate, we found there was plenty to enjoy regardless: “I didn’t catch the changeling angle at all, so I’m going to upvote in a fit of bewilderment,” Present Perfect said.

Among the (non-spoilery) exemplary qualities on display was the way it built up its central theme.  “A little something like Starlight wondering for a moment where Twilight and the rest have gone would’ve been nice, but the still, gray air of self-contained isolation that permeates the piece is another thing that really grabbed me,” AugieDog said.  And that went along with multiple levels of careful construction.  “I could wish for tighter writing — but it weaves a story that’s entirely and perfectly and elegantly self-contained, and when you step out of the story you realize there’s also a greater elegance at play,” Horizon said.

It was that careful alignment of the story’s elements that let us glimpse the story’s true strengths.  “The two Starlights we see are mirror images of each other, and the whole story is set up like two mirrors facing each other, infinitely reflecting themselves off into a fathomless distance,” AugieDog said.  “I kept thinking of the line from near the end of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead where, with the nooses around their necks, one turns to the other and says something like, ‘Next time, we’ll remember.'”  And that was made even more impressive by the dark-horse quality of the contest placing.  “This is a little gem of a story from an author with three stories and a dozen followers,” Horizon said.  “I love the fact that contests can bring this sort of overlooked talent to our attention.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Czar_Yoshi discusses flag-raising, Undertale perfectionism, and the wearing of multiple ties.
Continue reading

Super Trampoline’s “Feeling That Way”

Tags

, , , ,

(Note: We’re looking to re-feature three of our spotlighted authors, in order to offer them spotlights on stories more representative of their writing!  Our “Correct the Record” contest runs through Sunday, April 23.  Weigh in with your votes and nominations on our FIMFiction thread.  For a “ballot” with a compiled list of nominations and voting links, check this spreadsheet.)


Today’s story brings home the consequences of war.

Feeling That Way
[2nd Person] [Drama] [Slice of Life] [Tragedy] • 1,020 words

You’re drenched in sweat and ennui. She’s fighting the enemy, and you’re fighting depression. Stuck forever in a nowhere town, you try to rise above inertia, but you only end up feeling useless. You’re always feeling that way.

FROM THE CURATORS: When stories tackle challenging topics and perspectives, it’s all the more impressive when they stick the landing.  “While war fics are often a hard sell, this one works by recognizing that,” Present Perfect said in Feeling This Way’s nomination.  “The threat is nebulous and frightening, and since the idea of war doesn’t fit into pony society, the recognition of that makes this feel like a distinctly pony piece.”  And he wasn’t the only one impressed.  “This is certainly a great story, capable of imparting powerful emotion in so few words, subtle in its details, and yet very direct in its approach,” Soge said.  “It walks that fine line between melodrama and genuine emotion splendidly.”

But this story’s main claim to fame is more unusual: This is the RCL’s first feature with the Second Person tag.  “The use of second person strikes a very tight balance,” Present Perfect said.  “Third person would have been too distant for the emotions to hit home, while a first-person narrator likely would have been too familiar, spending time contemplating what certain emotions mean. Instead, we’re fitted into this pony’s life in no uncertain terms right at the start, and get to live out the story through his eyes.”  AugieDog agreed: “For me, the 2nd person works in the sense of the character talking out loud to himself, and I found it quite effective given the dry and dusty sense of madness lurking around the edges.”  And even the dissenters, like Horizon, were impressed with the power of the story. “I’m not as sold as PP on the benefit of the second person here, but that’s not the draw,” he said.  “The big thing right is the effective and efficient storytelling that is packed into the story’s thousand words.”

