/mlpol/ - My Little Politics

Welcome to the new code.
I hope it will work as intended without issues.
Please report any issues you encounter in /qa/ or the "New Code" thread on /mlpol/.
Note: JS is required to be able to post, but I am working on a system where that won't be needed.

By clicking New Reply, I acknowledge the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
Select File / Oekaki
Password (For file and/or post deletion.)

Glim Glam's Something Something Jam, Insert-Something-Witty Edition
269308 269330 269433
Last thread hit bump limit, serendipitously just as I was wrapping up my review of Friendship is Optimal. Despite the thread being over limit, I responded to a couple more posts dealing with Optimal because I wanted to start fresh with a new topic for this thread. Any further discussion of Optimal or Past Sins I would like to remain in the previous thread until it 404s, which I will still check for replies.

Previous thread: >>248482 →

Anyway, our current reading queue is:
The Sun and the Rose by soulpillar
Fallout: Equestria by kkat

If you would like to suggest anything for the queue, please feel free to do so.

And with that, we shall now commence reading:

The Sun and the Rose
by soulpillar

Chapter 1: Lavender and Beeswax

Alright, first impressions. I've really got to learn to stop saying this, but so far this appears to be a more competently-written work than the last thing I read. The prose in the first few paragraphs is eloquent, if maybe a little overly florid, though I can usually forgive that if the author doesn't go overboard with it. In any case, this guy seems like he can actually write, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt until he does something to earn himself a gay nickname.

Also working in his favor is that his story dives right into the action, while still managing to set a compelling scene. Soulpillar manages to avoid the pitfalls of both Peen Stroke's opening (well written in eloquent language, but slow-paced and with description that is heavy handed at times) and Assman's (direct to the point and evenly paced, but utterly devoid of any feeling or mood). We've got a fairly good middle ground here, and I'm starting this off in a state of cautious optimism.

This, however:
>A dull blue glow reflected off the hurriedly arranged pieces of battered plate on his body. His left arm and shoulder encased in a full steel pauldron and gauntlet whilst his right arm bore only an iron spaulder and a leather glove. Either leg had a metal shin guard strapped over well-worn leather boots. While a hauberk, a white tabard and an over-stuffed leather traveling pack stacked down on his shoulders. His gear rattled with each shift of his body, unbalanced, ill-kept.
Again, the writing is good, but this is probably a little more detail than I would have gone into about the particular type of armor a character is wearing. That's a matter of preference, though; plenty of well-respected fantasy authors do shit like this all the time. Terry Goodkind, who I like, will blather on for entire paragraphs describing the type and number of pillars in a room; George R.R. Martin, who I also like, spends more time describing what characters are eating than any author I've ever read (which is no surprise, considering what a fat fuck he is). So again, cautious optimism here.

Oh, also:
>While a hauberk, a white tabard and an over-stuffed leather traveling pack stacked down on his shoulders.
This should not be a complete sentence as written. "While" usually indicates that you are either continuing a thought from a previous sentence, or are going to append an additional related thought to the end of this one. The author could have probably appended "while a hauberk..." to the end of the previous sentence using a comma, or alternatively he could have just kept this as it's own sentence and dropped the "while," turning it into "A hauberk, a white tabbard and an over-stuffed leather traveling pack stacked down on his shoulders."

Anyway, the scene itself does a decent enough job of grabbing our attention. An unknown character, who by all appearances is human and appears to come from some kind of fantasy and/or medieval-type world, has just stepped through a magic mirror.

The author actually gives us quite a bit of essential information in a relatively compact amount of text: this character dressed hurriedly, suggesting that he's dealing with an unexpected or emergency situation. His helmet has been nigger-rigged with extra protection for his eyes and mouth, which we are told is to ward off some type of miasma, so we know the air in the place he's going is toxic to breathe. The mention of the mirror portal establishes clearly that he is traveling from one dimension to another, and that we are dealing with a universe that has magic.

Finally, a purpose for all of this is established:
>Uncle was quite specific; bring back Cecilia and nothing more.

