MagnetBolt’s “The Doom that Came to Tambelon”


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Seeing why today’s story is great is child’s play.

The Doom that Came to Tambelon
[Adventure] [Comedy] • 4,397 words

Starlight Glimmer. Trixie Lulamoon. Tempest Shadow. Three ponies that are definitely really great with foals. But there’s no way they’ll mess this up, right? They just have to keep Flurry Heart out of trouble for one night — what could happen in a couple hours?

FROM THE CURATORS: It’s always a pleasure to find stories which can successfully fuse the best parts of classic MLP and the newest canon.  “Here we have Grogar, goat villain extraordinaire from the original G1 series, spiriting Flurry Heart away to his banished city of Tambelon while she’s being babysat by Starlight, Trixie, and Tempest,” AugieDog said in his nomination. “And it’s one of the ding-dang funniest stories I’ve read on the site in quite some time.”  That sentiment was echoed repeatedly as the story sailed to a rare unanimous approval.  “This is absolutely hysterical — never once afraid to take pot-shots at the characters, or have them snipe at each other,” Present Perfect said, while FanOfMostEverything quipped: “Oh, this glorious bit of madness. … Horrible people doing horrible things in the funniest way possible, only in this case, they’re wonderfully horrible in canon. The three heroines (for a given definition of the term) play off of each other and the obstacles they face fantastically, and I always love seeing a serious villain facing silly heroes.”

But regardless of its silliness, there was a core of authenticity in the humor that drew widespread praise.  “It’s humor that’s the opposite of character destruction — the kind where an author says, ‘Let’s take how these characters are in the show, tighten the focus, and dial that up just a bit’,” AugieDog said.  Soge agreed: “It is a really funny comedy executed with great flair, and a sense of how to stretch the characterization just enough to avoid concerns of them being out-of-character, yet making all their actions as fun as possible.”  And Horizon loved its touch with details: “MagnetBolt has a master’s eye for extracting hilarity from the little quirks of the show.  Starlight’s solution to entering Limbo is priceless, as is Trixie’s reaction when Grogar rings the bell.”

That eye for detail extended throughout.  “It is full of delightful passages, to the point I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite,” Soge said, while Present Perfect appreciated its callbacks: “The G1 building material was handled really well, crafting a legendary Tambelon that lives and writhes and all that other good stuff, and yet is in no way safe from being skewered.”  All in all, as Horizon said, its exemplary humor made this stand out even among the author’s other major works: “The Witch of the Everfree would have been my go-to for a MagnetBolt feature, but this was hilarious start to finish, to the point where I had to awkwardly explain to my boss why I was grinning at my desk.”

Read on for our author interview, in which MagnetBolt discusses all-star zones, insufficient explosions, and Bowie anatomy.
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OnionPie’s “What is Left”


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Today’s story is an addicting read.

What is Left
[Dark] [Sad] [Thriller] [Tragedy] • 24,301 words

Five years of cheap thrills in the big city have left Sweetie Belle in bad debt with dangerous ponies. Forced to pay up, she returns to Ponyville to seek money from an estranged sister she loathes with a passion.

FROM THE CURATORS: We’re all here because we appreciate the pastel friendship aesthetic of My Little Pony — but fanfic wanders considerably farther afield, and there’s also beauty sometimes in bleakness.  “This is dark and depressing in all the right ways — the closest point of comparison would be the tone of Fallout: Equestria – Project Horizons‘ darkest chapters, honestly,” Soge said in his nomination.  “Even when, halfway through the story, this fic leads you to believe things might be changing for the better, it shatters that illusion in three paragraphs in such an amazing way that I had to just step away from the story to process everything. It is a hard read, but very rewarding.”  Although all of us commented on that darkness, this earned a feature on the sheer power of its story, as Present Perfect said: “It won’t be for every reader, as the profanity, violence, drug use and general malaise of depression run severely counter to the show which inspired the piece. But this is gritty, troubling and devastating in all the right ways.”

