Wednesday, July 4, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 80: Fallout: Equestria

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Happy 4th of July to all!  Even those of you who aren't Americans should feel free to have a nice day--go on, you have my blessing.   I'm back home, having spent the last two weeks working my way through one of the fandom's most substantial works to date: Kkat's Fallout: Equestria.  I'll warn you in advance, this review runs pretty long, but if you aren't afraid of the wordcount (and if you are, maybe a 600,000 word fanfic isn't what you're looking for anyway), check below the break to see my thoughts.

Impressions before reading:  First off, a confession: normally, I write this part before I read the story (duh).  But I completely forgot to do that before I left on vacation, so I'm cheating a bit here and doing my initial impressions from memory.

Much like the previously-reviewed Past Sins, Fallout: Equestria is an incredibly popular fanfic, with a very devoted base of followers.  Compared to the former, Fo:E doesn't seem to have spawned nearly as much hatred and/or hype backlash, which I'm guessing is a good sign quality-wise.  Also, Fo:E has spawned a truly massive number of spinoffs, continuations, and fanfic-fanfics (including one that's part of the main post, but since it's by a different author I'm leaving it aside), more than one of them 6-star stories themselves.  There's clearly something about this work that resonates with a lot of people.

I've not read any of the story myself, and my familiarity with the Fallout games is extremely limited.  I played the first game briefly before becoming frustrated with the impossible level of difficulty, probably due mostly the fact that I didn't realize going in that the game expects you to take at least one weapon ability as a favored skill, and I don't really know anything about the later installments in the franchise.  However, I understand that this story is quite popular even among readers who aren't gamers, so I suspect (or at least, I hope) that that's not going to be an impediment to my reading.

Zero-ish spoiler summary:  Two centuries after Equestria's version of a global thermonuclear war annihilates pony civilization, a young unicorn named Littlepip ventures out from her "Stable," a large-scale fallout shelter, and discovers a world at once totally unlike that seen in FiM, and at the same time disturbingly familiar.  As she explores the land, she uncovers not only the crises of the present, but those which drove the ponies 200 years ago to turn the world into what it has since become.

Thoughts after reading:  This is the first true grimdark story that I've hit (has it really taken eighty review posts to find a 6-star grimdark?  My goodness), so I'd like to talk about the genre as a whole for a minute.  Speaking in generalities, I like grimdark stories about as much as I like shipping stories; that is to say, while I have no particular antipathy towards the genre in principal, I find that the subject matter is generally a poor fit for the MLP universe and the writing quality to generally be pretty low.

The latter point is a broad generalization (though one that I think a quick glance through fimfiction will show is all too accurate), and doesn't really impact the way I view individual stories--I mention it only by way of explanation for my reticence to read grimdark without a specific recommendation.  The former point deserves a bit of expansion, however.  I think it goes without saying that murder, rape, cannibalism, and heck, even foul language, are not things which could ever be depicted on the show itself.  More than that, they aren't things that could even be hinted at in canon.  This makes it hard to write fanfiction incorporating these elements without divorcing one's work from the show it purports to take its setting from.

Note that I say hard, not impossible.  There are a small number of stories which show that writing an absurdly dark and at times viscerally disgusting story which retains the core spirit of MLP is indeed possible.  And Fallout: Equestria definitely belongs on that list.

An examination of why is in order here.  As with any major alteration to the show's aesthetic, whether it be making the main characters lesbians, turning Celestia into a ruthless tyrant, or introducing guns, bombs, and nuclear missiles megaspells in place of apple pies, the most important thing an author must do is justify the apparent discrepancy between the show and the fanfic.  Kkat does a relatively good job of this, showing in bits and pieces as the story progresses how peaceful, idyllic Equestria slowly turned into the unrelentingly horrific land it is in the story's present.  After the first few chapters, I never seriously questioned the central premise vis-a-vis its connection to FiM.

But keeping the story tied to its kids-show roots takes more than just a halfway-decent explanation.  Fo:E succeeds on this front not only by justifying its differences in tone, but by maintaining the show aesthetic wherever possible.  From the punny names of towns and characters to the expert voicing and characterization of the main six (even those elements that seem out of place initially, such as the sinisterness of Pinkie Pie's role in prewar Equestria, are eventually tied back to the characters in believable ways), the story takes pains to show that it isn't just a war story with pony names swapped in; its a story about how ponies could find themselves fighting a war, and how they could find themselves sinking to horrifying depths in the wake thereof.

Following on that last thought, I was very impressed with the development of Littlepip as concerned her reactions to the world outside her stable.  From the little things (she's lived her whole life in a small, enclosed space--of course the first thing she'd do upon seeing the outside world is suffer an attack of agoraphobia!) to the broader shifts in her understanding of morality (wrestling with fundamental questions like "when is it right to take another's life?" and "can preemptive violence ever be justified?"), the way she views the world gives the reader an easy introduction into the blasted hellscape which is the Equestrian Wastes, and one that's through the eyes not of a grizzled warrior or a jaded survivor, but a pony.  Littlepip could be anypony from the show; lost, confused, and just trying to muddle through and do the right thing.  The only difference is, she doesn't have the advantage of living in a world where nothing bad ever happens that can't be fixed within half an hour (less commercial breaks).

Oh, I should probably mention in here that no prior familiarity with the Fallout milieu is required in order to enjoy this story.  A few references may be missed, but these are generally sufficiently integrated into the story to prevent confusion, and no prior knowledge of the setting is required to understand the plot or characters.

Another thing I want to talk about as it relates to this story is length.  Too many fanfic authors seem to think that writing an epic-length story gives them carte blanche to fill their work with deathly dull monologues, pages and pages of backstory with no obvious relevance, and other assorted filler.  I cannot count the number of times I've seen the author of a many-chaptered monstrosity claim that "It starts slow, but it gets really good around chapter X."  Based on previous experience, this appears to be code for "Everything before chapter X is crap."  Whether a story is two thousand words long or two million, it should still strive to be interesting at all times.

Despite producing 45 chapters the combined length of which exceeds that of War and Peace by a significant margin, Fo:E is rarely dull.  Featuring numerous factions with conflicting goals and ideologies, dozens of antagonists of various stripes, and closely intertwined quests to discover both the events of the distant past and the purpose of Littlepip's life, there is hardly a paragraph which doesn't either advance the plot, develop one of the myriad characters who drift in and out of the story, or delve into fundamental questions about the world and how we interact with it.  I found some of the fights overlong, and found they did become repetitive eventually, but even this was relatively minor (and I admit, I've never taken the same visceral joy from reading about fights that many readers seem to).

I've briefly touched on Littlepip already, but one thing that consistently surprised me was the depth of Kkat's characterizations.  At first glance, or first introduction, many of the ponies (and other creatures) which Littlepip meets fall into readily recognizable roles: the shoot-first-ask-questions-later cowboy, the mild-mannered yet ruthless villain boss, etc.  Yet few and far between are the significant players who aren't given expanded and nuanced characterizations as the story progresses.  Both Littlepip's allies and foes are thoroughly humanized, to the point where its hard not to have some empathy with nearly every character in the story.  This is not a story about "right" or "wrong;" it's a tale of good intentions gone horribly awry, and even the nominal villains often prove to share goals with the protagonists; what separates Littlepip from her foes isn't that she wants to make Equestria a better place and they don't, but that their vision of a better Equestria requires sacrifices she isn't willing to accept, or contains elements she can't condone.  And the respect with which even the most monstrous attitudes are treated humanizes the entire conflict; this is one of the most intellectually honest ponyfics I've ever read in terms of how it deals with character motivation.

Although the tone of the piece is overwhelmingly dark, this story is full of levity.  For the most part, I thought Kkat did a great job of allowing a few laughs in without jumping tone too drastically.  Besides the name puns, the author takes a number of shots at both the show and game from which her story derives (mostly in the form of innocently asked rhetorical questions, as when Pip is exploring a long-deserted room and, finding a few bits of coinage, wonders, "What kind of pony went around putting money in random spots?"), takes a few jabs at both modern and cold-war policy makers, and includes a staggering number of lines from the show.  The reason these turns so often work is because they're integrated into the story itself; when Pip asks who puts a few coins in a locked chest, it's a joke about Fallout's penchant for doing the same, but it's also a legitimate question.  The relevance of the line isn't dependent on meta-knowledge, as too many shout-outs and fan-references are.

Of course, some do fall flat.  Every chapter ends with "level up" note, saying what new perks Littlepip is gaining as she adventures.  Perhaps Fallout fans will find them more humorous than I did, but the extended meta-joke didn't work for me at all.  In a work with a relatively serious tone and a complex and complete narrative, using a video game framing device felt cheap by comparison (and worse, completely unnecessary.  It isn't like the level-up notes contained any plot-relevant information that couldn't be gleaned from the story itself without difficulty).  And as long as the subject is on meta-whatever, I wasn't particularly happy with the way Pinkie's prescience was handled.  Without getting into spoilers (too much), I think that there was the potential for a decent explanation for her virtual omniscience, but that it was never fully developed.  As a result, some of her leaps of intuition stuck out in a bad way.

As long as I'm talking about problems, there's a staggering overuse of exclamation marks at times ("I turned to the second, but not quickly enough to stop him from swinging his magically enhanced sledgehammer right into my ribcage!  The pain was blinding!  I could hear the ribs snapping under my armour!"), and there are also some editing difficulties, especially in the first third.  Nothing overwhelming, but in several of the early-middle chapters there are fairly regular missing words and other simple errors, and the problem never entirely disappears (Also, the occasional use of "buck" as a synonym for colt is confusing, at least to me).  Apparently, Kkat is aware of these errors, but doesn't want to go back and correct them, saying she's finished with Fo:E.  I don't have any real comment on that position, other than to say that it makes an interesting contrast with the seemingly continuous revisions to Past Sins.