That quality of writing was apparent both in the large and small.  “I love how it manages to paint a history so rich in details without actually being explicit about any of them,” Soge said, while it was its thematic solidity which impressed Horizon: “All of the beauty is abstract and environmental to contrast with the personal doubt and pain, nicely reinforcing the main theme. The wham line at the end of the mine-tailings discussion is delivered basically perfectly, and adds a sense of layered tragedy.” The overall effect, as AugieDog said, was a hard-hitting short story: “This is very much about being frozen in place, but it still manages to present the reader with an entire world and a couple of characters who have to live in that world.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Super Trampoline discusses olines, happy horse noises, and strap-on horns.
Continue reading

Kris Overstreet’s “An Orderly Transfer of Power”

Tags

, ,

(Note: We’re looking to re-feature three of our spotlighted authors!  Our “Correct the Record” contest runs through Sunday, April 23.  Weigh in with your votes and nominations on our FIMFiction thread.)


Today’s story will oh-so-politely take over your funny bone.

An Orderly Transfer of Power
[Comedy] [Random] • 8,892 words

Straight from the Canterlot archives, this collection of documents retells the rise and fall of Princess Twilight Sparkle, Enlightened Despot of Equestria, Defender of the Peace, Lawgiver, and Commander of Fort Libris.

Twilight Sparkle is, of course, known to historians as the first usurper to seek to schedule a coup d’etat by appointment. But for other details- such as, “What is the longest recorded time a pony has gone without sleep?”, “Is it true what they say about swans?”, and, “Why is there an owlbear in the Equestrian Witness Protection Program?”- these documents provide the answers and much, much more.

This is ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS HISTORY from primary sources. If anything makes you think this is silly, ludicrous, or unbelievable, blame Discord.

FROM THE CURATORS: It’s a testament to the quality of the entries in FanOfMostEverything’s recent “Imposing Sovereigns” contest that a story as consistently excellent as this one could walk away without a medal.  “This is start-to-finish hilarious,” Horizon said.  “It would have been good just with the core joke of Twilight Sparkle wanting to schedule a coup, but it takes that premise, starts sprinting with it, and doesn’t slow down for 9,000 words.”  In his nomination, AugieDog said much the same: “This hits every humorous note of its premise spot-on, from Official Historian Moondancer’s side note to Discord at the beginning to Twilight’s final two-word message.”  Present Perfect’s praise was even more glowing: “This is marvelous right from the get-go, a masterpiece of in-universe writing and bureaucratic comedy rivalling the originator of the genre.”

What was even more remarkable, we agreed, was that this story “maintains its tight comedic pace while sticking strictly to the epistolary style,” as Horizon put it.  “The letters that tell the tale are well-chosen, and the story it tells is rich and robust.”  Present Perfect appreciated the story’s diversity: “The breadth of document types keeps things both fresh and realistic.”  And Chris approved of the story’s careful balancing act.  “The choice of which documents to show strikes a great balance between overly specific and too unfocused, giving the reader plenty to chortle over without bogging down under the weight of its own epistolism,” he said.

That this could entertain us so greatly despite the ways in which it distorted canon was the cherry on top.  “You do have to accept a certain amount of Trollestia as the price of entry … but the author then uses that premise in a variety of wonderfully funny ways,” Chris said.  That was ultimately what won Present Perfect over: “Though I’m usually a stickler for Twilight and Celestia’s relationship,” he said, “the ridiculous way Twilight goes about staging a coup helps ground her actions in her character, and it’s certainly not as hard to swallow Twilight getting fed up with taking Celestia’s crap.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Kris Overstreet discusses thermonuclear cherries, token rednecks, and discovering empathy for Rarity.
Continue reading

MrNumbers’ “The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon”

Tags

, , , ,

When it comes to romance, today’s story aims high.

The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon
[Alternate Universe] [Romance] [Sci-Fi] [Slice of Life] • 150,923 words

In a world of brass and steam, Twilight Sparkle had thought she had made a life-changing discovery with the invention of the telescope. For better or worse, she was correct.

Now her discovery has not only changed her life, but the lives of those she seeks out in her desperate attempt to contact the only other creature as lonely as Twilight herself.

It all would have been much simpler, but it had to be the one Twilight could only call The Mare on the Moon.

Decidedly not within walking distance, then.