The core of that was how we saw prose quality in every direction we turned.  “It helps that the writing is top-notch, atmospheric and evocative in a way that really drives home the despair of the situation, yet managing to contrast the reality of what is happening with well-placed touches of beauty,” Soge said, while Present Perfect was drawn deeply in: “it sure doesn’t hurt that the thriller aspect of the plot is gripping as anything; I accidentally read the whole story in one go because I couldn’t put it down.”  Even the elements we found controversial were handled thoughtfully.  “The profanity is actually well-used here, the drug-use stuff seems to me to be firmly on the fantasy side, and while I found the set-up to be a little slow, the gut-punch ending makes it worth it,” AugieDog said.

Characterization was another strong point.  “While both Rarity and Sweetie Belle are obviously very different than their show counterparts, there is a core of their characterization that is still present, and it helps drive home that this is something that could happen,” Soge said.  Present Perfect called them both “excellently flawed,” adding that “the villain is intimidating and memorable. The tragedy is palpable, and that atmospheric, evocative writing Soge refers to suffuses every last instant of the narrative.”  What sealed our feature was that this won over even curators turned off by darker material.  “I set a higher bar when it comes to dark Ponyfic,” AugieDog said.  “If a story wants to have cute ponies not being cute, well, then that story’s got to prove itself to me, and this story proves itself quite handily at every turn.”

Read on for our author interview, in which OnionPie discusses tragic beauty, culmination preparation, and sister hugs.
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AndrewRogue’s “The Destiny Trap”



Enjoying today’s story is in the cards.

The Destiny Trap
[Adventure] • 7,746 words

Returning from a trip to Manehattan, Trixie has a brand new magic trick that she’s all too eager to share with Starlight.

Unfortunately, when things don’t work quite as expected, Trixie and Starlight are forced to go on a journey across Equestria to find the pony that gave her the trick and make things right once more.

FROM THE CURATORS: We look far and wide for the best of MLP fanfiction, but sometimes great stories are right under our noses.  “As soon as I saw this nomination, I said to myself, ‘A great story, sure, but of course we’ve already featured AndrewRogue.  Haven’t we?’  Then I went and looked at our archive, and I can only say that my shock knew no bounds,” AugieDog said.  The reason why is readily apparent from the fic.  “It is a perfectly executed show-tone adventure story, exciting in all the right ways, with some amazing characterization for Trixie and Starlight, and a villain which works perfectly as a foil to both,” Soge said in his nomination, and it didn’t take us long to agree: “Even with the time it took me to re-read this, it’s going to go in our shortest-time-to-feature bin with a four-hour turnaround,” Horizon noted.

Our praise was wide-ranging, but one of the repeated comments was how gracefully the story extended the show.  “This has got everything that makes recent seasons great, wrapped up in a tidy package with a bow on top,” Horizon said.  “Which is to say, this is a Season 7 story with a Season 1 aesthetic, perfectly capturing the core friendship message of the show through a cast of redeemed villains who have learned those lessons the hard way.”  And that cast hit all the right notes.  “The character work for all three characters is solid, from Blackstone’s motivation to Trixie showing the true friend that lurks beneath her veneer of bluster and arrogance,” Present Perfect said.  “I even appreciated how well the street magic patter was worked into the narrative; that’s not something I’ve seen in prose before.”

That wasn’t the story’s only claim to novelty.  “Given how standard the ‘disappearing magic shop full of monkey’s paws’ setup is, I wasn’t expecting to be surprised, yet I got surprises in spades,” Present Perfect said, prompting Horizon to note: “Its Writeoff Association gold medal was a well-deserved win against tough competition.”  There was so much to appreciate here, as Soge said, that “how it works in a very well-crafted thematic element surrounding Starlight’s and Trixie’s redemption is only icing on the cake.”