But despite some technical flaws, the story construction is generally excellent.  It's told entirely from the viewpoint of Littlepip, but the author finds a number of ways to bend the viewpoint in unusual and interesting ways.  Concussions offer a chance to misremember or blur events, memory orbs (magical devices which store a memory from another pony, and can be "viewed" by unicorns) provide a chance to see things both from the distant past and the near-present from a variety of perspectives, and both memory loss and inter-temporal communication are used to good effect.  The story also does a good job of showing Pip's perspective subtly enough that it isn't immediately obvious, but becomes readily apparent through repetition and/or in hindsight.  Her use of mind-enhancing drugs, and their effect on her, is only one of the most obvious examples.

I've said a few times now that this story is extremely grimdark.  Plenty of stories are, but there are relatively few that manage to be both extremely (read: frequently) violent and still wring some shock from the horrors which they tell.  The problem is repetition: reading about someone getting their head cut off (assuming the author both has a modicum of skill and isn't playing it for laughs or something) is arresting, but reading about the eighth person getting their head cut off isn't.  There's no shock value; it's old hat.  Kkat both uses and averts this by showing how Pip grows inured to violence even as the reader grows jaded by the constant bloodshed, demonstrating how quickly innocence can be lost.  Yet at the same time, those scenes which are supposed to be shocking never fail to be so; each time reader apathy begins to set in, the author finds a way to up the bar enough to provoke a reaction.

The ending... ah, I'm going to have to break out the spoiler tag again.  If you haven't read the story, know that I thought some elements of the story's ending were anticlimactic in a bad way.  Not awful, but not good.  For more details, see below:

Finally, let's talk content warning: in case the number of times I've typed grim and/or dark in this review isn't hint enough, there's a whole lot of violence and bloodshed, some of it quite graphic, in this story.  Not to mention there's a fair amount of body horror and fate-worse-than-death stuff.  Also, some parts of the story are pretty sexual in nature (and the side-story in the main post, if you decide to read it, is basically porn).  Long story short?  This one isn't for the kiddies.

Star rating:    (what does this mean?)

I waffled on this one a bit; on the one hand, I'm not really enamored with some aspects of the ending, and not all of the comedy really fit (though it's true that a surprising amount did, all things considered).  But when I think about how astonishing it is to write a story so long which is never dull, explores each of its characters so fully, and manages to ask more than a few fundamental questions about life along the way, it seems to me that we're talking about one of the best fanfics ever written.  It may not be perfect, but Kkat has accomplished something really special with Fo:E, and that deserves to be recognized.

Recommendation:  Obviously this story isn't for anyone who's going to be put off by length; even for fast readers, this is a story that requires several dozen hours to consume.  But I'd recommend it to almost anyone undeterred by the length.  Even people who don't normally read grimdark, even people who don't like shipping (yes, there's some of that in here), even people who don't normally read OC stories, even those who don't normally read crossovers, all ought to give this a try.  Those who absolutely can't stomach swearing and bloodshed will have to give it a pass of course, but other readers will likely find that Fo:E is one of the most complete fanfics, from both a structural and thematic perspective, ever to be written.

Next time:  Utter Madness, by Lawnpygmy


  1. Warning: this comment will contain heavy spoilers (more than usual). If you have not read this fict and want to be surprised by what you see if you do, I suggest you read just the last piece if you want to get my overall opinion without the spoilers.

    I’m not going to lie but this is not an easy fict to get into. The first batch of chapters is really nothing more than small-scale exploration and really violent action. They weren’t enjoyable and to be honest they raised questions and problems in my mind that shouldn’t have entered. When Pip is captured by slavers, why do they not strip her of her gear at the same time? How is it that refrigerators and soda machines before the war are apparently still functioning without maintenance or a known source of power? In a land where resources are certainly going to be limited and there really is no large encompassing government, why would any sort of common currency exist (basic bartering really should be their only option [“Only after the last tree has been cut; only after the last river has been poisoned; only after the last fish has been caught; only then will you find that money cannot be eaten])? Everything seemed way too convenient and found myself thinking I was reading a game experience rather than a character’s experience. And if I can’t buy the world, it distracts from the characters and makes them less plausible and interesting (to say nothing that I can’t feel for them).

    Luckily, some of those problems subsided later on, partly because Kkat answered some of my questions (such as why the ponies in the other stables [those who became the settlers, raiders, and the like] left them [not that I bought the fact that they could live on just canned goods and a little meat for 250 years without the former being resupplied]) but also because the world she created become more interesting. This was mainly done through the various factions that filled the wasteland, such as Gawd’s mercenaries to Stern’ slavers. They weren’t always original (from what I can tell, the Steel Rangers are in many ways copies of the Brother Hood of Steel), but for the most part it didn’t make them less exciting to learn about. The one big exception to this was the Enclave. From a distance, Calamity made them sound interesting. But once they showed up, they quickly became something of the generic evil empire built by fear (that [almost] all forces unite against to defeat). Tenpony Tower was also problematic but that was mainly because when it first showed up, it stood in such large contrast to the wasteland and it was hard to take seriously a society that was engaged in hedonism in a post-apocalyptic world (plus the Twilight Society felt underdeveloped and to be honest like a late add-on). But beyond those, it was well done. Not only that but the factions were worked into the plot so that events that happened at one part of it affected them even when they weren’t there (for example, the raid on the slaver camp would be the catalyst for Red Eye obtaining the balefire bomb). In short, Kkat was able to turn the setting not into a secondary element of the story but instead an integral part of the plot; unlike too many other adventures that just drop the character in the middle of a jungle and call it a day.

    1. The characters that made such factions were admittedly on various levels of success. Some were enjoyable but others where too brief in their appearance or lacking in distinction to leave an impact. The griffins such Gawd were good, as were some of the Steel Rangers like Blueberry. Despite her importance, I can’t say I liked this version of Ditzy. She had a one-dimensional personality being just a cheerful and good-natured pony that did some really stupid things that weakened her character (seriously, how can a mare who runs a shop and wrote the survival guide not learn that if you touch cage bars that zap they will continue to do so if you do it again). As for the “goddess”, well she’s pretty much how she is the show; loud-mouthed and full of hot air (I don’t like this character but I can’t fault anyone for keeping her in-character, which is more important). Red Eye didn’t work for me, one because I had a hard time seeing him as anything but a typical villain that plays mind-games (usual on morals) with the protagonist (all he needed was large boots and a glass of wine to complete it). Not to mention his actions seemed inconsistent and poorly done (if he wanted Pip to kill the “goddess”, why would he think about sending her into the arena in the first place).

      The main characters also were on different levels of success. Homage, I have to admit did not work for me. The biggest problem was I found her constant flirtation to be annoying. And because everything about her at first always seemed to connect to her romance with Pip, it was hard for me to get through any part with her without rolling my eyes. Plus, she never really was out on the field struggling with herself like the other main characters did. Luckily, Kkat did improve her character later on. I still didn’t like her but I didn’t dislike her either at the end. Xenith also didn’t click with me. Part of it was that she appeared later than the others did (and didn’t go on all their adventures even after she joined). Not that she was a bad character (her backstory and motivate were fine), but she wasn’t too interesting and felt like a fifth wheel. Certainly a character with a zebra’s point of view was needed in this story, but I wish the one written was better. Applesnack on the other hand was great. I was worried at first that he would the typical old warrior haunted by a dark past that causes him to lose his way (and he was), but there was more to him. SteelHooves could at once be ultra-serious and then in the next moment crack a very dry joke. He became something of a father figure to Pip in a way but at the same time learned from her to get back on the path and overcome his biases. Velvet Remedy I have to admit was probably the main character who got on my nerves the most, mainly because she could be a spiteful shrew that at times I found deplorable. But despite that (or perhaps because of that), I found her to a very interesting character. Of the main characters, she was the one least capable of dealing with the horrors of the wasteland. Her naivety to the world was amusing (as was her change in what weapons she would be willing to use). And her breakdown (one of the fict’s highlights) was pretty much what one would expect from an idealist who loses faith in humanity; delusion and anger towards others followed quickly by nihilism and misanthropy. Calamity was also pretty good. He was trigger-happy and a poor planner but he didn’t succumb entirely to the laws of the jungle, which made him interesting.

    2. And then there’s Pip herself, a character who for the most part was good for a protagonist, even if she was a little typical for her kind (see Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins, or any number of bored, frustrated youthful heroes who mature as they enter the “real world” and fight evil). I did have issues with her. One, her angst could be annoying. In all fairness, the situations she was in sometimes called for it. But even if it was understandable, that didn’t make it any less tiresome (and given how things were, it showed up quite a bit). What bothers me more was that she did things I found hard to accept. In less than a day, she learns how to pick up a box car (something that probably would take Twilight years to do) and does so while heavily injured and is able to eliminate enemies such as winged unicorns and ponies who have been in the wastelands longer than she has (and thus should be more skilled with weapons). However, she was certainly flawed enough as a character; she was brash and reckless and was often punished for this many times (hence the ridiculous number of times she gets injured) and her curiosity of the world was a great way to allow the reader to learn about the past. I actually enjoyed reading about her addiction as well and it’s mental effects on her. Not the best protagonist I’ve read but still a good one.

      Just as important as whom the characters were as individuals was how they interacted with each. All of them were distinct from each other (they each had their own opinion of how to do something the “right” way) and their relationships with each other were unique (Calamity had a best friend relationship with Pip but he had a respectful if grudging one with SteelHooves). The best parts of the fict were watching these characters grow in the wasteland and interact with each other in the quieter moments (it’s nice to read a piece of fiction where the plot isn’t moving but the characters are still holding your attention, such hot tub moments are uncommon). This was clearly shown when they struggled with the morality and wisdom of their actions, which revealed another side to them a good deal of the time. These characters, like a lot of others, were at their most interesting when they were at their most vulnerable, especially when they were in circumstances that they really didn’t understand. They weren’t always great; sometimes they would become one of the main characters (from the show) in a darker setting (Clamity becoming a cross between Rainbow and Applejack and Remedy becoming Rarity with Fluttershy’s pacifism) or worse they would become generic video game characters (SteelHooves being a heavy weapons expert) devoid of personality. To be honest, around chapters 27 and 29, I actually felt the characters were reaching their limit of how far they were capable of going, mainly because the characters stopped growing and I got the sense that the fict was going trying to wrap itself up (the exploration aspect that I enjoyed had pretty much stopped by this time) even though I did know there was plenty more to go and (this was mostly canceled out by the end of thirty-four and didn’t resurface till the last couple). But if there’s anything that “Fallout: Equestria” deserves praise for, it’s the main characters.