FROM THE CURATORS: Part of the problem in featuring longfics is that we have to wait for them to be completed — but in cases like this, the payoff is worth the wait.  “I’ve been salivating over the prospect of being able to nominate this for months,” Horizon said.  “It’s almost outrageously fun.”  As it sailed through our voting process, it accumulated further superlatives — AugieDog’s among them: “In a few places the plot machinery creaks a bit too loudly, so I can only call the story really, really, really good instead of mind-bogglingly excellent.”

In a way, there was almost too much to like about this fic.  “It is, in fact, two stories, in tone and style; the first is a steampunk slice-of-life about Twilight meeting the girls and falling in love with an idea, while the second is a rollicking intrigue/adventure tale of plots, counterplots, lust, and occasionally massive explosions,” Chris said.  “But although there’s a fair bit of awkwardness to the way those two things are put together, the piece as a whole remains a rewarding reading experience.”  Horizon appreciated it all: “Even though its central romance had me cheering, the real highlight here is the inventors’ tense struggle against both physics and government attention.”  And AugieDog praised the sharp writing throughout both halves: “The narrative voice has just the right mix of snark, seriousness, and ‘sense of wonder’ to carry the piece through the emotional — and literal — roller-coaster of the storyline.”

We all agreed that among the highlights was the story’s treatment of its dynamic and memorable cast.  “The characters are all unmistakably themselves, but they’ve been bent in a number of interesting ways by the world the author has conjured up,” AugieDog said. “That world is the star of the show, especially since — for all the setting’s enormous differences — it all hinges, as a proper AU should, around one simple change to the canon chronology.”  Chris agreed:  “Seeing how the setting has changed the characters is a source of continuous interest.  This story builds them up, bit by bit, slowly revealing layers to each of their personalities, in an organic manner which mirrors Twilight’s own learning about them.”  And, as Horizon noted, it does that without losing sight of its essential poniness: “The story walks the tightrope over the chasm of grim Tyrantlestia without ever straying from a world where friendship is an active, driving and redemptive force.”

Read on for our author interview, in which MrNumbers (and several guest footnoters!) discuss ugly oil-lamp beauty, copyright-compliant weapons, and grand theft bat.
Continue reading

McPoodle’s “The Perfect Little Village of Ponyville”

Tags

, , , ,

Open your eyes, and you’ll find that today’s story is quite a sight.

The Perfect Little Village of Ponyville
[Adventure] [Alternate Universe] [Comedy] [Drama] • 35,747 words

Vinyl Scratch wakes up to find herself the personal student of Princess Celestia, sent to the obscure village of Ponyville to oversee preparations for the millennial Summer Sun Celebration.

Vinyl can only imagine two possible explanations for what has happened: she has tumbled into an alternate universe where she’s Twilight Sparkle, or, after everypony telling her she’d do it eventually, she’s finally gone and lost her mind.

FROM THE CURATORS: Six seasons in, it can be interesting to return to some of the fandom’s earliest tales — and occasionally, quite rewarding as well.  “I’ve got some metafiction for y’all, from all the way back in the dimly remembered time of 2012,” Chris said in his nomination.  “Don’t be fooled by its age, though: this fic still holds its own, five years later.”  And, indeed, we found the quality of this fic leaping right off the page at us.  “The narrative voice just drew me right in as did the simple, sweet writing,” AugieDog said.  “I dislike the phrase ‘a facility of language’ because it’s so pretentious, but that’s exactly what I found myself thinking it demonstrated about halfway through chapter one.”

The main element drawing our praise, however, was the unusual way this gambled with its structure — and the rich way that gamble paid off.  “This is a fic which you have to give the benefit of the doubt, but I found that my tentative acceptance was repaid in spades,” Chris said.  “For example, there is in fact a reason why the narrator occasionally interjects to comment on the narrative structure.”  AugieDog agreed, with a musical twist: “Appropriately enough for something with so much music in it, this is a perfect example of what I’ve always thought of as ‘con brio’ storytelling,” he said.  “Right from the first dozen paragraphs, the author leaps off the narrative cliff while saying, ‘Leap off with me, and it’ll be well worth your time.'”  And Horizon appreciated the way it put those choices to deeper use: “It makes no apologies or excuses for its structural oddity, and not only manages to back-justify it, but also manages to use that unique narrative format to unroll character and plot.”

