I like airships in my fantasy stories as a general rule. However, I don’t like dirigibles quite as much. Just something about hanging from a gasbag rubs my sense of aesthetics the wrong way. So I prefer magic or technobabble powered and/or supported airships in my fiction. Which is why I am so glad I came up with a workaround for my pony headcanon. Even though canonical pony airships are of the dirigible type that I vaguely dislike. Anyway, my idea comes from the concept that clouds can be crafted into stone and metal type substances. Cloundstone, cloudsteel, etc. Which means you can, for instance, build an airship frame out of cloudsteel. Just as strong as steel, but light as a cloud. Then you can attached cloudwalk enchantments to other materials to build more conventional bits on top of that.
As I was considering this earlier today I realized that you could build whole airships out of the stuff, but it might not be the best idea. An all cloud ship would be extremely light and maneuverable, but not have nearly the mass or inertia as one with a lower cloud-to-material ratio. Cloudsteel armor plating would be as tough as regular steel, but if the whole ship was clouds then heavy cannons hitting the side would probably shove the whole ship. Wind would have much more affect on an all-cloud ship as well. So there would have to be a whole decision of what type of ship you are building to decide how much or how little of it to be cloudstuff. Almost all airships would have a basic cloudsteel frame to hang everything else on, that providing the basic lighter-than-air lift due to the magic involved. You don’t see clouds with Pegasus ponies on them falling after all so cloudstuff is pretty much circumvents that whole branch of physics of what can stay in the air or not. Oh, and a ship made entirely of clouds would also have extra danger going through heavy storms most likely.
- Suitors by Jay-The-Brony
- The Twilight Enigma by iisaw
A bit on the rough side writing-wise and at the moment not in a frame of mind willing to put up with it. Might give it a try later, but I’ve seen the concept done well elsewhere and nothing in the first chapter made me think this would have anything special or interesting in it.
Huh. I have to say I didn’t like this one as much as the others. In fact, for this trilogy I would have to say that my most liked to least liked list would just be the stories in chronological order. The first one is my favorite and the last one is my least favorite. Not that any of them are bad. Part of it is a matter of focus. The various adventures she mentions in passing in the beginning were more interesting to me than a lot of what actually happened in the story. As a side-note, I don’t think the back and forth really worked. I got confused once or twice which timeframe I was in. Never for more than a paragraph or two, but it was something that would have worked a lot better in a visual medium. As it was, the same basic cast of the mane six on an airship with just the events changing between the timeframes? Not the best choice in my opinion. Whereas I liked the bit of time-jump in The Celestia Code, though I haven’t read the updated version so maybe the non-jumpy version is even better. Who knows.
Anyway, I would have loved to have the majority of the story be Twilight and company going from traders out to see the world to pirates looting the world’s mystical treasures and magical knowledge for the good of the world. That sounds like an awesome story. A pity that story happens between the two timeframes of this story and we only ever get passing references to the most peripheral parts of it. I’m reminded of the ponyfic (Perks by Donraj) which is the aftermath of Twilight Sparkle finding lost treasures by lots of research, then attacking a pirate base to retrieve them. It worked there because it wasn’t the main thematic focus of the story but also because it was the type of very short story that isn’t really a story, just a tiny vignette.
Things I really enjoyed! Fluttershy as airship pilot was adorable and wonderful. Rarity as master duelist was perfect. The action bits that were put in were quite awesome. So lots of good things about the story. Just, as I said, a matter of focus. The first story of the trilogy had a major problem that Twilight was dealing with, along with a slightly less major problem, with both smacking together for the gigantic problem at the end. The second story had world-threatening trouble and a sub-plot that was troubling for the characters personally, then the solving of the big problem turns the sub-plot into a much larger problem. All nicely balanced and with plenty of tension and the like. This story… Eh, I got moments of tension in the action scenes for sure. Yet the big problem at the end was pretty much out of nowhere (more or less) and it lacked the same through-line as the previous stories in how problems combined or entangled each other. This time we just had moderate trouble (airship action scenes), then moderate trouble (Twilight’s kinda/sorta corruption), then big world-ending trouble. None of which really connect or threat together like the previous stories managed.
So, I guess my recommendation is that it is an enjoyable enough story and a decent enough end to the trilogy but it was my least favorite of the three. I will be reading Celestia Code again plenty in the future, and will read again Luna Cypher more than once I bet, but I’m not sure I’ll ever come back to this one unless my OCD kicks in and I just can’t read books 1 and 2 out of a 3 book series. I guess…. This story lacked the feel of epic scope. Even though the end challenge was certainly world-ending in nature, it didn’t feel like it to me while I was reading it.