All in all, what we have here so far is a pretty well-written opening. It gives us enough information to understand what is going on, while at the same time withholding enough that our desire to know more intensifies. It provides us a good visual and sets a good scene, without being too verbose in its description (except for the bit about the armor that I mentioned). Cautious optimism remains so far intact.

>He looked around, shadows and shapes tested his mettle.
This could probably have been worded differently. For one thing, grammatically he should either use a semicolon after "around", or else change "tested" to "testing" if he wants to use the comma. For another, although this usage is technically correct, referring to what this character is currently doing as a "test of mettle" doesn't quite feel right.

Having one's mettle tested usually implies a battle or direct confrontation; in this case, he's just exploring a hallway that might have something dangerous in it. He's on his guard and wary of the shadows and shapes he sees as potential threats, but so far nothing is testing his mettle. The impression this man gives is that of a seasoned warrior, so a mere dark hallway probably wouldn't set him off this much. I'd probably just go with "He looked around, shadows and shapes keeping him on his guard," or something to that effect.
british guy whose browser only works with vpn active
I would like to submit https://www.fimfiction.net/story/1868/27-Ounces by Chatoyance, a Conversion Bureau story, on the grounds that it is shit and gay anti-human heresy written by a tranny. It's not as popular as Fallout Equestria (people are STILL writing Fallout 4 fics disguised as pony fics using FE) but it's still a significant event in the pony fandom with a dedicated group of fags who love it.
also for the gay nickname how about "soulkiller" since bad writing makes the soul feel dead and makes reading feel pointless? then again it also sounds kind of cool in a "shitty world of warcraft username" kind of way.
unnamed (3).jpg

In any event, the guy continues to explore. The scene appears to be nighttime in some kind of corridor, and despite some potentially serpentine shadows the character's mettle remains thus far intact.

>"Cecilia?" He cried into the darkness: as best as one could through a layer of leather, steel and flower petals. "Cecilia, are you there? It's me, Gareth! Your husband! I've come to take you home!"
Welp, looks like we've got a name for this guy. Gareth it is, then.

>"Christi crux est mea lux." He stood, raising the flickering light source to head height. "But in this case, a lantern will do."
"Christ's cross is my light," if my pompously-wielded ability to roughly translate Latin without googling it serves me correctly. Let me google it to make sure. Yep, I was right. It also appears to be the name of a hymn. In any case, it looks as if Gareth comes from our world or one of its analogues, at a period close to the middle ages.

Gareth continues to explore, and the section ends with a page break.

>Only God knew where that portal had taken him, Gareth was beginning to doubt this was Earth at all.
Again, a semicolon should be used instead of a comma here. Also, something minor, possibly major: would a man from this (implied) time period really be thinking this way?

Assuming (based on the armor and such) that Gareth's point of origin is Earth sometime between the Dark Ages and the Baroque, it seems unlikely that he would be wondering whether or not he was still on Earth after stepping through this mirror. Someone from our time would probably think of it this way, but in the medieval world, "Earth" would have been thought of as "the universe" or "the world" (see pic related). The other planets were objects in the sky, not worlds comparable to our own, and aside from Heaven and Hell, the concept of alternate dimensions or worlds separate from this one probably didn't exist in the human imagination. More than likely, Gareth's sense of space here would be relative to whatever kingdom or realm he comes from, as that would be the specific location he would most identify with. Here, he would most likely be wondering if he was still in England or France or wherever, or if this mirror led to some far-off imaginary place like Spain. The possibility that he'd left the world entirely or crossed into an alternate dimension would be unlikely to occur to him. Again, this is a fairly minor detail that you pretty much need to be as autistic as me to even notice, but fleshing out dumb little things like this can add a surprising amount of depth to a story.

>Yet, some sights remained familiar. He was in a castle, old and abandoned. Abandoned by whom and for what, he couldn't fathom.
Same deal as above. The interior of a castle would be a normal, contemporary location for him, so this shouldn't even be something he makes note of. He's obviously grasped that the mirror is a portal to some other place, but he would have no reason to assume that this place would have architecture different than what he's used to. Imagine that you stepped through a magic mirror and found yourself in the hallway of an office building or something resembling a common location in our time. You probably wouldn't stop to wonder about how the alien dimension you assume you've stepped into has office buildings just like ours, you'd just be wondering where the hell you are.