Read on for our author interview, in which AndrewRogue discusses friendship mines, earthbound prompts, and Smackdown jams.
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New curator: FanOfMostEverything

Alas, not even the Library is immune to the passage of time.  While founding member Chris stuck with us through 4½ years of highs, lows and quality fanfiction, he has withdrawn from the project due to life circumstances significantly impacting his pony time.  He hopes to continue blogging at One Man’s Pony Ramblings as his schedule permits.

Fortunately, we have a new curator eminently worthy of filling his formidable horseshoes.  FanOfMostEverything has joined us, bringing a lengthy track record of acclaimed stories, vast reading habits, episode/comic encardenings, and general positivity.  His commentary will start showing up on features in the near future.  Welcome, FOME!

We’ve updated our About page with the personnel changes.  Including Soge’s bio, which was found in a corner inside a puddle of suspicious green goo.  Horizon denies everything.

Norm De Plume’s “As Horns and Halos Surround You”



Give in to the temptation of reading today’s story.

As Horns and Halos Surround You
[Slice of Life] • 4,809 words

Rarity’s little Temptation ends up on pins and needles. Literally.

With her shoulder-devil out of commission, other Temptations pop into her life to pick up the slack from their fallen sister.

FROM THE CURATORS: The recent “Make Rarity Not Garbage” contest produced quality stories up and down the line — such as this fun and imaginative romp, which finished outside the top three but caught our eyes with its creativity regardless.  “The big memorable thing here is obviously the concept,” Soge said in his nomination.  “It’s a fresh take on the idea of autonomous consciences, and one that feels distinctively pony — the kind of effortless worldbuilding that seemed to be more common during earlier seasons.”  Others agreed: “The concept is so wonderful, it pretty much bulldozes all other considerations to the side,” AugieDog said.  “What’s here is great fun, though, and the characters are spot on.”

A large part of that was the way the story used its premise to reflect on canon.  “I love how the little shoulder devils we meet reflect not only the characters but the Equestrian setting,” AugieDog said.  “Yes, Twilight’s Temptation keeps wanting her to make more use of her alicorn powers, but toward benevolent ends — or at least as benevolent as publishing academic papers can be — and Fluttershy’s is still celebrating the way Fluttershy stood up for herself during ‘Fame and Misfortune.'”  AugieDog wasn’t the only one appreciating the way this story looked from a fresh angle at the characters we know and love.  “It is a very comfy kind of fic, but with enough substance to it to keep me interested,” Soge said.  “It explores its theme admirably, and ends up making some really nice considerations about the Mane 6 and their lives.”  And Horizon had similar praise: “The side characters stole the show.  I laughed out loud at the fate of Twilight’s Temptation.”

That entertainment value was one of our most frequent compliments.  “This was fun!” Present Perfect said.  “And it taught me that stories where what’s metaphor for us is common reality for ponies are my favorite kind of ponyfic.”  So it was a bonus pleasure to find the story not just entertaining but educational.  “Googling the story’s subtitle taught me that little good and bad sprites like this are a part of the Islamic tradition,” AugieDog said.  “The things one learns from reading Ponyfic!”

Read on for our author interview, in which Norm De Plume discusses equine homecomings, Canadian musicians, and scimitar-flinging fairies.
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Mitch H’s “A Requiem For Lost Libraries”



Today’s tale has its roots in an unusual ghost story.

A Requiem For Lost Libraries
[Mystery] • 2,655 words

There is a ghost haunting the corridors of Ponyville’s newest dwelling, the princess’s Castle of Friendship. It is a ghost without voice, or hoof, or spectral limb to cast strange shadows upon crystalline walls.

But it’s not the ghost of a pony. It’s not a person at all.

FROM THE CURATORS: Seven seasons in, it’s a delight to find the fandom still delivering fresh takes on classic ideas — as this story does succinctly and elegantly.  “This examines an angle of #SaveTree that I’ve never before seen covered, and does something quietly lovely with it,” Horizon said in his nomination, and that spurred accolades like Present Perfect’s: “This was fantastic. It elevates the #savetree meme — the catch-all for the fandom’s ability to love even the background of this show, justifying that love and nostalgia for a tree whose story we never really knew.”

