Our recent “Correct the Record” contest asked readers to help us choose authors whose previously spotlighted stories weren’t the best showcase of their writing strengths. Today, we’re offering a double feature with two of our three contest winners!
Evil is Easy, Governing is Harder
[Adventure] [Comedy] • 18,246 words
One day, just like that, Celestia decides she’s going to go mad with power.
FROM THE CURATORS: The need to correct the record here ran deeper than Aragón being best known for his comedies. “His current featured story was written in the style of another author,” MrNumbers said in the story’s nomination. “This one, though, is some of the tightest comedic construction I’ve ever seen, in a style I don’t think any other author on the site could pull off.”
Not only did voters agree, but Evil is Easy also accumulated superlatives both from FanOfMostEverything’s “Imposing Sovereigns” contest (where it soared to an easy first-place win) and from our curators. “This is Aragon at his best, and it’s a must-read,” Present Perfect said. The reason was simple. “It’s ding-dang funny,” AugieDog said, and Horizon agreed: “Fires on all cylinders. It’s Pratchett-level wizardry to keep an 18,000-word story so unwaveringly fast-paced and hilarious.”
And there was consistent depth here beyond the hilarity. “I was extremely impressed by how Aragon managed to weave dozens of different running jokes into a coherent, and even surprisingly poignant plot,” Soge said. “It is complete insanity from start to end, but there is a method to the madness.” Present Perfect echoed that sentiment: “The ponies in this story aren’t so much out of character as they are infected with a type of blithe insanity, to which only Daring Do is immune, the poor dear.”
Spring is Dumb
[Comedy] [Romance] • 9,255 words
Rainbow Dash knows one thing for sure, she is definitely not a barbarous, uncivilized dolt who doesn’t know polite conversation from a hippopotamus’s rear end. And also that she’s definitely not the one who’s wrong. Rarity is wrong. Rainbow Dash is absolutely, totally, a hundred percent sure of it.
But then why did Rainbow just buy a wagon load of apology bouquets?
FROM THE CURATORS: RCL-wise, this story was the victim of unfortunate timing — when it was published for the Raridash group’s “The Four R’s of Spring” contest (where it was unanimously declared the winner), we had just approved HoofBitingActionOverload’s previous feature for posting. Spring is Dumb has received acclaim from around the fandom in the meantime. “An absolutely hilarious story with an amazingly voiced Rainbow Dash,” Titanium Dragon said in this story’s nomination. “This shows HoofBitingActionOverload’s breadth of skill … a number of his romance stories and comedies are excellent, and I’ve always considered Spring is Dumb to be his best work.”
We agreed — not just that this was a solid romance, but that it’s a superlative story, period. “As someone that always seems to dislike shipfics, I was immensely surprised at just how good this story is,” Soge said, and Chris’ recommendation echoed that: “Unless you’re absolutely 100% allergic to main six shipping, you should check this one out.”
Among its core strengths was its portrayal of the ponies we know and love. “Characterizations are fantastic all around, including all the side characters,” Soge said. “That it manages to be this funny without ever being caricaturesque is nothing short of an achievement.” And AugieDog had special praise for the narrative voice: “Re-reading it now, I’m struck again by how effortlessly the author makes it seem to craft a completely consistent character out of someone who contradicts herself every third or fourth paragraph.”
Read on for a few words from our spotlighted authors, in which Aragón and HoofBitingActionOverload discuss Indiana Jones sincerity, Rainbop Dashboard, and how these stories exemplify their styles.