    3. I will say that the “past” did not interest me. Part of it was the show’s main characters as they were presented. I could somewhat buy the cutie maker crusaders given the fact that still had time to grow in the show to become like they did expect I did not buy Scootaloo and her experiments and I really have to ask who the heck was going to be studying the results once she was dead (it’s a pointless endeavor for that reason); quite frankly she had the scientific and moralistic insight (and foresight) of “Dr.” Mengele, I couldn’t read without thinking she (and by extension the other crusaders) was either stupid or immoral. I know that the stables not all being good is lifted from Fallout itself, but that’s still no excuse. But the main six characters are shown to be a felt far less alive than the characters on the wasteland (I really couldn’t bring myself to care about them). Most I could buy like Fluttershy, but others not so much. For example, I can see the Single Pegasus Project existing but I have trouble believing that someone like Dash, whose ideas are often less about rational thought and more about showing-off, being the one to create it. One important thing that wasn’t answered though was who initiated the war (I can buy the fact that coal and gems were the ultimate cause). I feel like Kkat was trying not to shift ultimate blame onto either the ponies or zebras and so she didn’t answer that question, but I have trouble buying the fact that Celestia would declare war expect in self-defense (she’s never been portrayed in the show as a violent character) and I don’t want to point fingers at the zebras unless I have proof. Equally flawed was the fact that Kkat had the zebras continue the war because Luna had taken charge due to them believing her and Nightmare Moon to be the same because of zebra mythology about evil stars. If this was a satire, I would have accepted such an irrational reason for fighting, but in a piece as serious as this it’s hard to find it credible; I can’t think of a single armed conflict in the last century that was fought for such an absurd cause (stupid yes, absurd no). I think the overall issue I had with enjoying the memory orb parts arises from the fact that the war between Equestria and Zebraland is a story in and of itself. As presented here, it feels very incomplete with little about the war during Celestia’s reign or the battlefront. Granted I believe that giving more space to the past would have been a bad idea (and in something this long, doubly so) and I certainly don’t want chide Kkat too much because she was right to keep it focused on the home front. Now, not everything was bad, the shift of Equestria to a military-industrial complex was certainly well done and subtle for the most part, as was how old Equestria treated its zebra population. However, one thing does deserve special mention: Pinkie being aware of the fact that Pip was watching through the memory orbs (or more accurately predicting that she would). When this was first done, I accepted as really bad joke, but later this turned into something that was actually important to the plot. This I hated (and I do mean hate) and I will get into more explanations of why later.

    4. One area that this fict fell flat on it was the romance. Velvet and Calamity (Rarijack under another name) was okay, even if it was predictable (whenever you see a couple arguing with each other, you know their going end up together), probably because it was kept in the background. Pip’s (declining) crush on Remedy was at best a nice way to show the changing relationship between the two characters in addition to Pip’s growth but mainly it was an annoying nuisance to read about. With Homage, it was worse. Not only did I find Homage’s flirts irritating but the two got jiggy with each other way too quick for me to find their relationship credible. As for Paccee’s chapter, it’s not my thing; I rolled my eyes and grumbled at its corniness rather than feeling disgusted. I’m not saying that Pip wouldn’t think about Homage if she was in love (when you’re out in the world and know you could die in the next hour, you would want to spend any minute you could with someone you love and think about them as a way to keep going), but it’s still clumsy overall.

      Almost equally faulty was the humor. Mostly it was because it usually amounted to nothing more than references to the show or some sort of sex joke. I dislike the former in almost all circumstances (it’s not funny and it’s lazy) and while I might be able to enjoy the latter, here it was just annoying. That’s not to say there weren’t some chuckle worthy (although, I have to wonder if it was intentional such as when Calamity shoots a Paladin outside Stable 2 because he wasn’t going to join the good guys [hey I like black comedy]) but honestly it broke the mood one too many times (I thinking in the final battle and Fillydelphia chapters as the main examples).

    5. Then there’s the action and violence that fills this fict. If there is anything that Kkat is first successful at, it’s showing how savage the world is. Already in the first three chapters, there’s sadistic torture, splattered guts, implied rape (of a child), and without any attempt at reducing its brutality and it helps quickly establish the law of the jungle that the world runs on (which sadly isn’t much different from the real world, particularly on the global stage). This is not very MLP like in the least bit and I wouldn’t blame a person who was squeamish for quitting early on. I’m not a person who is big into such violence (personally I prefer comic slapstick to exploding heads because the latter is often sillier, for one) but this stuff hardly bothers me (history will always be more revolting). If anything I appreciated it more because it doesn’t glorify the violence for its own sake (unlike say Fist of the North Star, which comes across as childish in comparison). If I have any complaints about it, it’s that such brutality does get old quickly and actually takes away from some of the parts (like Fluttershy’s Cottage) where extra emphasize on the sadism is necessary. So I wish Kkat held back on the graphic description in some of the more minor scenes. Again, it’s a minor criticism.

      The action on the other hand, is a horse of a different color. Now, personally I’m not a fan of action and this is a good example why; it’s over the top silly, watching as a few ponies take out more numerous (and often more deadly) foes is something that I’d expect from a popcorn movie or a video game (there are like about four bosses in this entire thing). It was these moments that pushed me out the most (the escape from the arena with the whole rollercoaster scene being a prime example). It got repetitive very quickly and only rarely (like when a character would go crazy) was I ever engaged. Then there’s ponies with guns. Some elements like the battle saddle showed plausible ways of ponies using guns but usually it just a pony with a gun that it fires from the mouth, which I find a little lazy (I have a hard time believing a culture would create a weapon that would be so impractical for it’s own use, to say nothing of recoil). I say a little, because in all fairness the fict is pretty much a more noticeable case of the inherent anthropomorphism problem of ponies that quite frankly I can’t see anyone really doing a better job at but that doesn’t make it any less silly. Look, if a technicolored horse with a gun in its mouth started shooting at me, I’d think I’d die of laughter before I’d die of blood loss.

    6. The writing was pretty good, best I could tell. The only noticeable problem I had were the jumps between sections. Sometimes it moved into a different location without set-up and I had to read the passages again just to figure out where the characters were. Not to mention the memory orb (I’m thinking of those done at Canterlot) sometimes had a rather awkward jump. For the most part, the first-person point of view was a wise choice but sometimes I scratched my head of how Pip would know certain things (I’m thinking of early in chapter 40 were she mentions how the rainboom looked across the wasteland). I also didn’t like the change in between point of view in chapter forty-four. As forty-five showed, it was entirely possible to show much of that using first-person. Also much to my dislike was in the early parts of certain chapters where Pip would talk about moments prior and their deeper meaning. Now a little reminder of hints from the past moments is fine considering the serial nature of Fallout: Equestria, but summarizing the subtext or meaning of the story and its plot and character is rather disrespectful to the reader (at least it is to me) and it interrupts the action when it’s read as a whole though.

      As for the plot itself, it had its ups and downs. It really doesn’t appear till they go to Old Appleloosa and then it goes to other smaller ones before getting into the big one of saving Equestria. Amazingly, I don’t think any plot threads distracted from that big goal and for something this long, that’s quite an accomplishment. While it rarely surprised me, this is a nice example of how to lay hints in a story that become important later on (I think of the balefire bomb and Monterey Jack as just two examples). Not everything was well integrated in though. For example, chapter 17 has Homage explain that if others knew who she was in the tower, she could be banned from it. But later at chapter 29, she mentions that the reason she isn’t kicked out is because a secret society (later revealed to be the Twilight Society) that actually runs the place. No matter how I look at it, the Twilight Society just feels like an afterthought and not an organic addition (same with the ghoul society under the ministry, I have no clue why Steelhooves wouldn’t have told them about this beforehand). And even with the explanation given, I still can’t help but see Twilight saving Pip as anything but Deus ex Machina (the explanation is also kind of dark and sinister given the fact she’s possessing another body and lets it die). Actually, Deus ex Machina (although mostly “eucatastrophe” in all fairness) appears quite a bit (the griffins showing up at Stable two put to mind Tolkien and the eagles). This isn’t a terrible thing but it does get old by the time Ditzy does her “rad-boom”.

    7. The last couple of chapters in the plot, unfortunately, were was weak for me as the first batch, although for different reasons. The part of it was here is that it is filled with clichés such as two big Hollywood action scenes. It’s hard to take any big Hollywood style battle seriously, but it’s even harder when just a few paragraphs ago jokes where being cracked about Pip’s talent and her pervertedness. Also given how important friendship is to be a user of the elements of plot device, I was disappointed that was shown the two wielders of Magic and Generosity because they also needed to bond with the group. There also a moment where Pip mentions the prologue (what she actually breaking her story down into chapters) and addresses the reader when she describes what her cutie mark meant. There I felt that Kkat and not Pip was talking and that really pushed me back. And Pip’s speech to Redeye is just as cheesy and laughable as any number of such monologues given by a story’s hero to the villain.
      The overall pacing here was rushed and I felt that too much was . There’s quite a bit more, but I’ve had my fill.