Add that to the richness of detail, and we found this an easy winner.  “All the flourishes around the edges really make it shine,” Chris said.  “The musical theme of the world (matching Vinyl’s interests) is just the most obvious and the one I’m best acquainted with, and it’s so well-formed.”  That those details were integrated so neatly into the story was the icing on the cake.  “We’re treated to a smorgasbord of cool headcanon that largely has retained its luster six seasons later,” Horizon said.  “I liked, for example, the explanation for Luna’s mane, and the addressing scheme for dragonfire letters — all the more so since that seemingly inconsequential detail smoothly shifts into a major plot point.”

Read on for our author interview, in which McPoodle discusses pessimistic inventresses, confounding satires, and repairing the perfect movie.
Continue reading

Word Worthy’s “In Amber Clad”

Tags

, ,

Wrap yourself in today’s story for an unusual take on a princess’ tale.

In Amber Clad
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 1,484 words

Forged in fires of magic and charcoal. Worn with pride, damaged in battle after battle in times when ponies were no strangers to war. Repaired again and again. A regal mare’s suit of armour tells a small but significant part of her story.

FROM THE CURATORS: We’re always on the lookout for exemplars of the wide range of stories that can be told through fanfiction — which put this unusual examination of Princess Luna’s rise, fall, and rehabilitation right in our sweet spot.  “This is a nice historical piece, giving us a first-hand view of Equestria’s lengthy litany of conflicts, great and small, and it’s all told by Luna’s armor,” Present Perfect said.  “An interesting concept, and probably the thing that really makes this shine, no pun intended.”  He wasn’t the only one to note the piece’s ambitious scope.  “This walks the reader admirably from a pre-Equestrian time all the way to show (and comic) canon,” Soge said.

Much of our debate on the story, oddly, centered on the story not feeling unusual enough.  “This is less ‘what would a set of armour think/feel/believe’ and more ‘a well-known story told from a different angle’,” Chris said.  “Still, this story does combine a ‘faithful servant’ theme with the general plot of Luna’s ascension/fall/redemption.”  Soge was among the dissenters: “While the voicing of the armor isn’t particularly unique, I’d argue that the things it chooses to focus on are.” And Horizon found that compromise a strength: “It manages to make a potentially gimmicky story feel comfortable and plausible,” Horizon said. “And while it felt like a triumph of idea over execution, the prose didn’t get in the way of the idea.”

What tipped the story over the top were the little touches of worldbuilding that showed us MLP’s cast from a different angle.  “I also like the characterization provided through little touches like Luna’s reasoning for the armor’s form — which economically tells us a lot both about the narrator and the princess,” Horizon said.  Present Perfect agreed: “The armor even gets a little characterization when it encounters the armor Luna wears as Nightmare Moon,” he said.  “If anything about this story sticks with me, it’s that scene.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Word Worthy discusses diplomatic rifts, inside-out hats, and X-Files research notes.
Continue reading

TooShyShy’s “Let Her In”

Tags

, ,

Today’s story just wants a chance to get lodged inside your brain.

Let Her In
[Dark] [Horror] • 2,675 words

Night One
“Why is she standing out there? What does she want?”
Night Two
“There’s something off about her….”
Night Three
“That’s not Fluttershy…”

FROM THE CURATORS: One of the benefits of fanfiction is seeing how familiar ponies can end up in wildly different settings — and the fresh takes that those combinations can give us.  “You’ve got Fluttershy used well as a horror device, Apple Bloom as our beleaguered protagonist, and a very thrilling catchphrase in ‘It’s cold out here’,” Present Perfect said in his nomination, and there was quick agreement on how effective this story was at its chosen genre.  “This does the most important thing a horror story can do: be creepy,” Chris said, while AugieDog cited several other accomplishments. “There’s a lot here to like,” he said. “The atmosphere, Apple Bloom’s dawning awareness that this thing’s been stalking her for years, and the way almost the only line spoken aloud in the whole piece is the monster’s repeated refrain.”