>The stone was old, but sturdy. Signs of battle lay everywhere. That was his first clue that he wasn't in England. King Edward the fourth's back-and-forth war with the God-damned Lancasters were fought on fields and forests, not castles. Then again, with the gold from the crown drying up, Rockingham castle was only in marginally better condition than this one.
Cool, looks like we've narrowed it down a bit. Gareth comes from England during the reign of Edward IV, and the bit about Lancasters suggests the time period is during the War of the Roses, placing us somewhere around 1455-1485 hurr durr I know stuff. Since Celestia is the Sun, I'm assuming this dude is the Rose? Maybe I should just shut up and keep reading.

Anyway, Gareth's internal monologue continues. He finds himself wondering about the castle he's in, and whether or not it might belong to his missing wife, Cecilia.

>He knew that his beloved suffered a grievous head wound when he met her. She spoke of being a princess of a far-off land called 'Equestria'.
kek. I don't think I would have been able to write that with a straight face. I'm actually a little confused here. Apparently, his wife has had a serious head wound for the entire duration of time that he's known her, and believes herself to be the Princess of a strange country that no one has ever heard of. So he just married this random injured chick who thinks she's a princess? Doesn't a nobleman usually want to know a woman's titles and holdings and whatever before marrying her? Isn't that how it worked back then? But honestly; whatever. I'm actually enjoying this one so far, so I'm willing to give him some leeway and see where he takes this.

Anyway, fuck, I should probably speed it up a little here. So far, Cecilia's got a head wound and thinks she's an Equestrian princess, she wandered off somewhere, her husband Gareth is looking for her, and he appears to have followed her through a magic mirror. Now he's in some ruined castle. He finds a tapestry depicting an alicorn standing on water, and wonders if his wife concocted the whole wacky story about Equestria from her family's heraldry. He is now beginning to wonder whether it might have been her family who stole her away.

Well, so far we've got a lot more questions than answers, but that is frankly a pretty good place to be at the beginning of a story. I have to say, my interest thus far is piqued. However, I've hit a page break, and this feels like a good place to stop for the day. To be continued.
If I was going to post my rewritten Silver Story for proof-reading before I upload it for real, where should it go?
I'd say put it in the scribble block thread >>248103 → . Just throw it in a pastebin or something and post the link, I will give it a read.
Alright. So how's that story treating you so far? It seems kind of normal.
Before today, I'd never heard of or read any of this story.
I read and hated the LessWrong shite and FE, and I heard bad things about Nyx's story.
But this one is new.
also if my flag is english right now, my wifi is mostly fixed.
nope, Brave browser still needs VPN to run.
also why did you choose The Sun and the Rose?
I'm the pleb who suggested it. GlimGlam wanted a good story and that was a pretty good one (imo) I've read that's not too short nor too long. Apparently he hasn't read it before so that's a plus.
also resetting brave browser settings fixed the proxy problem.

So Gareth Brooks continues to explore the castle. He suddenly encounters some type of wild beast padding around in the hallway up ahead.

>Just from the sounds he knew that the beast was large. The claws of a lion and the size of a war horse. The thing stayed just on the edge of the candlelight, a large shadow looming near.
I'm a little confused here. For one, this scene is dropped on us rather abruptly. Gareth is walking down the hall, and suddenly there's a giant monster thing in front of him. I suppose that's more or less how the encounter would actually have gone, but the transition is a little jarring, which it shouldn't be since this has been a somewhat tense scene so far and the reader is expecting something to happen. The other thing is that it would be rather difficult for Gareth to know this much about whatever he's facing. If all he has to go on is sound, how is he able to tell the creature's size and what sort of claws it has?

Also, the text specifically mentions the glass Gareth pasted over the eye slits of his helmet making it difficult to see. At the beginning of the story, we are told that he did this because of concerns over toxic miasma. However, thus far he has not encountered anything of the sort, nor has he behaved as if he were expecting to. It's a little strange, although the text may explain it soon enough.

The scene is also a little anticlimactic, as nothing really happens. He braces himself and holds up his boar spear, which apparently scares the creature and causes it to retreat. A scene like this can be used to build suspense, but it's not terribly well executed here.