      As for the ending, at first I liked. I enjoyed how bittersweet it was and I should have seen it coming. But then I remembered certain things such as Pinkie talking to Pip in the balloon orb about “facing the fire” and the mirror, Rainbow placing the Canterlot orbs in compliance with Pinkie’s request for the sake of “this Littlepip” that she doesn’t really know anything about, the meaning of Pip’s cutie mark and I read on to learn that she was going to essentially join Celestia while she controlled the weather and still be able to communicate with her friends. I don’t find that noble in the least bit. What I saw was Pip becoming a pony Jesus, someone who was fated to “die” for the sins of Equestria. If Pinkie’s talk with Pip, Rainbow with the orbs, and the mirror were cut out, I might have agreed with Celestia when she said, “Destiny is what you make it to be.” As it was presented here, what the fict does and what its message about Pip’s action through the character’s dialogue are different. Even if the two did match, I still wouldn’t have liked the ending because Kkat pulled her punch by allowing Pip to still be able to communicate with her friend’s (and do “things” with Homage it seems). Quite frankly, I find the ending to be a disappointing (not helping is Fluttershy’s “resurrection”).

    8. So, where does that leave Fallout: Equestria overall for me. Well, I me just start by saying that I don’t think it’s hard to see why this is a popular fanfict; a huge part of it is the same reason why “Past Sins” and “My Little Dashie” are liked by a number of people in this fandom (and the show itself quite frankly). All of them are “a light in the dark” fiction, the kind that gives hope even as the horrors of Pandora’s box swarm around the setting (as the ficts tag line suggests). Yes I know plenty of people will say that’s not true for them but to deny this factor as part of it would be a bald-faced lie. All fiction is escapist in some way shape or form; it doesn’t matter if it’s got a message or not, we are still separating ourselves from the real world in order to enter (and hopefully enjoy) a fictitious one. But that doesn’t really get down to my opinion. To be honest there’s quite a bit I disliked; the romance, the action, the humor, a number of plot points, the beginning and end chapters, amongst other things. And then there are the things I did like; the characters and the exploration of the world, being the big ones. Quite frankly, I was uncertain what I thought of this overall until I reached a certain point. That would be at what was probably Pip’s lowest point, when she goes crazy at a certain town. It was at the aftermath of the event when she looked over the morality of her action, that I shot my hands up in the air and laughed because I realized that my eyes began to water (the only time while reading). To make a cynical person like myself interested in characters is hard enough (I usually could, to get me to feel empathy for them to point of a tear without cheating, is praiseworthy. These are some of the better characters I’ve seen in a work of fiction. And that’s all I ask for because life, at the end of the day, is about people, not about messages and ideas. This is the first (new) fanfict I’ve read in a long while that I enjoyed a lot (it’s going right on the favorites list) and for that reason, I do recommend it.

      Oh, and Pip is a girl, Chris, you might want to check your pronouns a little more closely.

    9. Did you have that all pre-typed?

    10. A little summary of the reasons for the war

      The war itself starts because of a failed Zebra attack against Celestia. However, that was motivated by economic conflict between the nations, but it is never clarified which side started it - in true economic fashion, it would come through a number of independent factors. In the end it wasn't a clear cut "who did it", but simply a growing social situation that allowed such ideas to flourish.

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    12. Fixing some errors.
      Soge: You were right. For some reason, I always read the "Battle at Shattered Hoof Ridge" and the attempt on Celestia as two separate things (hence my comment on the need for reminders above). This fict has so many plot points and pieces, that one's bound to forget something.

      Sessalisk: Yes, everything was pre-typed (see my comment on Celestia's Teeth) including the part about Chris needing to check the pronouns for Pip.

    13. Wow. That's a heck of a lot to digest, Bugs. Thanks for writing up such a comprehensive breakdown.

      I think you've made your views pretty clear, and I think you've substantively demonstrated both the how and why. In any case, I think you're spot-on with most of your commentary. The one thing I am going to disagree with you on is the seeming pointlessness of the war being an issue. Leaving aside questions of Celestia's/the main 6's/etc. actions, the idea of a war over something as silly as a misunderstanding over who is or isn't NMM doesn't seem in principal at all unbelievable to me. The Mexican-American War comes immediately to mind as a similarly pointless exercise, fought because the US was trying to incorporate Texas, which Mexico believed it had territorial right to despite the former successfully revolting and declaring independence ten years earlier.

      A quick look at 20th century battles reveals such gems as The Chaco War (1932-1935, fought by Bolivia and Paraguay for control of useless scrubland. Both sides were hoping there was oil there, despite there having been no previous speculation in the region; there wasn't) or even the Iraq invasion (based on intelligence suggesting that Saddam Hussein still had WMDs--which was later shown to be false, and based on testimony from extremely suspect sources). Anyway, the point is that I had no trouble believing that a relatively simple misunderstanding could be at the root of the conflict, based on human history.

      Or maybe I just have too little faith in both ponies and people sometimes.

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    15. I had an exam to deal with so that’s why I’m slow in responding.

      Waffle, what I mean by specifically references is when Kkat does a very dry copy-and-paste of the show’s dialogue to her fict often without setup (and she does this often enough for it to be worth mentioning). As an example, chapter 27 has Pip pretending to be hard of hearing and she starts speaking like Applejack does in “Applebuck Season” (“you need to go to the zoo”). It’s this that I object to because it’s a crutch and it’s not funny. As for the past, it’s not so much that it was uninteresting, so much that it wasn't as exciting as the wasteland (the characters in the wasteland feel far more alive compared to the dolls that inhabited the past, no surprise because the wasteland ones are Kkat's own characters).

      Chris and Waffle, I don’t agree that the examples you gave are comparable to Luna and Nightmare in this fict and here’s why. The problem is that I see no benefit for the zebras in removing Luna from power. After all, both sides were ready to have peace talks and they fall apart because she’s the one in power (“they sent the wrong princess”). In the case of the Mexican-American war, both sides had something to gain (Mexico could get back Texas [look at Serbia and Kosovo or the Falklands, or maybe China and Taiwan; just because one side claims independence doesn’t mean the other side accepts it] and the US could secure its claim to the Rio Grande border and snag California). In the Chaco war, it’s two poor countries with almost nothing to lose trying to get something that they believe will make things easier for them (and also serve as a distraction for their internal problems) plus the territory was in dispute (also oil was discovered in the Andean areas of Bolivia nearby, so it wasn't that illogical, still stupid though). I don’t think Iraqi had anything to do with WMD (I see the supposed nukes as an excuse to cover up an obvious attempt to increase US influence in the Middle East). And in the case of the war of the Golden Stool is just another case of the Scramble of Africa with the Ashanti trying to regain their sovereignty. I can point to the Football War (most misleading name ever) which was the result of Honduras treatment of its Salvadorian immigrants. All wars are fought because one side has something to achieve if they win. In the case of Luna, what I see is trying to remove "the great Satan". That’s the kind of propaganda to recruit soldiers, but it’s a foreign policy with no real goal or gain for the zebras (unless you want to see them as religious fanatics, which makes them too easy to villainize). For me, Kkat would have better off saying that negotiations broke down (and given what had happened before, that’s not hard to see) rather than something that quite frankly I see no long or short term benefit of. That’s why I think it’s absurd (it has a laughable factor to it).

      And it doesn’t change my overall opinion of “Fallout: Equestria”. I still enjoyed it a lot (although not as much as a lot people here did I bet) despite the problems (made more impressive is the fact that this was my fourth or fifth time trying to read this thing and I quit all times before on the first chapter).

      Glad you two liked what I wrote. This fict has so much to talk about that I couldn't hold myself back.


    Thank you for making me not be the only person who is irked by the whole "buck" thing.

    And the worst part is that the term is spreading through the fandom like some sort of disease. Bucks are male deer, goats and rabbits! Stallions and colts are male horses! *mutters incoherent obscenities*

    Seeing it hurts my soul. It doesn't happen on the show. It doesn't happen in real life. It doesn't happen anywhere but this one fanfic, and then everyone starts taking it because they think it's the right thing to use.

    It's like calling a kitten a puppy. D:

    1. At least they're differentiating between genders. Do you know how many people I've seen call a young male pony a filly? *shudder*

    2. Oh god. I know exactly what you mean. But even with that, at least they kinda have the excuse of the word "colt" having been used seldom-to-never on the show. They're just going with what they got.

      I'm probably gonna do a Take That fic one of these days where I call male ponies tomcats or cocks or something. And all female ponies will be bitches.

    3. I think FoE is widely credited with getting 'buck' in use in the fandom in this way. Personally, I like how 'buckfriend' sounds, it rolls off the tongue a little nicer than 'coltfriend', but then 'buck' is also fandom slang for 'fuck', so it has other connotations. I could see ponies using a word with buck's meaning in this way, lifting slang from the lesser beings of the world, but I would also suggest staying away from it whenever it isn't necessary.

    4. Actually, if you go by the Hearts and Hooves Day, it's actually canon to refer to a male lover who you are not engaged or married to as a "boyfriend" rather than a coltfriend OR a buckfriend. And boyfriend sounds better than both!

    5. Buckfriend could be used for a "friends with benefits" relationship

    6. Oh yes, that's a good point. H&HD actually did a lot for pony lingo, I think. It's always the author's intention to rush to ponified words for everything, but they use words like "lady" interchangeably with "mare" and so forth. Things aren't quite as difficult as we tend to make them.

    7. My bugbear is 'foalish.'

      The literal substitution is for childish, yet it is constantly used in place of foolish. Always feels like a desperate attempt at a lame pun to me; breaking any immersion every time.

    8. Yet Nightmare Moon called the mane six 'foals' in place of 'fools'. That one's canon, I'm afraid, though it should nevertheless be used with clarity when it is used.

    9. I always thought "foalish" could be used interchangeably between "childish" and "foolish", in that acting like a little kid is equally as embarrassing as being a fool.

    10. :D:D


      Sorry. *calms down*

      Yeah, unfortunately that one's canon. What that means for the actual word "foolish" idk and I almost don't want to guess. Maybe only animals or griffons use it or something.

