Today’s story has a richness you won’t want to put down.
The Wealth of the World
[Dark] • 7,849 words
In the 19th century of Princess Celestia’s rule, Equestria experienced an acceleration of its progress and prosperity as the first westward expansion began. Yet there were some ponies who took this call to progress as a warrant for ever more radical reform. In 1858, 148 ponies left Equestria to realize that radical dream. This is their story.
FROM THE CURATORS: “We’re all into style imitations of classic authors, right?” Present Perfect said in his nomination. “This is a Hawthornian piece about ponies setting off to found a new land out from under the confines of Celestia’s supposed tyranny. And when I say ‘tyranny’, I mean things like ‘having money’. They of course end up succumbing to the greatest of evils … the identity of which is really clever, informed as it is by the imitation and turning it on its head.” This quickly sailed to a feature amid compliments like Horizon’s: “I’m awfully impressed. … Every revolution contains the seeds of its own destruction, I’ve heard from somewhere, and this is a tight and compelling example of that.”
While we agreed it was an exemplary story, our most spirited debate was whether this worked equally well as MLP fanfiction. “For all that it’s a wonderful story, the Equestrian setting is an undeniable drag on it,” Chris said, and Soge agreed: “There is a certain homogeneous hierarchy here that isn’t applicable to the show’s universe.” Horizon disagreed: “It feels like commentary on Equestrian society. It lampshades the way that it’s leaving canon Equestria behind, in a way that is both literal and symbolic — by physically sailing away and establishing a society based upon rejecting Equestrian ideals.” He added that the show has explored similar topics — “in many ways this is Our Town from a different angle” — causing Present Perfect to note, “What this story is missing is a tie-in to Starlight’s village.”
But regardless of the merits of its pony approach, its style easily won us over. “The author captures the Dark Romantic style of Nathaniel Hawthorne, while transporting the themes of Earth’s Holocaust into a complete narrative about the roots of fanaticism and moral failure,” Chris said. “That’s wonderful.” Present Perfect echoed him: “The writing is just wonderful, maybe a little heavy on dialogue for journalfic, but very much portraying a pony of letters.” It added up to a story both moving and literary, Soge said: “Despite never having read Hawthorne, or much of the American literary canon for that matter, I really like the style, as well as how the emotions of the protagonist flow from the writing.”
Read on for our author interview, in which very trustworthy rodent discusses downed waterships, fleeing clouds, and monolithic metanarratives.