Those weren’t the only factors which went into the horror’s core creepiness.  “The excellent audio reading certainly helped, but there is much more than that at play here: Apple Bloom’s fears felt visceral, as she vacillates between reacting to her terror with flight or fight,” Soge said.  “There is this constant atmosphere of irreality to the fic, as you are forced to guess just what is in her mind, and what isn’t. That this stands even after the creature is defeated is really to the fic’s advantage.”  Present Perfect also noted the strength of the ending despite its unusual reveal.  “The one thing it does wrong is showing the monster near the end,” he said.  “That said, the scene comes with some much-needed vindication for Apple Bloom, and the epilogue’s final line is just about perfect.”

While several of us questioned the choice of that reveal, there were ample other scenes where this was stronger for its unusual choices.  “The fact that the creature is seemingly able to invade Apple Bloom’s home — her sanctuary — but chooses not to,” Chris said, “gives the story a more fearful ‘unknown’ aspect than the more traditional trope of ‘the sanctuary is inviolate, save by the failure of the protagonist.'”  And Soge noted one way that it might be an entirely different sort of horror: “I’ll also point out that, despite everything that happens, the monster doesn’t actually do anything against anyone. There’s an interesting interpretation of this fic where Apple Bloom and AJ lashed out at the creature out of irrational fear … not that I think that that was what the story was about, but I think it’s in the story’s favor that such a thing can even be considered.”

Read on for our author interview, in which TooShyShy discusses snoring dogs, basement grandmothers, and purges of pre-teens.
Continue reading

KingMoriarty’s “This Isn’t War”

Tags

, ,

Old soldiers never die, they just feature in today’s story.

this-isnt-warThis Isn’t War
[Alternate Universe] [Slice of Life] • 1,548 words

Rainbow Dash was the Iron Wing. She was a war hero, the Slayer of Shadows, the Liberator of the Crystal Empire, the Wrath of Celestia. And depending on who you ask, she still is.

But the war is over. There’s little need for a pony like her in peacetime. So she keeps telling herself that she needs to adjust, that she needs to find a new role to fill in the world that she saved. But Equestria seems content to let her remain what she has become, even though they have no need of a warrior.

“This isn’t how it’s supposed to be”, is something she keeps telling herself. But every time she says it, the only thing she can reply is, “so what should it be?”

One whole year after the close of the war, and Rainbow Dash still doesn’t have the answer.

FROM THE CURATORS: When the Season 5 finale offered us glimpses of its broken Equestrias, it spurred quite a bit of compelling writing from the fandom — including this fic.  “This is a short, punchy piece about the Rainbow Dash from the King Sombra timeline dealing with life after the war’s over,” Present Perfect said in his nomination, and we found a lot to appreciate in its short length.  “I very much liked the voice here, both the way that echoes of the Rainbow Dash we know keep bubbling up throughout and the way that she’s such an unreliable narrator,” AugieDog said.  “It gave me the impression of a character trying to express her feelings without really knowing how to do it.”

Another element singled out for praise was its treatment of its core concept.  “It’s a war story which is respectful of its topic,” Chris said, “which neither glorifies brutality nor sinks to edgy posturing nor resorts to cheap melodrama to try and hammer home the psychological toll.” Other curators agreed.  “I’m not really qualified to evaluate this piece in terms of what war veterans have to deal with, but as a somber look at post-war trauma and readjustment to civilian life, it’s believable and powerful,” Present Perfect said.  And Chris seconded the story’s believability: “I know two friends, at least, for whom Dash’s financial arc is basically accurate.”

Interestingly, while we found this an effective tale, we disagreed on what part of the story contributed most to its strength.  “I was entirely sold on this story for most of its (short) length, but I don’t care for the ending,” Chris said, and Horizon disagreed: “I thought that the ending was the best part of this, grounding the story firmly in the Rainbow Dash we know to emphasize the contrast in her character.”  And while AugieDog found the ending a matter of interpretation, he ultimately praised it: “The more upbeat interpretation of the ending — which I’ll take every time, thank you very much — gives her a full character arc and sends her sailing on into a brighter future.”