  3. Well, time to publicly shame myself: I never read Fallout: Equestria. At least, not past the first chapter or so, and that was just as the fic was starting out. Not because it was bad (what I saw looked pretty good, and apparently the rest was at the same quality), or because it was a bizarre combination of things, or even because it was gory. No, it came down to one simple thing.

    I don't like Fallout. Ever since I picked up the second game (after hearing it's the greatest thing ever blah blah blah a million times over) and found myself missing giant geckos with spears for hours before I found a decent gun, I've basically been tainted against this franchise as a whole. I've even rented 3 and New Vegas just to see if it was just the one game; the former was just eh, and the latter bricked my Xbox.

    I know, I'm a horrible, petty person, but that's the long-short of it. I just can't stand one of the franchises involved in the crossover, so I just lost interest. And by the time it had finished, I was already neck-deep in a ton of other things and didn't have time to look at it anymore.

    But hey, it's the first story on this blog to get five stars in a long while, so maybe when I have nothing to do I'll take another look.

  4. This review kind of made me sad as I 100% completely disagree with it :<

    The story opens up extremely flat, and I mean beyond extreme. "I am bored. Also lesbian. I leave home and everything I've ever known because I have no friends and I am bored. Also I am in lesbians." This is what I gathered of Little Pips character. And her interactions with the outside world actually didn't help this 'bland' character to develop. When she was threatened with actual death for the first time she responded with 'shock' for all of 1 minute, before wielding a shotgun with expertise and saying "Yeah I can easily kill you without it hurting my moral conscious" even if its very slightly implied that's not true, the author doesn't do a good job of portraying otherwise.

    And its something that repeatedly happens throughout the fic. When Little Pip got riddled by bullets, I found myself just -not caring- that she was hurt. When she went to go fight the slavers camp I found her acting extremely stupid and near-sighted for someone who JUST LEFT EXTREME SAFETY a few days ago and was now gunning straight for the world's throat? Also how quickly her name got spread around? I know its making parallels to the Game, but the Game had gameplay reasons for why it did things, the fic just does them because the game did them.

    Little Pips character develops far too slowly and out of nowhere, because she has been a none character in the early chapters. And to me this is a horrible, horrible way to get the reader invested in your story. I can not get myself to care about Little Pip, or Little Pip's adventure, or her reason for doing anything she is doing in the world because there's nothing there to care about. No depth, no emotions, no real conflict. I can't even bring myself to finish the story because when I try to read more I get so bored of reading a cardboard cut out going through 'Fallout' that there's nothing of interest for me.

    Maybe the history really is interesting, maybe the world is unique (even if copy and pasted from the game), maybe the other characters are interesting (I can certainly tell you I cared more about almost everyone Little Pip talked to than I ever did about Little Pip) and maybe there's an excellent story in here. But I can't get into it, I can't follow the story, I can't care about any of it because there's no character for me to follow in the world enjoyably.

    I've tried reading this story on three separate occasions and each time I just come to the same conclusion that there is nothing here for me to enjoy. I'd go into even more depth with my review, but I'm a little tired right now and doubt anyone even cares, or shares my opinion.

    1. Your opinion is shared by more people than you might think.

    2. Why does it make you sad? Is it just that you don't like it when other people enjoy something you don't? Or are you feeling a sense of loss? Are you feeling sad because you realize that if such an intelligent and astute critic like Chris rates the story highly, then there is merit to it that you just can't see, and your personal opinions are causing you to miss out on something great?

    3. Jake-

      It's interesting that most of your problem seems to be with Pip's character development, where I felt that was one of the stronger points of the story. I won't argue about the combat being dull (because I mostly agree with you), but I would never have called her a cardboard character.

      To me, the definition of such is a character who's lacks clear personality traits, is inexplicably inconsistent in his/her approach to ethics, socializing, and life in general, and (this is the big one) who I couldn't describe without resorting to either physical description or a list of actions he/she takes from the story. If asked to describe Pip, I'd say something like:

      "Pip is a classic case of high intelligence/low wisdom. She has an insatiable curiosity, and often doesn't think through the consequences of pressing for answers when tact, or simple common sense, would suggest one should let it rest. She is easily upset by what she perceives as unfairness or injustice, and often tries to right perceived wrongs, even when she has incomplete information. She's also exceptionally passionate, the type of person/pony who's prone to go into hysterics and then cool off, rather than bottle things up and let them stew. She has a strong sense of loyalty to her friends, but also has trust issues; even those closest to her find her difficult to reason with."

      I could go on, but I think I've made clear why I view her as a well-developed and reasonably nuanced character.

      I'm NOT typing all this as a way of saying "I'm right and you're wrong," by the way. Successful characterization seems to me to be one of the most subjective elements of any story, fanfic or otherwise. I'm just trying to show my own reasoning, since I didn't expend a lot of words on it up top. Hopefully, that makes my opinions a little clearer (whether or not they're any more palatable to you).

      2nd Anon-

      As much as I do enjoy being described as "intelligent and astute," I don't think there was anything offensive (or even particularly confrontational) about Jake's post. "This review kind of made me sad as I 100% completely disagree with it," is a whole world away from "you're an idiot, what were you thinking when you wrote this?" And even that I wouldn't really mind as long as the hypothetical commenter was willing and able to back it up.

  5. Dang. By the time I finished reading the review, there were already 15 comments. Probably more by the time I finish typing this out.

    So yeah. Fallout. I was never big into the first two games, and while I had played a moderate amount of Fallout 3, enough to recognize a lot of the references and plot points kkat used, it wasn't until I played through New Vegas (a standalone sequel to FoE) and its add-ons this past weekend that I realized quite how many of the games' plot points kkat... adapted to Fallout: Equestria.

    I think it'd be quite silly of me to say I disliked the story, considering how Lacuna is structured around certain key elements of FoE, but I feel like a lot of the magic wears off the more I play the actual games and find parallels. *shrug*

    Also, since I'm not reading through the pages and pages of comments that have already piled up, I felt it's worth noting that you reference Littlepip as a male character several times throughout your post, but she is definitely a she.

    1. To be fair, "Pip" is a male name. Thanks for the catch (to you and Bugs both), I'll go clean that up.

  6. If you enjoyed reading Fallout: Equestria at all, you need to give Project Horizons a try.
    I'm way too close to sleep to write a proper recommendation, but it's my damn obligation to do so anyways! If you only read one spinoff of FoE, then don't read Project Horizons because it is a huge step above all of the others. The author, Somber, creates an extremely engaging main cast of character. There are tons of great backstory exploring and expanding on that in the original. The action scenes are phenomenal, more exciting and believable than 99.9999% of all action moves, despite the presence of freaking magic. There's a huge mystery at the center of Hoofington, lying dormant for 200 years. Hell, there's really gold comedy too! There's a huge list of things to recommend PH, and because I'm 2/3 asleep I'm missing most of it here this is probably a horrible recommendation. There's also a few thousand spoilers that, described in depth, would hook many of you into reading the story but are just SO DAMN GOOD that it would be a shame to spoil them. But anyways, two days ago was the one year anniversary for Project Horizons. Over the past 52 weeks, there have been 46 chapters released, and the story is incredibly still moving along with it's many readers fully engaged, immersed, and clamoring for the next chapter. You will find many people who enjoyed the original honestly tell you that PH is, for them, more enjoyable or even just plain better.

    Many people say to read PH at the least through chapter 6. This isn't because "It gets really good at chapter X" syndrome. The first five chapters are comparable in quality between the original and PH. But the infamous chapter 6 really cements just what Project Horizons is all about, and how mind-blowingly amazing it is. Chapter six is the turning point of no return where you will read the next forty chapters because what you have read so far is one of the best pieces of fiction you have ever read. And it has kept on becoming even better by leaps and bounds. And Somber is still writing new chapters.

    Because I've posted this on a review site, I'm obligated to say that it's not a story for everyone. There are those who get turned off by how Dark the story gets. But the chances that you will not only enjoy reading the story, random person reading this, but find it to be one of the best stories you've ever read, are too high not to charge screaming at you to give it a go.

    "Hush now, quiet now..."

    1. Chapter 6 ruined that song forever for me. I can't even see Stare master or listen to remixes any more.

      Project Horizons also really expands on the reasons for the war in interesting ways. Also, its villains are much better than in the original FoE. In the original you might understand their reasons, but Horizons can make you hate someone with a passion, only to slowly make them sympathetic, in a way that is rarely seem in fiction. You may hate them, but you will be sad to see them go.

      In the topic of side stories "Pink Eyes" also deserve praise. It is essentially FoE through the eyes of a foal. The "lol speech" can get grating, but it has great emotional moments.

    2. I do love me some Project Horizons. The really noteworthy things about it, I think, are the characters and their interactions. I love the original FoE, but if you put a gun to my head and demanded to know who my favorite character from it was, I'd have problems. Velvet, I guess, maybe? All I can say with certainty is that it's definitely not Homage.

      I don't have that problem with PH in the slightest. I could rank them and give adequate reasons why without much effort. In fact, one of the mainer characters (Rampage, specifically) is easily my favorite original character from any pony story by a wide margin.

      It's definitely much, much darker than the original, though, and that's putting it lightly. That goes beyond the actual events, too; some of the themes and questions it considers are rather... mature, I guess, for lack of a better word that I can think of. Despite that, it's very important to note that it's still all in service of the story and is never dark just for the sake of it. Very effectively and memorably, in some cases--33, anybody?

      In short, Somber has come a LONG way as an author since Simply Rarity, and it shows here.

      If we're tossing out other sidefic recommendations, "Murky Number Seven" started relatively recently but has quickly shot up my personal list to just behind PH. If it doesn't end up getting its own post on EQD eventually, I'll buy a hat for the express purpose of eating it.

    3. I'm going to agree, Alex. (Look at me, making cultural references half the readers probably won't even get.)

      PH takes the aspects that make FOE so good and turns them up to eleven. My favorite comparison is to say that FOE is like the whole Star Wars trilogy -- an powerful tale full of strong characters involved in an epic quest. PH is like Empire -- a highly character-focused story that really delves each individual and what makes them tick.

