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.