“Variable, n.: an element, feature, or factor that is not consistent … liable to change.” How can you account for all of them when you’re dealing with primal chaos? Today’s story follows a young dragon struggling with just that question.
[Slice of Life] • 7,722 words
After his defeat at the hooves of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony the stony figure of Discord was dragged far, far, far out of Ponyville where the good ponies could eventually forget the name of their tormentor… again.
But, it seems, as the months have passed some creature in Ponyville has not been able to put aside what had happened. Now, that creature approaches, and it seems as though he’d like a word with the immortal spirit of chaos…
FROM THE CURATORS: At first glance, this fic seems sparse. “This is a 8k-word story about Spike monologuing to an inanimate object,” Chris said. “But make no mistake, Variables … is the rare monologue fic which not only justifies its monologuing, but which manages to inspire dread, empathy, and genuine thought.” Present Perfect agreed: “Variables is a really razor-sharp examination of Spike’s character. If you want a clear view of The Descendant’s treatment of Spike, there’s no better way than to have him on his own, tackling tough issues.”
While several of us noted how slow the fic starts off, we were all impressed by how powerfully it closed. “The way this story concludes is one of the most thought-provoking finishes I’ve seen in a ponyfic,” Chris said. And even though it’s one of the earliest stories of the fandom, it has held its power over time. “All I can think about is how rare it is for me to read a story twice, and how rarer it is for me to appreciate a story even more the second time around,” Present said. “I had real emotion after reading this ahead of writing the interview.”
Read on for that author interview, in which The Descendant discusses Spike’s character, drawing out head-canon, and the value of a good Reuben sandwich.