      It's a "smaller" story, in that the action is generally limited to one city rather than an entire wasteland, but that just means you get to know the place that much better. It has an even stronger theme of "the sins of the past" than FOE does, and an ironically more diverse cast of villains, adversaries, and morally gray allies.

      Now, yes, that means it also turns up the grimdark to 11. But honestly, if you made it through FOE, you're prepared. Moreover, it manages to overcome the jaded...ness... that an FOE reader builds up over the course of the story. FOE made me cry at chapter 2, when Pip first saw the burned-out husk of Ponyville and I realized that this was indeed taking place in the ruins of the Equestria I know and love, and at chapter 17, when she found a certain unsent message in the MoM hub. For the most part, I grew accustomed to the horror and sadness after that. PH brought me to tears again, and that's not an easy thing to do.

      P.S. While I don't have the reaction of "I can't listen to that song now", I do get a little twitch when I see the word PLAY in all caps.

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  7. I really liked the review. It hit most of the points that make FoE a great book, to the point I believe it deserves praise even beyond being "A great fanfiction".

    One thing that always strike me as important is that it uses the MLP setting in such a way that the history could not be done, at least with nearly as much charm and emotion, without being fanfiction. If you take MLP out, you are just dealing with unknown characters dealing with a war many years ago. The way they relate with each other is very important to understand not only how the wasteland came to be, but also why its existence is so tragic.

    I believe that this usage of the fanfiction medium is what makes FoE great. Otherwise, we would be simply seeing ponies killing and have adventures. Indeed, many of the spin-offs seem to miss the point that it is not good because it is fallout with Ponies, but instead Ponies becoming fallout that makes it interesting (besides the great characterizations and etc.)

    1. I found it especially chilling how FoE didn't just make the Equestrian Wastelands a possible future, but made it downright -probable-.

  8. Oh man, reading this made me so nostalgic. Back in the day...

    Brilliant story and a great review, but I enjoy Project Horizons more (which is saying something).

    Still, this is one of the epics and deservedly so. So many good memories, man. So, so many good memories...

  9. I was a bit nervous to hear that you were reviewing Fallout: Equestria because you are ever so good at exposing the flaws of fics that I might not have picked up on when I read them. But I am glad nonetheless to see that you gave this fic the praise that it really deserves. Plus it makes me more glad that I bought an amateur published version (which I'll hopefully be getting in August :D).

    And as Derpmind said, you should review Project Horizons when it's finished. Although that may take a while to happen, considering how freaking huge the story already is.

    1. I plan to do so when it's complete... I think. I just need to figure out when I'm going to find the time to read a behemoth like that!

  10. Well that tears it. There's no way I'm reading Past Sins before I read this. Now it's just a question of when.

    Let's talk shipping vs. grimdark for a moment, since you brought it up and I'm always quick to defend shipping.

    The statement that shipping doesn't fit with the show's aesthetic is, in my mind, a faulty one, especially when grimdark is mentioned in the same breath. In a show about friendship, love is but the next step; violence, death, even foul language go entirely against that, and this is something that grimdark authors need to keep in mind when they write and/or complain about how everyone hates grimdark. Except they never do; everyone hates shipping instead for reasons I will never understand.

    And then you had to go and talk about making the characters lesbians. I ask you: how are they not? In the entirety of two season, we have seen a handful of heterosexually married couples (the Cakes, Twilight and Rarity's parents, Shining Armor and Cadence). We have seen two character with professed romantic leanings: Rarity is either heterosexual or bisexual, Spike is Rarity-sexual. There is, then, nothing that states anything about any other character in the show. They are all thus Schroedinger's orientation, and as it is the job for fandom to remix and reimagine its source material, why not fill in the holes with something? (Oh gosh, that sounds terrible, I'm so sorry. D:) It's human nature to project one's own desires onto such characters. If one is interested in romance in one's own life, then one is likely to write about characters who are as well.

    I personally tend to think that, outside of any given application within a fan creation, all the characters are equal opportunity and sexuality is not as big a deal in Equestria as it is in our world. That a majority of pairings are F/F speaks simply to the vast majority of Equestria, and certainly of characters with actual personalities, being female.

    Meanwhile, we have had bloodless violence in the show, primarily the pie fight in Over a Barrel and the amazing but utterly pointless dustup between the mane six and the changelings in A Canterlot Wedding. But the former was pretty thoroughly portrayed within its episode as being wrong, while the latter fits into the "don't be doormat" angle previously explored in Griffon the Brush-Off. (To put that in more fandom-centric terms, love and tolerate unless something's at stake. It's okay to stand up for what's right and fight to defend yourself.)

    So to place grimdark and shipping on the same level of theme-breaking as one another is, to my mind, a gross oversight of just what the show is about. Unless of course you believe, as some have quite honestly stated, that the show is in fact grimdark at its core. I'm not kidding. Somebody said that not just as an excuse to have lots of violence in a story, but because they actually believe it. Me, I can believe that our characters will find love someday when they're ready for it, either with each other or with others, and I don't much care which.

    1. Oh, and I must take a moment for my usual snarking about the clop chapter. It's still there, right? :V

    2. Depends which chapter you mean.

      The one actually in the story where Kkat alludes that Littlepip might have masturbated, but left vague? Or the chapter written by Pacce that Kkat said could be taken as optional canon (like a movie "deleted scene") because while it starts as porn, it takes a jarring turn into deep character development that echoes/foreshadows stuff Kkat had planned?

      Hell, I guess it doesn't matter that much. The answer is either "if you want to read it that way" or "if you want to read it".

    3. I seem to recall the number being something like 21.5, so it's probably the latter. All I know is, Kkat somehow snuck porn onto EQD, and it's been a thorn in their side ever since.

    4. Ah, and it was actually 20.5. I knew I was off by 1.

    5. Yeah, that Pacce chapter was... well, it was certainly... um...


      Anyway, to PP's point: I'm going to double down, and say that ponies having sex, regardless of gender involved, is on the same general level as pony bloodshed in terms of distance from source material (I'll concede there was no need to single out lesbian ponies; it's just that so much of what I read IS lesbian ponies, I sometimes forget that saying 90% of shipfics are f/f isn't the same as saying that 90% of ponies in shipfics are homosexual). It's clear that both exist in the shows universe; the royal guard aren't carrying around spears just for show (or maybe they are nowadays, but they wouldn't have them in the first place if there wasn't a time when they were necessary to military duties), the presence of castles suggests that siege warfare was common at one time, etc., and all those babies have to come from somewhere. But ponies engaging in sex acts will never be part of the show, and neither will one pony murdering another, because those aren't appropriate to the aesthetic of the show. Or to the target audience, for that matter.

      None of which means a story can't have those things, as I said above, but I think authors ought to make an effort to justify significant departures from the source material.

    6. I'm entirely willing to believe that the guard spears are just for show anymore. Which leads to fun ideas like the fat idyll of Equestrian life and unpreparedness for attack. I know at least someone has considered this, with the Elements disappearing and the rest of Equestria having to learn to fend for itself.

      Anyway, the big difference between murder and sex is thus: pony sex is Word of Faust canon. We've seen the aftereffects in the show, with a promiscuity joke to boot. Violence on the other hand is canonically verboten: the ponies are one minor conflict away from being frozen to death by wendigoes, as I tend to enjoy reminding those who try to justify pony on pony violence.

      Furthermore, I chafe at the suggestion that we must justify departures from the source material. From canon, certainly, and any attempt to deviate from tone must be done knowingly. But we have no obligation to live up to the show's target audience. In fact, I argue that the point of fandom creations is to take the source material and go above and beyond it. Producers and writers have things like decency laws and target audiences to think of; we have none, therefore it's our duty, if you will, to do with the characters and settings what the creators thereof cannot. We're the ones who mix them with other IPs, put the characters into relationships they would otherwise never have, dream up reasons for why things happen, insert ourselves into the mix, and yes, take things to their logical human extremes of emotion.

      That is the beauty of fandom, good sir, and I will thank you not to put a leash upon it until such time as we must reign our creative drives ourselves or face their destruction. Kind of melodramatic there, but that's what I believe.

    7. Isn't war canon? Rarity sang about a tank. Rainbow Dash sangs about bullets. Twilight Sparkle's first reaction to Twilight Sparkle is to ask if the future holds "an epic pony war". I can get why someone would want to deny that war and violence are part of the world of My Little Pony. But that requires purposefully putting on blinders.

      I once heard someone argue that the fight in Over the Barrel only makes sense if the "actual" event really was a war of violence and bloodshed, and that the pies are like the little smiley faces that cover characters nipples in a recent MMO -- they are there to be kid-safe and let things slide past the censors, but we all know what is really going on underneath.

    8. The language is canon. War's canon the minute we have war on screen and not a second before. Ponies do not go to war, not with other ponies at least, and if they do, the wendigoes come and freeze them to death. Which is fun, because it means that friendship is the only thing keeping Equestrian society from extinction.

      That explanation for OaB doesn't make sense, because Thunderhooves was not in fact hurt in any way. He was "shot" in the head and came back to life. It was a pie fight.

    9. Well, that's definitely a viewpoint. And as valid a opinion as the ones you disagree with.

    10. Oh blast. Chris, I forgot to point something out in your post and it's been bothering me ever since. You did the one thing a lot of anti-shippers do: conflated shipping with sex.

      Shipping is about relationships. Yes, sex can be implied in any relationship, but it's also implied in the show because Word of Faust and Mrs. Cake having babies. Bringing it into a discussion about shipping trivializes the genre (if I may use the word) and ends up with me accidentally trying to defend clopfics, which are truly indefensible if you're talking about show tone.

      So, uh, don't do that? Please? It makes me sad. :( Writing shipping without sex is easy as hell, after all.