Read on for our author interview, in which KingMoriarty discusses societal breadcrumbs, dragon dismemberment, and pre-holiday hydration.
Continue reading

LiterarySerenity’s “The Legend of the Gift Horses”

Tags

,

Today’s story might just contain an element of truth.

gift-horsesThe Legend of the Gift Horses
[Random] • 2,056 words

If you have ever wondered how the saying “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” came to be, please venture inside and learn one fairytale version of this tale.

FROM THE CURATORS: There are many elements that go into an enjoyable fairy tale, and we found that this one fired on all cylinders — from voice and structure to character and ideas.  “This is a fantastic in-universe tale, one that almost seems to delight in its own telling,” Present Perfect said.  “I actually got a thrill when Wish was saved, and I adore that Starswirl takes on certain mythic proportions of his own.”  AugieDog also enjoyed it all.  “Fun and well told,” he said.  “My only quibble is that the story ends too soon.  I wanted it all to keep going and going. That for me is the sign of a story really getting its hooks into me.”

Others found the story growing on them as it developed.  “This starts out looking like a well-constructed but slightly stock fairytale,” Chris said, “but in the aftermath of the battle (near the halfway point in the story), it suddenly becomes much more creative than I was giving it credit for.”  Horizon agreed: “This goes places I wasn’t expecting, and I have to give it props for its fusion of its two core mythological components.”  Chris further commented on the tale’s balancing act: “It deftly straddles the line between using well-known imagery and relying on cliches.”

All told, those elements added up to more than just the titular fable.  “I found myself appreciating this both as a piece of storytelling, and as story in its own right,” Chris said, and Present Perfect agreed: “This is easy to approach on its dual merits.”

Read on for our author interview, in which LiterarySerenity discusses coyote similarities, parental bookshelves, and world-hopping Merlins.
Continue reading

Majin Syeekoh’s “Solving for Death”

Tags

, , ,

The quality of today’s story will hit you right between the eyes.

solving-for-deathSolving for Death
[Alternate Universe] [Comedy] [Dark] • 3,024 words

In a miscommunication gone awry, Starlight Glimmer has killed Twilight Sparkle with a fork.

Luckily for Twilight, Starlight’s already acquired a resumé in doing the impossible.

She’s totally got this.

FROM THE CURATORS: While the premise and the [Comedy] tag might suggest that this is a gimmicky crackfic, there’s a lot more than that going on.  “This is a dark, dark comedy with a throbbing red heart of sincerity right at its core, and it’s that juxtaposition that makes the story for me,” AugieDog said in his nomination.  Soge agreed: “From its fairly absurd premise, it builds into a genuinely funny dark comedy, but without sacrificing its heart or forgetting about characterization.”  And Present Perfect pointed out that “it’s got enough polish to make it more accessible to people who aren’t as big on weird-idea fics.”

One of the elements drawing praise was the narrative voice.  “The writing style was worthy of note, with an off-kilter charm that really helped the tone of the story,” Soge said.  That also won Horizon over: “The subtle humor of the narration seems like an odd choice for a comedy,” he said, “but then it turns a corner into drama without shifting textual gears, and that slower pace seems brilliant in hindsight.”  Meanwhile, Present Perfect enjoyed the prose.  “There’s a real freewheeling spirit to the language here, with lines like ‘Twilight remained combatively dead’,” Present Perfect said.  “And the relish fork is an amazing running gag.”

But the core strength here was the way it managed to reconcile some wildly different elements.  “Glimmer’s blase-ness, Celestia using Twilight’s death to teach a friendship lesson, and Spike being the only sane dragon are all fantastically played off against one another, and the result is that the story’s various comic elements all enhance and reinforce each other,” Chris said.  AugieDog summed it up: “It’s a tightwire act of a story, and watching the author pull it off just left me grinning.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Majin Syeekoh discusses tensile linguistics, quintuple Zs, and automobile muses.
Continue reading