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.