The unique angle of the core concept was only one element of our appreciation, though — several of us commented on the delicate touch with which the story balanced its ideas with canon.  “The big thing right felt like the way that this maintained a horror-like sense of tension while also resolving in a satisfying and entirely non-horrific way that felt squarely show-tone,” Horizon said, and Present Perfect had similar comments: “The larger-than-life ghost story aesthetic of the narrative fits the content and only serves the overall tone. I agree with Horizon, there’s something horrific, Twilight Zone-ish, to the final reveal, but it’s a good kind of horror. It fits the show well, save for covering a topic the show never will. I was duly impressed.”  The story’s gentle approach to not only death but the Equestrian approach to it also earned AugieDog’s appreciation: “I quite like how this story makes the pony afterlife an underground thing, too — if I might devolve in punnery — something that isn’t officially acknowledged but not really discouraged.”

We didn’t just appreciate the uniqueness of the story’s ideas, but also its narrative approach.  “I like the way that it slowly shifts tone from the abstract into the personal, and the way that the narrator gradually becomes part of the story,” Horizon said.  “I love the way that this manages to keep a sense of supernatural wonder and inexplicability, despite being set in a world that takes magic for granted.”  And that all added up to a package well worth our attention.  “The dreamlike aspect of the ‘ghost’ is both unsettling and fascinating, and I loved the suggestion of a pony afterlife rooted in nostalgia,” Soge said.  “This is memorable and very well written.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Mitch H discusses haunting hopes, boxcar loads, and peytral burdens.
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Redric Carrun’s “Sleeping Habits”



If you’re procrastinating on reading today’s story: You snooze, you lose.

Sleeping Habits
[Slice of Life] • 8,504 words

Rainbow Dash has rather a poor reputation when it comes to her workload. Everypony always thinks of her as the pony who takes three naps during daylight hours, and four on weekends, and always seems to be looking for something to do to pass the time. All of this is true, of course. But ponies seem to think this means that she must not ever get very much work done.

Can the weather captain for all of Ponyville really be as lazy as she seems? Is that the only explanation for Rainbow Dash’s free time and constant napping?

The weather is a full-time job. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And the worst weather happens at night.

So weather ponies have strange sleeping habits.

FROM THE CURATORS: We’ve read (and featured) stories with exotic approaches in a wide range of crossovers and AUs, which makes it all the more awesome to find a fic which can impress with nothing more than a low-key look at the day in the life of a weatherpony.  “This story might — as the chapter title says — cover just over twelve hours, but it packs a lot in,” AugieDog said, while Chris’ nomination focused on one of the elements we found immediately endearing: “By cracky, it’s just a pitch-perfect take on the classic ‘job that looks easy from the outside’. I can appreciate Dash and co.’s quiet exasperation over the Mayor making their jobs that extra bit harder for unrelated bureaucratic reasons, or their frustrated-yet-tolerant attitude towards the Apples’ ridiculous list of demands.”

A large part of our appreciation was the life that it breathed into that job.  “Every time it talks about weather, it’s fascinating,” Chris said, and Horizon agreed: “The loving detail the story gives to the weather work is a joy to read, both as stellar worldbuilding and as a way to round out the core characters’ lives.  And all this from a story about her naps. This fills in the gaps in canon so smoothly, you could drive an egg truck through at full speed.”  He wasn’t the only one commenting on the synergy with the show.  “One of the things that struck me while watching the first two episodes all those years ago was the way our heroines had jobs that they enjoyed and that they were good at,” AugieDog said.  “This story gets that aspect of Dash’s character absolutely right. At this point in her life, she has her sights set on becoming a Wonderbolt, sure, but she still has a job to do in Ponyville, and she’s going to do it as awesomely as she knows how.”