Page break. We are told that time has skipped forward several hours. There has been no further sign of the creature that he encountered before. I've mentioned in previous comments that I'm not a huge fan of skipping time in this fashion. Also, from what I can tell the castle he's exploring is most probably the ruins of the Castle of the Two Sisters. I don't know that the size of this place is established in canon, but I don't get the impression that it's huge; probably comparable in size to the castle in Canterlot. I doubt it would take several hours to explore, though maybe 1-2 hours wouldn't be unreasonable, considering that it's dark and he's being careful.

Anyway, he comes to the throne room and finds Celestia and Luna's thrones. Gareth apparently concludes that Cecilia isn't here, and decides to try and find some place where he can get a good look at the surrounding landscape. Conveniently enough, there's a large balcony nearby that provides a "sweeping view of the landscape," so he heads out there to have a look.

>His accursed helmet did little to help him, but at least the full moon's light made it possible to see further than his out-stretched hand.
Still kind of curious why exactly he thought he'd need a specially modified helmet in order to breathe here.

>Shapes in the gloom only teased at their existence.

>The moment Gareth turned, a shadow passed over the corner of his helmet. The shadow turned to the shape of a spire, reaching up from the castle, only just out of sight, with the exception of magnificent sigil. A sigil in the shape of, a glowing sun; Cecilia's sigil.

>Gareth's body moved before his mind could complete the idea.

Apart from it being a little difficult to tell what's going on here exactly, I also want to mention that there are a lot of page breaks in this text, and it's beginning to grate on my nerves a little. This first chapter has been broken into about four segments so far, and we're not quite halfway through. This isn't a huge deal, but usually page breaks are used to delineate between scenes, like a fadeout in a movie, and thus far we've just had one continuous scene in which very little has happened. There's really no justification for splitting it up this way, and it points to poor organization on the part of the author. Also, as I highlighted above, there are some rather confusing sentences here that require attention. That bit about the sigil is confusing as fuck; I have no idea what I'm supposed to be seeing here.

Anyway, from the balcony, Gareth notices a rope bridge leading across a chasm and into the forest off in the distance, and decides to go check that out. However, before he can move he sees some kind of spire or something appear in the shape of Cecilia's sigil. Page break.

Apparently disregarding the fact that he can't see very well in the dark with his goofy helmet on, Gareth goes charging back the way he came, trying to reach the spire thing that he saw. He goes running up some stairs and eventually kicks down the door and finds himself in a bedroom, which he presumes to be Cecilia's. The room is empty.

>Gareth sighed, nervously chuckling to himself. His wife had not fled because she wanted a bigger bed.
I'll also say that this character's actions are a little stiff and unconvincing. Why is he chuckling here? Why is he nervous? Why is he sighing? Why does this particular thought cross his mind at this precise moment? For that matter, why is he even doing any this in the first place? What exactly did he see back in the throne room and how did it lead him to this particular bedroom? What about it makes him think it's Cecilia's bedroom? There's a lot in this text so far that doesn't seem particularly well thought out.

Anyway, he looks around, and notices that the furniture is a little oddly designed, almost as if it wasn't intended for humans. He also finds some papers on the vanity, which contain sketches of his castle and its inhabitants. We are given a small glimpse into the events that led Gareth to be here:
>Cecilia... when she spoke about the mirror. "Only open for three days, closed for thirty moons. Open for three, closed for thirty," Gareth muttered her words under his breath. She said that no one knew where she was.
269601 269639

So far, I'm finding that this text does some things well and other things rather poorly. The way that events are structured and information is fed to the reader is done well; the author doesn't just come out and explain who this guy is and what he's doing here, he just lays out a scene of a knight from fifteenth century England exploring what we can assume to be Celestia and Luna's old castle in Equestria. We are given small tidbits of information as we go, that gradually fill in the details and allow us to better understand what's happening, but the author maintains suspense and keeps us interested by not telling us any more than what we need to know right now.

However, it's a little difficult at times to understand what's going on. It's not clear why this character is doing some of the things he is doing, for instance we still don't know why he is wearing the special helmet. His reactions have been a little odd as well. While the prose is generally good, I'm noticing a lot of clumsily written sentences and it's not always clear what the author is trying to say. This is good so far, but it could use some revision.

