Occasionally, exemplary stories earn our approval for a feature — but the author opts out of our interview, or we’re unable to complete the interview process despite repeated effort. We’d like to see these great stories get their time in the spotlight too, so today we’re presenting a pair of RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.
Conversations with Eternity
[Adventure] [Alternate Universe] • 6,078 words
Far off to the west of Equestria lay The Eternal Lands, an immense expanse of desert that holds at its heart a precious jewel: the city of Gallopfree, sprung up around a peculiar bit of water known as the Well of Eternity.
Prodded by a little whimsical intuition, Princess Luna finds herself walking those winding streets of her ancient past, and holding conference with the enigmatic Steward of the Well…
FROM THE CURATORS: Some premises — such as modern Luna coming to grips with her past — have been covered so thoroughly that it’s difficult to make a story about them stand out. This, however, turned our heads with its rich and rewarding details. “The prose is marvelous, dense yet economical,” Present Perfect said. “The actual conversation, pep talk if you will, is fantastic, putting this leaps and bounds ahead of numerous other ‘Luna dealing with having been Nightmare Moon’ stories.” Former curator Chris’ nomination lauded the care which went into its construction: “The fic shows us her emotional reactions, leaving us to place their sources for ourselves. A quick, inattentive reading here might result in the reader thinking Luna’s actions are abrupt and unbelievable, but in fact those actions are hints that paint a much larger picture of both her, and the world at large.” It quickly qualified for a feature amid reactions like AugieDog’s: “It’s always nice to see visions of Celestia and Luna’s lives before they came to Equestria, and this one’s very nicely realized.”
It wasn’t just the character work singled out for praise. “Sunchaser does a commendable job with the setting, too,” Chris said, prompting Present Perfect to agree: “Gallopfree is rendered in full detail, not just in terms of imagery, but also history.” And the themes added a great deal of power, too: “I quite like the idea that breaking just allows for a stronger reassembly,” AugieDog said. “It give the last line all kinds of weight.”
Chuckling Over My Cheery-O’s
[Comedy] • 4,419 words
Pinkie Pie’s simple morning ritual threatens to shatter her very perception of reality, life, and choice in breakfast cereal.
FROM THE CURATORS: It’s very rare for love-it-or-hate-it stories to make it through our voting process — so when they do, it’s a sign that they get the most crucial things right. “This story contains everything anyone could ever want from a ‘Pinkie has an existential crisis’ fic and even more,” AugieDog said in his nomination. “Unlike any other Pinkie Angst story I can think of, this one pulls other ponies into the miasma, and seeing Rainbow Dash succumb to the atmosphere of uncertain dread that Pinkie is exuding is a pleasure in and of itself.” The entire cast was repeatedly complimented: “Something about the characters kind of hearkens back to the ‘good old days’ of the early seasons for me,” RBDash47 said, while FanOfMostEverything quipped: “It’s delightful seeing Pinkie spiral deep into her own navel, or possibly the aftertaste-ridden grainy ring of a Cheery-o … there’s excellent use of every character involved, and a great way to come up for breath at the end.”
What divided us was the contrast between tone and content. “It is incredibly overwritten, to the point of being distracting,” Soge said, spurring several spirited defenses such as Horizon’s: “To me that artificial melodrama enhances the absurdity, giving it the edge it needs to be genuinely funny.” RBDash47 agreed: “A couple lines, like ‘Tears blossomed along her cheeks. “It’s only as evil as we are,” she whispered’, made me laugh out loud.” In the end, it was that comedy which put it over the top: “This was a great little romp,” Horizon said, “too over-the-top to take seriously and yet too serious to feel unmoored.”
[Note: Present Perfect recused himself from nomination and voting for this story.]