We also repeatedly commented on how the strong and memorable cast rounded out the story.  “Raindrops was a definite highlight; it’s rare to see friends or coworkers bantering like this, written so naturally,” Present Perfect said.  Chris appreciated the protagonist work: “It’s a nice character study of pre-show Dash, which shows and tells her mix of cockiness and insecurity without resorting to grand gestures.”  And Horizon liked them all.  “The character work is uniformly stellar,” he said.  “The dialogue is consistently excellent, and grounds Dash’s character nicely, as well as all the ponies around her.  That helps shines a light on Dash from an angle I’ve never quite seen, and does a fantastic job of illuminating her with it.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Redric Carrun discusses neglected Mario, recolor beginnings, and parental praise.
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JoeShogun’s “Nine Days Down”


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Today’s story is a hell of a tale.

Nine Days Down
[Dark] [Adventure] • 136,069 words

Sometimes it’s fun to play the damsel in distress. Princess Celestia knows this better than most. Usually it works out fine. Really, she could have escaped at any time, but Twilight and her friends have been so effective in the past that this time, Celestia may have let things get out of hoof. It was all fun and games until she got unceremoniously tossed into Tartarus. Even then, it wouldn’t have been so bad; she’s a goddess, after all. But alas, Tartarus is not Equestria, and Celestia is not all she could be when trapped there. Even worse, it appears that she didn’t get thrown into The Pit alone. 

Now, a mostly-mortal Celestia and her faithful student must traverse the wilds of Tartarus, the fabled prison of all the things that were deemed too monstrous, too disturbing, too outright dangerous for world they know. Surely an exit will present itself …

FROM THE CURATORS: Stories about the underworld have a lengthy pedigree — and if this one is any indication, it’s easy to see why.  “This is an emotional rollercoaster full of fascinating scenes and characters, and I’m glad Cold in Gardez put up a blogpost praising it,” Chris said in his nomination.  “I made it through the first chapter almost entirely on the strength of CiG’s recommendation. But man, once we get into Twilight’s head, the story really comes into its own. The author does wonderful things with a variety of folklores, and makes Tartarus a complicated, terrifying entity in its own right.”  AugieDog was equally impressed with the mythology: “Taking a bunch of the Greek and Roman ideas about Tartarus — heck, there’s even more than a little of Dante’s Inferno happening here — the author goes all out to fit the Equestria we know from the show into a larger and scarier cosmos that Celestia and Luna have done everything they can to keep at bay.”

It was more than the mythology which turned our heads, though.  “All the characters shine — I’ll even go out on a limb and say that this story contains the Warrior Luna to end all Warrior Lunas,” AugieDog said.  “And I’ll also make special mention of how well the author understands the essence of Twilight Sparkle. I mean, she not only has a perfect moment of epiphany at the story’s climax, but in the chapters following, because she is Twilight Sparkle, she starts rethinking and second-guessing everything about that epiphany.”  Soge, for his part, appreciated the way the story truly dug into those characters: “Even the most gratuitous of the fight scenes feel full of purpose, showing Twilight what being a Princess would entail in this reality, and the ethical imperatives of the decisions that seem to be forced on her. Of course, everything culminates in her epiphany, which is portrayed amazingly well.”

Overall, there was enough here to impress us that it even overcame some of our curators’ natural dislikes.  “If I’m recommending a fic with Twilestia stuff, that should tell you just how much the rest of the fic wowed me,” Chris said.  Soge summed it up: “Setting the Twilestia aside, this fic is a real treat, a tour-de-force of worldbuilding and characterization with an amazing, singular focus — a picture of a legacy which Twilight, as a Goddess, would inherit, and how she managed to embrace it in her own terms.”

Read on for our author interview, in which JoeShogun discusses planetary deities, piled princesses, and an hour of doubt.
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Kkat’s “Origin Story”



Explore today’s story to find a hidden treasure.

Origin Story
[Adventure] • 24,563 words

In the last months of the great war, Daring Do is called to once again brave the jungles of the Tenochtitlan Basin on a vital mission. While deep in enemy territory, she begins work on a final book: a prequel. A story that will never be completed.

Here are the recovered fragments of that lost, unfinished Daring Do novel.