I also wanted to call attention to this segment of text:

>One last sketch caught his eye. Gareth recognised the man in the sketch; it was himself. He was playing in the dirt with one of the boar hounds, grabbing it by the neck and rolling about. That was when he first met Cecilia, gently sketching what she saw.

>She was beautiful. From her untouched white dress and tanned skin, to her exotic pink eyes and unnaturally coloured brown, blue and green hair. He was mesmerised at the very sight.

>Gareth nervously brushed himself off and willed himself to speak to her. To his shock, she didn't turn him away. She spoke with him. She... she spoke about anything, about him, about the dogs, about houses, about her home, anything. God, he would do anything to hear her speak.

This is a very jarring change in perspective. One moment Gareth is standing in this ruined castle looking at sketches, the next he's standing in the woods working up the courage to speak to this woman. Though we can figure out from context that we're seeing a flashback, the text does not provide us any clear indicator of this; the narration simply changes scenes without warning. First it's describing the sketch, then it's describing Cecilia's appearance at the time the sketch was made, and finally it begins describing Gareth's reaction to seeing Cecilia sketch him. I can understand what the author is trying to convey, but this section needs to be rewritten.

However, from this flashback we get a little more information. From what I can piece together, their first encounter went a little something like this:

Gareth was playing with one of his dogs one day, when he noticed a strange woman sketching him. He was immediately struck by her beauty, and began speaking with her. She told him that she was a Princess from a foreign land, and that she would need to leave in two days. He realized that she was well above him in terms of station, and pursuing her would be something of a long shot, but he was compelled to give it a try anyway.

As luck would have it, she was apparently hit in the head by a falling bucket or something shortly after this first encounter, and wound up having to extend her stay. When she regained consciousness, she remarked that her way home was "closed" and that she would not be able to return. It was at this point he concluded that she was probably nuts, and may not even be a princess at all, but he still wanted to hit that, so he let her stay in his castle and indulged her wacky bullshit for a while.

At this point, though, he realizes that her kingdom was real after all.

He sees a glint of light in the mirror, and raises his spear like he's about to start fucking shit up, but it turns out to be just the sunrise. Apparently he's been fucking around in this castle all night, and it's morning now.

He goes to the window and takes a better look at the surrounding countryside. He sees another castle off in the distance, and this one looks occupied. However, it appears to be at least a couple of days journey away, and he can't get there in time before the portal back to England closes. From what I have been able to gather, it looks as if the portal opens for three days every three years or so. He has about two days left before it closes.

He now faces a choice. Does he stay here and look for Cecilia, or does he return to his Uncle's castle and whatever duties he has there? As he stands trying to make up his mind, he hears the sound of a horse's whinny off in some part of the castle, but it sounds weird to him.

>He'd spent his entire life around them. He'd heard them afraid, angry, happy; an entire spectrum of emotions. That timbre, the pitch... it wasn't right. Gareth glanced back at the portal. It would close in another two days. There was an entire squad of men-at-arms on the other side ready to stop whatever beast might step through. Even still... he could help fend off intruders.

>He surged forward, armour clinking with each pace. For the first time in years, he was relieved at the threat of battle.

As with the previous selection I highlighted, I can get a rough idea of what the author was thinking here, but it's not very well executed. We can presume that he's going off to find the source of the strange whinny, but why does he automatically assume it's an enemy? All he heard was a horse's whinny. Were the men-at-arms on the other side of the portal mentioned because he's afraid something might go through the portal and attack his home? Is he still thinking about Cecilia, or is he using battle to distract himself? We don't know.

Anyway, that's the end of the chapter.
This writer's trying very hard to make this story sound epic while writing it from the perspective of an "old-timey" person who talks all fancy and shit.
But every time it sounds awkward and too flowery for its own good, every time the author chooses prose-based form over information-giving and world/event-describing function, it's jarring and annoying.
I hope the author stops this eventually, or eventually gets better at doing this.
Sorry if this is an odd question. But when you feel a surge of the "This pony fanfic shite is a waste of time" feeling, how do you deal with that feeling?