Today’s story brings a little magic home.
The Pony Who Lived Upstairs
[Drama] [Slice of Life] [Human] • 184,740 words
[Note: This story contains sexual themes.]
What would you do if a pony moved into the apartment upstairs? Would you make an effort to meet her? What would you talk about? And what kind of pony leaves Equestria for Earth in the first place?
This is a series of slice-of-life episodes about a young man who meets a pony in New Jersey. Equestria has made contact with Earth; creations and creators have been sorting things out for a couple of years, and a smattering of ponies are gradually starting to move to Earth. Told though human eyes, here’s the story of one of them.
FROM THE CURATORS: While it’s great to have loud and energetic friends, when it comes to neighbors the best ones are often the most quietly reliable. That was our experience of this story, too — and one that endeared it to us a great deal. “I read it slowly over the course of a month, and it was a comfortable read that consistently left me in an agreeable mood,” Soge said, while in his nomination AugieDog praised it for its quiet depth: “It’s a very ‘slice of life’ story, but the arcs that Ron and Peach travel provide a definite and nicely complicated through-line.” That depth consistently accumulated praise in our commentary. “I love the effortless way that this works through various implications of the two worlds colliding, and the endless surprises that result,” Horizon said. “Peach’s reaction to visiting a ranch stands out in my mind. It felt not only well-researched, but also diligent in the details.”
And while we all found different details to like, we agreed it added up to a solid overall package. “I found it nothing short of astonishing how well the author made the ponies-on-Earth conceit work, and while the philosophizing that goes on during the course of the story sometimes got a little thick for me, the characters carried me through it all quite handily,” AugieDog said. “The humans are very human, and the ponies are equally ponies with a subtly alien outlook that the author conveys really well.” Horizon disagreed on the philosophizing — “for me, that’s what carried the early sections” — while Soge praised both aspects equally: “The characters love partaking in philosophical discussions of the type I tend to despise in fics, which tend to quickly turn into an author soapbox where they keep tilting at strawmen. Instead, not only were the discussions nuanced, they were perfectly in character, and a significant part of the story itself that gave me plenty of food for thought.”
Soge went on to cite that as an example of one of the story’s biggest strengths: its enormously unique approach. “If there is one big thing right to be taken from this fic, it’s how well it manages to make certain despicable tropes work, to the point it seems like the author set a challenge to turn certain things on their heads,” Soge said. “Every time it seems to go for something trite, it manages to turn the concept on its head in clever and inventive ways.” He cited a further scene which executed an easy-to-fail trope unexpectedly well, a scene which Horizon also praised: “I need to single out the chapter after their visit to Radio City Music Hall in particular,” he said. “The way that it handles the multiple levels of conflicting emotions is not only a triumph of unreliable narration, but also walks an ethical tightrope whose navigation is very much to this story’s credit.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Ringcaat discusses forgotten passwords, melodic advancement, and undiscovered secrets.