FROM THE CURATORS: Digging through FIMFic’s classic tales sometimes turns up real gems, like this multi-layered 2015 story.  “This is the kind of Indiana Jones-ish, high-stakes, high-thrills adventure we should be seeing from Daring Do,” Present Perfect said in his nomination.  “That it’s got so much heart and so many excellent turns only makes it better.”  And just like its heroine, it pulled off an ambitious plan with flair.  “I’m a huge fan of how it leaps seamlessly back and forth between two narratives, three frameworks and three different writing styles without feeling disjointed,” Horizon said, “not to mention how the fragmentary Report 8 plays with the format to even greater effect.”

What we unearthed in our reading was a story that wielded its writing expertly from the details to the broad strokes. “The short, declarative sentences used during the fight in the torturer’s tent make the scene pop,” AugieDog said, while Present Perfect praised the characterization: “Its conception of Daring as a young archaeology student, learning hard lessons during her first world-saving adventure, is spot-on. A. K. Yearling’s appearance as a secondary character is brilliant.”  Chris, meanwhile, praised how it tackled both theme and pacing: “The way that the geopolitical situation at the time of Daring’s mission adds bite to her observations about ponydom’s sense of cultural superiority makes this enjoyable writing, and the swashbuckling mix of action, sudden twists, and general pulpiness make the story entertaining on its own merits.”

We did debate the story’s general accessibility, given the outside framing story’s explicit reliance on Fallout: Equestria.  “That’s the one thing I’ll disagree with Present Perfect about — I think that not having any familiarity with that universe would have a negative impact on one’s reading experience,” Chris said.  But the vote that sent this to a feature came from Horizon, who hadn’t read that series: “I certainly feel like there was outside context I was missing, but after adjusting to the cold start in the first chapter or two, the story did an exemplary job of holding together on its own merits.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Kkat discusses dot connecting, villain reforming, and triple framing.
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DwarvishPony’s “Tracks in the Sand”


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Today’s story examines a young woman hoping that someday her prints will come.

Tracks in the Sand
[Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 9,590 words

Scavenging isn’t just a hobby, it’s a means of survival in the ruins of the old world. When you go scavenging, though, you’ll never know what you’ll find.

Pinkie Pie is about to find more than she bargained for.

FROM THE CURATORS: Like all good AU fics, this stood out with a combination of the comfortable and the unusual.  “I love the setting here — the sandy ruins are practically a character, they’re described so well — and Pinkie, while being very much the character we’ve come to know over the past few years, is also someone who’s lived her life on the fringes of a society that’s barely hanging on to the concept of civilization,” AugieDog said in his nomination.  And while those two elements accumulated most of our praise, Present Perfect found even more to like.  “This has the two things you need to really get me into a story: a post-apocalyptic wasteland and friendship,” he said. “Girls kissing each other doesn’t hurt. Neither does an unreliable narrator.”

But there was a great deal of emotional depth to the story, as well.  “As the depths of Pinkie’s loneliness and delusions come to light, I was struck by the tragedy,” Present Perfect said, and Chris agreed: “I really enjoyed the tragedy here; Pinkie’s seeing the world she wants to see, and yet, her world is so terrible that the best she can summon up is ‘everything’s still awful, but at least I have a friend, sorta.’ Her delusions are a macrocosm of Gummy: a grand idea, but feeble and helpless underneath that.”

And it was that fine balancing act between the bleakness of the world and the authenticity of the protagonist that solidified our appreciation of the story.  “Everything about the story was showing us how much Pinkie needs companionship, how much she needs hope in this world that’s utterly inimical to her personality … and then, twice, taking it away from her,” Chris said.  And that worked both ways, Soge said: “I enjoyed Pinkie’s characterization.  You get the sense she’s a stone’s throw away from a breakdown, which helps sell the post-apocalyptic setting.”

Read on for our author interview, in which DwarvishPony discusses space creation, compensatory delusions, and Hobbit mounts.
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