    11. You're right PP, I am ignoring sexless shipping. Fair point; I apologize.

      As for the rest, I suspect that the inspecific language we (read: I) have been using is making it look like we're farther apart on this than we really are. When I talk about "show tone," I mean it quite literally: something that could appear on the show itself. Insofar as that goes, I think both sex (not including sexless shipping) and "serious" violence are equally huge departures. Neither could ever be shown on the show, period.

      Further, when I say that departures from show tone should always be justified, I'm using it according to the M-W definition, "to prove or show to be just, right, or reasonable," specifically relating to that last word. Reasonable in this context means to me that the story could not be constructed in such a way that the departure could be eliminated without doing damage to the story as a whole, and further that the departure doesn't significantly alter the workings of Equestria as shown on the show (unless those alterations are further justified, following the same criteria). This doesn't seem to me an unreasonable thing to ask; as a general rule, any story element or sub-plot which doesn't meet those criteria should probably not be in one's story in the first place. But especially with departures from the source material, it's important not to include such elements haphazardly. For example, a fanfic about Pinkie baking a cake for Dash which includes a scene seemingly unrelated to the rest of the story where Applebloom falls down a well and gets rescued by Fluttershy is quite a bit different from one which contains a scene seemingly unrelated to the rest of the story where Applebloom falls in a well and drowns. Both need fixing, but the latter is much more jarring and is less likely to be casually accepted by the reader. Likewise, a scene seemingly unrelated to the rest of the story where Pinkie goes to deliver some muffins to Lyra and Bon-Bon and ends up having a three-way with them before going back to Sugarcube corner to bake that cake is going to stick out like a sore thumb.

      Okay, hopefully now I'm expressing myself more clearly. Am I right in thinking that our disagreement is at least partially a misunderstanding?

    12. Are we disagreeing? (I'm sorry!) Because we sound entirely on the same page to me now. :B

      Sex and violence should always be justified, though sometimes the justification is "I'm going to write a clopfic now", and then one comes at the story with a certain level of reduced expectations. I think the misunderstanding was due to me trying to defend relationships, which are not entirely against show tone, versus violence, which is.

      So, yeah, it's all your fault. >:B

  11. As much as I agree that FO:E does a brilliant job of staying interesting, I can't agree that it did it consistently all the way through.

    Up to before they set off for the ruins of Canterlot, everything is spiffy, but both the lead up and execution of that section felt HORRIBLY laborious. I literally had bouts of dissonance over whether to continue reading at that point. The asides leading up to Canterlot literally felt like completing all those side quests in the game that you'd been ignoring. They were all excellently executed, but it stopped feeling like a natural progression from one bit to the next. Maybe I just didn't appreciate the idea of Littlepip following a plan he'd wiped from his own memory, but once they were on the offensive, it just lost that struggle-for-survival feel that held everything together prior to that segment.

    Also, the Ruins of Canterlot scene went on FOREVER. It felt to me, like Kkat had backed himself into a corner plot-wise, and had to finish doing his history expose while dragging out the narrative to support it. Again, the flashbacks are really good, which just makes it worse. I wanted it to be better, but the dragging sensation was marring my enjoyment of what should have been an even better story!

    Lastly, the whole ending was pretty much a flop with me. The logic behind it didn't seem logical, and it didn't feel like the result of everything that went before it; it felt a little tacked-on. Then, as Chris noted, it seemed to undermine it's own sense of sacrifice by mitigating the cost of victory.

    But, in the end, the fact that I still adore this fic with a passion must speak volumes about how good it is when it's good. I'll gladly take a look at PH when it's finished, but until then, this is my #1 fic in the fandom, and pretty highly rated outside of it, too.

    1. Oh yeah, and PP reminded me...

      I loved the idea behind Homage, and I like the character itself, but good lord that whole relationship had the stench of must-have-love/sex-in-this-fic-ism. It's one of the few things that I think would have improved things if it had been taken out. I mean, you can still have them idolise each other in a platonic fashion for what they do, and not undermine her value to Lil'pip later on.

      The only other thing I think I would remove entirely is the Canterlot vault. It really didn't seem to be relevant to the overall plot, and appeared at the end of an already far-too-long segment without a change-up of pace.

  12. I hope one day, when Horizons is finished, it gets a similar excellent review. It'll probably get one star and sum up as 'Long, whiny, horribly writen, sueish characters,pretentious, illegible, and did I mention LONG?" but at least it will be done with professional skill and finesse.

    I love Fo:E and Kkat, but this review touched on several things I have to agree with. The start is a bit slow. It took until Chapter 6-7 for the story to really hook me. It was interesting but hadn't really grabbed me. Then she made me cry for Diamond Tiara and I knew that no matter what I thought about the characters or the setting, that the writer would be worth the story. Kinda the same reason I read King...

    However, the ending of FoE was always a problem for me. It's great right up to Canterlot (which I think is a perfect example of a schordinger's armory coming to fruition, though the chapter should have been split it two at Stable One.) but after that things got a little harder to follow. Then the Goddess is dealt with almost perfunctorily. I expected a whole chapter and a reversal... but nope. Bomb goes boom... next. The death of red eye and Autumn Leaf were also done quite quick and pat. I wondered if Red-Eye had a clone of himself hidden away for if this went wrong... but he apparently didn't.

    The big mistake for me is the death of Autumn Leaf before chapter 44. When he dies, the story no longer has a focused antagonist. Sure the Enclave is out there, but the Enclave is like 'Al-quida', a nebulous detached enemy. It's a lot easier to hate and fear Osama Bin Laden than Al-quida in general... well prior to his death, that is. So I would have rather the Colonel returned to Neighvarro, set up some final 'scorched earth' plan, a final show down, and then the anticlimax. Maybe LittlePip makes the 100 speech check and convinces him to give up? That would have been an interesting twist too, and it would have kept the tension up in 42 and 43.

    There were also ALOT of unanswered questions. So many that half of Horizons is dedicated to exploring them. Why did Rarity give up on her Soul Armor? How could the Goddess not know about the Gardens of Equestria? How did the war start? Where did the ministries come from? There are some that even I won't answer, such as what happened to Rainbow Dash? (I'm guessing mothership Zeta! :P)

    1. >'Long, whiny, horribly writen, sueish characters,pretentious, illegible, and did I mention LONG?"


      I enjoy PH more than I ever did FoE, and I enjoyed FoE a great deal.

      You sure you can't make it up for Everfree? I owe you a drink (at least) for how much you've given us through your writing.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. The Goddess is the Master. The party is in possession of a nuke. So, She gets nuked like in the game.

      Sometimes, the re-hearsing of the games in FoE gets annoying. Good thing that PH dispenses with most of it.

  13. F:E was a story I avoided for a long time. Most of the tags were things I didn't like: Grimdark, nearly exclusively OCs, and a crossover with a videogame? Yuck!

    Strangely enough, it was an animated comic version of the first chapter on Deviant Art that got me to give it a try. I'm so glad I did. Because F:E was the one thing I absolute must have in a fanfic... it was entertaining. It engaged me from the first and kept me interested to the last.

    And there's a whole lot of mainstream movies, TV, and books that can't manage to do that.

  14. Really. This TRASH gets five stars from you? I guess this is one less blog I'm following. FO:E is a giant "Fuck You" to not only FiM, but the entire Fallout series (And I'm an oldschool Fallout fan). It is by far the worst fanfic I've ever read.

    Of course, what else you expect from a torture porn enthusiast like Kat?

    1. Obvious Troll is Obvious.

      Unless you're serious, in which case you can have your opinion, and you hate too, but those don't make an argument.

    2. Oh hi, Nihilistic_One! Wondered how long it would take you to troll here. Grabbed a new name, I see. Taking trolling hints from RiotPolice now, are you?

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. 47 comments? Dang, you've struck the right chord with this one haven't you Chris?

    The only exposure to Fallout I've had was playing F: New Vegas, and the complexity of the factions - how none are completely good or bad - struck me like a hammer on an Easy mode Whack-a-Mole. I suspect that the moral gray-ness is one of Fallout's key story elements (again, I don't know much about the series); while that may "cheapen" the brilliance of the blurred lines in this fanfic for some, knowing that it the games came up with it first, I'd think that to be able to express and develop this aspect in words is no mean feat, and I'm really tempted to give it a go just to see how Kkat accomplishes this.

    But yeah, 47 comments and counting. Gosh.

  16. When Fallout:Equestria:

    First appeared at EqD, I stopped halfway through the first sentence because I couldn't imagine anything like that ever happening in Equestria. All fiction relies on the "willing suspension of disbelief," after all, and, well, I just plain wasn't willing.

    In preparing for Chris's review, though, I got to the end of Chapter Nine, but that's as far as I'll be going. The swearing and the bloodshed just caused me too much cognitive dissonance, and Pip's transformation from semi-bumbling cubicle worker to incredibly competent "first-person shooter" went way too quickly for me. The whole "side story" aspect of the structure, too, made me feel like I was spinning my wheels most of the time rather following an overall plot, but that's also the reason I don't watch a lot of TV, I've come to realize... :)

    I salute the author for making something that so many people enjoy, but it's just not for me.


  17. I'd not argue about the quality of a story I haven't read.
    But I would ask: No matter how believable, no matter how true to theme, no matter how likable the characters or compelling the story, why would you ever want to read a post-apocalyptic Equestria fic? Why would you want to read a fic about ponies existing in (not just visiting) a hellish world full of cannibals and rape monsters and evil?

    1. Because post-apocalyptic stories are wholly engrossing to some, regardless of the setting. I haven't even figured out why.

      Check out My Little Metro sometime.

  18. Phew. That was a long story. I started reading it in March of this year, and hammered out the first quarter of the fic within a couple weeks. Since then, my drive to read pony fanfic went down, and I ended up reading no more than one chapter every two or three weeks (And not reading through the entire months of August and October). Around the time I finished the first quarter, I convinced myself to play Fallout 3 (about which I knew nothing other than being a very popular game a few years back). I read the second half of the story over the past four days in order to finish it before the new year. I read through the night, and finished reading this review and all of the replies this morning (still haven't gone to sleep). Boy am I exhausted!

