The last stop for today’s story is the RCL spotlight.
The Last Pony on Earth
[Adventure] [Mystery] [Human] • 102,429 words
Until yesterday, my life was no different than anybody’s. Go to work, pay the bills, sleep. Today, I woke up to a world without humans. The streets are empty, the power grid is running down, and not another soul is in sight. That might not be the worst thing, if I wasn’t also a pony.
Where is everyone? Why is this happening to me?
Will l stay sane long enough to starve?
FROM THE CURATORS: “I’m surprised to see Starscribe hasn’t been featured before,” FanOfMostEverything said at the start of this story’s nomination — launching one of the longest and most spirited debates we’ve ever had. High and low scores flew; all six curators wrote essays filled with praise and critique; and when the dust settled, Soge’s final vote pushed it over our feature threshold. “I have many complaints,” he said, “but this fic gets a ton of things right — compelling OCs, well-crafted mysteries, a ton of humanity in its portrayals and the dilemmas of the characters, and plenty to enjoy. The Equestrian chapters in particular are deserving of special honors. There are many small, special things which make this fic, and it is thanks to the sum of it all that this story comes off as so strong.”
And while all of us found things to complain about, an equally common theme was the ways in which gripping, unique storytelling overruled those to keep us invested regardless. “If there’s a big thing right for me, it’s the use of layered media to tell the story,” Present Perfect said. “We’re primarily in some excellent journal entries for the bulk of the fic, but along with images, these are supplemented by transcripts, interviews, and journal entries from another character, not to mention ARG-style codes for the faithful to solve. I’m really impressed with those codes, they were not easy to crack. And this has the absolute best use of second-person I have ever seen in a story.” Soge, too, offered a superlative: “The journal format is one of the best executions of this format I remember reading in Fimfic.” And Horizon was broadly impressed: “The world around the protagonists was never less than vibrant, and every mystery the story brought up came to a satisfying resolution,” he said. “Most importantly, I felt that on the whole my trust in the author was rewarded with genuinely cool and thoughtful twists. The ultimate source of the ‘numbers station’ caught me off guard at least twice, and HPI walked a tricky tightrope between threat and resource which served the story very well.”
It’s worth noting that we found reading pace mattered. “I’m not sure how it will read when it isn’t a daily serial,” FanOfMostEverything noted, and after some critical comments from speed-readers, Soge was grateful that he decided to slow down. “I decided to read this fic at most two chapters a day, so I could properly appreciate it in its original context,” he said. “Doing so helped make the pacing more natural, and allowed some of the mysteries enough time to make me properly excited.”
And in the end, the fact that the story got us invested enough to react so strongly — both to our dislikes and our loves — was a mark of its effectiveness. “I have to point out my favorite part of Last Pony: when Alex gets the full story of what happened,” Present Perfect said. “This is a story celebrating humanity — something of an oddity, when it comes to fanfiction centered on human/pony interactions — and Alex is such a strong character, not to mention that excellent second-person writing, I couldn’t help but be angry, and absolutely loving that I was. It takes phenomenal effort to evoke feelings like that in a reader. Compared to other survivalist fics, HiEs, and PoEs, this comes out positively on all points, and I’m glad to have read it.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Starscribe discusses outlined organizations, Olympians, and optimism.