Today’s story will offer you exactly what you want to read in a horror fic.
Unicorns Are Magical
[Dark] [Alternate Universe] [Sad] [Tragedy] • 3,899 words
“Unicorns are wonderful!”
“Unicorns are fantastic!”
“Unicorns are marvelous!”
“Unicorns are glamorous!”
“Unicorns are enchanting!”
“Unicorns are terrific!”
They also like to twist words. What would happen if you asked what they really are, without the wordplay?
Unicorns provoke wonder. They create fantasies. They cause marvels. They project glamour. They weave enchantment. But most importantly, they spawn terror.
For you see, nopony said that unicorns were good.
FROM THE CURATORS: It’s an excellent sign for a fanfic’s quality when it gets lodged in your brain and refuses to leave. “This fic is positively insidious,” Soge said. “It has been two weeks between when I read it and when I managed to sit down to write this, and the otherworldliness of Twilight’s actions and how wrong everything feels simply hasn’t left me.” Chris, who nominated it over a year after first reading it, felt similarly: “I think there’s a lot to appreciate about the way this piece creates and maintains a particular, darkly enjoyable tone,” he said. “It’s a pitch-perfect take on the alien other-ness which defines the Fair Folk in our own world’s mythology, and the MLP setting draws out that other-ness well, with its familiar-but-equine trappings.”
A major contributor to the story’s excellence was its fine detail work. “‘The earth pony sighed’, in the context of the opening scene of this story, is one of those rare single lines that shakes me to the core,” Present Perfect said, while Soge praised the subtlety of its construction: “It is one of those stories that builds a lot of atmosphere not in what is says, but in the things it omits: Wings, horns, weather control, Cutie Marks, and even empathy.” That construction was thoughtful as well, creating impact even from its structure, as Chris noted: “The reverse-chronological order of the five characters’ scenes is used to good effect.”
But an unexpected strength was its work with familiar characters despite the massive departures of its alternate-universe setup. “The author has boiled the main six down to their most basic traits, removing many things that the reader might have imagined would be important to their character and being,” Present Perfect said. “In doing so, they walk a fine line between familiar and alien, and twist that to ensure that the events happening in the story keep the reader guessing.” As disorienting as that sometimes was, it was ultimately the source of the fic’s staying power, Chris said: “There may not be a clear line between some of the main six’s lives and motivations in this fic and in the show (that is, not one that can be directly extrapolated from the AU’s premise that unicorns are essentially malicious fey), but the larger themes of the story circle that idea so smoothly that I can’t help but be impressed by the way the story grounds ‘Twilight Sparkle’ in such an unfamiliar creature.”
Read on for our author interview, in which wille179 discusses robot puns, smile-ripping, and tea pettiness.