    I want to agree with Chris on about 90% of his points. I don't feel like making a longpost as most of my thoughts has already been said, but if you've seen my posts on EQD, I'm prone to it. I have some good points and some bad points to the story that I think are the most important. The good points all regard Chris' thoughts on Littlepip's personality and development. There is little I want to add to it.

    I was quick to mention hardly any praise to the story. Some of the bad points, on the other hand, may need to be repeated as some really irked me. Good points will sneak into this as I write by topic, not by listing pros and cons.

    There are spoilers here. You should have read the story by now.

    First off was Homage's character. I found her an important character in that she was Littlepip's source of comfort, solace, hope, and shame. I say shame because of Littlepip's actions in Arbu, her exposure to taint, and her general mindset throughout the story. One thing that she does a lot is question the morality of her actions, but the same thought will pop into her head one way or another – “What will Homage think?”

    My negative thoughts of Homage mirror those of everyone else in this thread. Those sex jokes and sexual teasing really got me to cringe a lot. Not because they're sex jokes/teasing (heck, I watch South Park and Always Sunny a lot), but because the jokes seemed way out of place. Even though they got old in my mind, somehow they never got old to the characters. Littlepip overreacted too many times to the teasing for it to be funny. I understand that she is the smallest, and it comes with the territory, but she knows they're always joking. I would've expected her, by the 4th incident to wave a hoof, saying “Yeah, yeah. Give it a rest.” It was somewhat funny up until they started teasing Littlepip over the number “31.” Even the stoic Xenith had her chance at teasing in her unusual zebra way. Minus the DJ Pon3 broadcasts, I can guess about 80% of Homage's dialogue was sexually teasing Littlepip's, and nearly all of it seemed unnecessary.

    1. Now some of you mentioned references, and how lazy they were. I will have to disagree with most. Sometimes when you're reading a fic like this (OCs, etc), it's easy to forget that Kkat is still writing using themes from MLP. The random quotes and silly references are just that – random quotes and silly references. As long as they don't pull on for too long, they don't cause any damage. For example: the talking brahmin that calls her other half “Herbert” just to get on his nerves; the minor reference, at best, reminded us of the source material, and at worst, 3-paragraph filler.

      Continuing on with references, I could tell when Kkat was writing the chapters based on the references to the show. In the later chapters, the references progressively moved through Season 2. None of them seemed like an issue except Lionheart's voice. The Royal Canterlot Voice and the Royal “We” were both elements solved by the end of the 30 minute episode. Assuming the events in Nightmare Night took place, there is no need for the RCV. The Royal “We” basically means “God and I” when used by royalty. This was to ascend the status of monarchs. Even though “Goddes and I” may work, it wouldn't have been used by a guard. The RCV and “We” seemed like one of those references that went on for too long.

      Pinkie Pie. Ugh. I think Bugs has voiced my opinions the best. The first memory orb of Pinkie Pie using her Pinkie Sense to notice Littlepip merely got an eye-roll from me. A lot of references did that. This one tends to rustle my jimmies a bit because the fandom tends to overplay Pinkie's powers. Now mind you, I would've thrown my ipod (reader) to the cement if Kkat wrote in a 4th wall breakage, but that was never the case. In my current memory, there are only two instances of 4th wall breakage, and not just “leaning” on it – the conclusions to both Over a Barrel and Magic Duel. I could go into a whole conversation about the 4th wall, but back to the point – Pinkie seeing Littlepip. As mentioned, the first instance was just silly and overlooked. The instance in the Canterlot orb was downright horrible. The fact that Pinkie's drug rehabilitation and planting of the orbs just for Littlepip seemed so unbelievable even after rewatching Feeling Pinkie Keen.

      That's it for now. My brain is tired from all the reading and typing I've done since 5pm yesterday (3pm now).

    2. I forgot to mention this:

      Lionheart seemed like the most out of place major-ish character in the final chapters. He just shows up out of nowhere, destroys the heck out of everything, and never appears when the heroes are in Canterlot (or did I miss him). He just seemed like one big Action-Sue. Mouse was more in place than him because it actually had an explanation.

      This doesn't mean I didn't like his concept, or how he pulled off his battles. The way he rams the Pink-filled ship into the Thunderhead, and utilizes the broadcaster's death-beam was horrifyingly awesome, and it brought me back to my manga-reading days. In the Hellsing manga, Alucard is tasked with taking a Nazi aircraft carrier. What does he do? He completely corrupts the stealth bomber he is flying, and rams it into the carrier, corrupting that with his black power.

      I just wish Lionheart was explained a little better, and not just thrown in as a last second Deus Ex Machina character. He is really awesome, but appears so late, absent when he should've been in Canterlot, that it makes me think much less of his character.

    3. You make some good points, but... 80%? Really? I'll never understand how some people can completely ignore everything Homage does or says in the story that isn't innuendo and teasing. Yeah, she does it a lot, and it is memorable (particularly since it is usually funny). But when I think of Homage, outside of being DJ Pon3, I think of all the other scenes: Homage and Littlepip getting drunk together, the telekinetic water fight on the rooftop, the talks about the stars, Homage getting upset when Littlepip sneaks a peek at her memories, and so much more.

      Yeah, the sexual teasing was common, but you are grossly misrepresenting here.

    4. You're right. I didn't really list any of the significant scenes of Homage. I assume most of Homage's good points have already been said. If not, I'll repeat that Homage is extremely important to Littlepip's development. Many times throughout the story, Littlepip daydreams of relaxing away from all of the bloodshed with Homage. When Littlepip thinks of home, she thinks of Homage, not Junction R-7.

      But I still hold steadfast that a majority of Homage's dialogue (and any dialogue when she is nearby) is sexual teasing. I'll partly renege on the "unnecessary" line. If there had been just enough teasing to show Homage's character as openly sexual, I would be fine. There's just too much too often which pushes it past character description, and pushes it into distracting.

      It took me a couple weeks to read to chapter 24, listening along with Scorch's audiobooks (reading and listening helps me absorb the text better). After that, I read two chapters monthly or so. I really only read the 2nd half in the 4 days before New Years. Since it took me so long to read this story, I'll be reading it again. Now I know I can finish it in about 2 weeks.

      After I'm done, I'll read another Fallout story. Any suggestions on what Fallout story to read next? I prefer stories that stick to the canon the best. I can start Project Horizons, but I don't want to stop, and wait for the author. I got screwed on that with Silent Ponyville 3. Now that I see the date when Chapter 6 was released, it was the CAUSE for me to read FO:E. Pink Eyes is finished. I've read partway into the first chapter, and I'm not pleased with the dialogue. Does it get better?

    5. The "lolspeek" on Pink Eyes is irritating, but there is enough other stuff on that story to make it work, and Puppy Smiles becomes a great way to see the wasteland later on. Also it is short and complete.

      Project Horizons is great, probably better than the original. Blackjack is a more interesting protagonist than Pip, and each of the supporting cast could easily support an history of their own. Also, The sex stuff isn't nearly as irritating, Somber writes some of the best action scenes I have ever read (I normally hate those), and it is a lot more graphic. It suffers from some too-convenient (for good or bad) happenings sometimes, but is an excellent story nonetheless. It is also longer than the original, sitting at 1.1M words now, almost double the size of FoE. And Somber updates frequently (Used to be almost once a week, but the last few chapters had some delays) with novel-sized chapters.

      Heroes is nice, but is very different in tone. The protagonist is more morally grey, and he fails a lot more. The politics side of it is clever, but it updates slowly, so you might wanna wait if that irks you.

      I also heard great things about Murky Number Seven, but I haven't read it yet.

    6. Not long after I made that post over a year ago, I attempted a read through Fallout Equestria a second time. It had taken me such a long time to read that I may have forgotten or missed important details.

      I'd like to change my opinion on Homage's character. A good amount of her dialogue is devoted to sexual teasing, but it doesn't bother me nearly as much as I remember. It's just part of her cheerful character. It's not really obnoxious to me anymore -- not during the second read.

      As for my next read, I'll be starting Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons by the weekend. Although it isn't finished, there is plenty to read between now and then. I suspect Somber will have it done by the time I get to the most recent chapter. Instead of reading it awfully slowly like my first time through FOE, I'll be diligent with this story.

  19. Having just finished reading this... thing... And then rereading your post here and my comments, I swear you and I read completely different stories with the same character. c.c I am currently working on my own writeup, hopefully tomorrow. I dunno, it's like all the things that bothered me didn't bother you in the slightest I AM SO CONFUSED WHAT TO THINK D:

  20. This is why I love Fallout: Equestria:

    "This is not a story about "right" or "wrong;" it's a tale of good intentions gone horribly awry, and even the nominal villains often prove to share goals with the protagonists; what separates Littlepip from her foes isn't that she wants to make Equestria a better place and they don't, but that their vision of a better Equestria requires sacrifices she isn't willing to accept, or contains elements she can't condone. And the respect with which even the most monstrous attitudes are treated humanizes the entire conflict; this is one of the most intellectually honest ponyfics I've ever read in terms of how it deals with character motivation."

    The careless, random way the war started is /a huge part of the point of the story/. FoE rejects the simplistic, Tolkienistic view that wars only happen because evil nations attack good nations.

    Tolkien saw World War I. What the hell was that war about? What caused it? No one wanted the war; no one had any objectives other than to make it stop. Yet it kept on going.

    You can't buy books like this in a bookstore. Genre fiction isn't allowed to question conventional morality. Literary fiction isn't allowed to be exciting.

    More at .

    1. Oh, and I wrote a 3300-word FoE story: .

      I don't call FoE, or my story, dark. I call them heroic. Dark stories tell you the world is a bad place and hope is naive.