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3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,139 Ratings  ·  311 Reviews

If you want to be friends with TheOtherGirls, you're going to have to give something up; this is the way it's always been, as long as there have been Ponies.
Kindle Edition, 10 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Tor Books (first published October 17th 2010)
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Jan 11, 2016 Shelby *trains flying monkeys* rated it really liked it
This little short story keeps popping up in my feed where my friends are all reading it. I'm nosey so I head over to to check out what they are reading. You can follow the lemming trail here if you want to read it. (you know you do)

I will say I'm usually kinda meh about short stories. They never give me enough meat to chew and I'm a chubby girl so that usually just makes me kinda ragey. And hungry.

This story kinda mashes together a warped version of My Little Pony and Mean Girls.
Palm Springs commercial photography


Interested? I thought so.

This short story is exactly that - short. But EVER so insightful. It is remarkable how something so short can be so insightful. It will literally take you like 2 seconds to read, but you will not be able to stop thinking about it.

Kids who hurt
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“Why are you here? You’re not OneOfUs. You don’t have a pony.”

Our story begins a little something like this . . .

Okay, maybe not - but sorta. TopGirl is having a pony party and she has invited Tina Barbara to come. Barbara LOVES playing ponies and her pony is just as excited to be invited to go play with TheOtherGirls' ponies. Barbara and her pony know what is expected in order to attend . . .

Palm Springs commercial photography

But realize it's well worth it in ord
WARNING: This 3 page story can cause WRENCHED HEART, EMOTIONAL DEVASTATION and may leave you quivering on the floor like a jello mold in a wind storm.

I read this story back in February on and I STILL can’t stop thinking about it. It absolutely chewed me up. A little girl (Barbara) and her magical pony (Sunny) receive the following invitation from the “IT crowd” of popular girls.
You and your Pony ___[and Sunny’s name is handwritten here, in puffy letters]___ are invited to a cutti
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Review first posted at

In Kij Johnson’s “Ponies,” winner of the 2010 Nebula short story award, all the girls have cute pet Ponies: short, fat, and brightly colored in various rainbow hues. The Ponies have small round-tipped unicorn horns and fluffy little wings, and they can talk.


But to be friends with TheOtherGirls, each girl must bring her Pony to a “cutting-out party” where the Pony must give up two of the three: its horn, its wings, or its voice. Barbara and her Po
May 06, 2015 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nancy by: Stephen
This very short and dark story about a group of girls and beautiful, bright, colorful ponies explores the terrible consequences of not thinking for oneself and reminds me of one of the reasons I hated my childhood. It made me angry, made me sad, and broke my heart. Quite a feat for just 3 pages. Thanks to Stephen for bringing this one to my attention.

This story can be read for free at

Oct 09, 2016 Bonnie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People fond of bloody unicorns?
Shelves: 2011, shorties
Uh ... what the hell did I just read?

This was like Mean Girls and My Little Pony on crack. With unicorns. And bloody body parts. But it's okay, because the blood smells like cotton candy.

..Excuse me, what?

Jan 11, 2016 Licha rated it liked it
Very short but disturbing story about what young girls will do to fit in. The story is sad and mean and made me a bit sick to my stomach after giving it some thought. It also paints the sad picture that no matter how hard you try to fit in, you still never quite fit in. You'll just keep getting asked to do more and more to prove your worth to the group.
Nandakishore Varma
Feb 23, 2016 Nandakishore Varma rated it liked it
A cruel little story. In extremely terse prose and with great economy of words, Kij Johnson makes a devastating statement about conformance and the cruelty of children.

Girls have ponies with wings, horns and vocal chords. The pony has to sacrifice two of its specialities if its girl has to fit in with the group - and many of them gladly do that. Only thing is, there is a fine print to the contract which is not revealed until it's too late.

Children are innately cruel - compassion is a learned vir
Jess ❈Harbinger of Blood-Soaked Rainbows❈
This is a highly disturbing and extremely short story that completely took me by surprise. Seriously. I think I need a day or two to mull over what it is that I just read. Whew.


Ok, two days later and I think I can finally organize my thoughts cohesively enough for a review. I loved this story. And if it had been longer than three pages, it would get a five star from me. This story explores a whole lotta dark stuff here. Mean girls. The loss of innocence. Conformity. Self-i
Jan 14, 2016 Vivian rated it did not like it
Shelves: freebies, online
Hmmm... well think I'm beginning to understand why I really don't fit in.

The story is a godawful, gendered bullshit lacking any subtlety. I never had any of these thoughts as a child. Frankly, being alone is way better than listening to or humoring stupid, which is what these girls are. I'm not depressed or sad after reading this; I find the whole thing serves up exactly what's deserved.

The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself. ~~Rita Mae Brown
May 23, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it

So twisted, so disturbing.
I hate you, mean girls.
Now I will never look at ponies the same way again.

You can find it here
Mar 06, 2011 Flannery rated it really liked it
Ahh, this reminds me of my good ole days as a unicorn slaughterer.

(view spoiler)
(view spoiler)
My little pony, my little pony, I comb and brush her hair...

This is so twisted! What impresses me the most about this short, short story is that it delivers such a bang in so few words. The closest I can come to describing how it made me feel is how I felt after reading Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" -- high praise indeed. Don't miss this one! Story can be found here.
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
Didn't love it. The metaphor was as remarkably un-subtle as a metaphor can possibly be. (I know there is an actual word for un-subtle but it escapes me at the moment.)
Feb 05, 2016 MLE marked it as it-s-not-you-it-s-me
I don't need to re-visit my childhood, and my memories of grade school. It sucked, it's over, and there's no power that could make me go back.


I'm off to think happy thoughts.

Jun 17, 2011 Miriam rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Fascinating and disturbing short story, brilliantly crafted.
Thanks to Nancyfor posting about this one. I would never have known about it otherwise. This story can be read for free at It's a very short read and like Nancy it made me angry and confirmed AGAIN much that I had thought about "fitting in" while growing up and about the nature of "girlfriends" and their groups of friends. It's also a sad reflection of what in general folk do to each other to be eligible join "the group".

Mean Girls comes to mind

Ironic to read this today as earlier this
Mar 07, 2011 Werner rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone tempted to do things to fit into a clique
Recommended to Werner by: My Goodreads friend Jim
This isn't really a book; it's a short story, available online or via an e-reader. Because it's very short (about three pages), I made an exception to my usual practice and read it online. At first glance, it's a story about teen girls, perhaps 14-15, and their pet magical unicorn ponies, cute creatures with wings who can fly and talk. But be warned --there's absolutely nothing cute or heartwarming about it. It's an unsparing look at the lengths people (especially pubescent kids with unformed ...more
Sep 12, 2011 Beth rated it really liked it
I want to cry.

I want to be sick.

I just...

Well, I sort of want to scream at Kij Johnson. Not because "Ponies" is bad but because it's just so good.

It's unbearably good. My stomach actually hurts. And it's so short - my GR friend, Flann, made a comment on my review about, by the time she'd left her comment, I'd have finished. And I had! (Goodreads magic!)

Visceral. It's the best kind of sci-fi, the stuff that is so rare (especially now, to sound like a kids-these-days whiner): it takes what sounds

Shit, what the hell I have just read?! This shit is so realistic and accurate. Actually, how accurate it is scared the hell out of me.

Themes: Betrayal, friendship, wanting to fit in.

Story: Really twisted but a way.
“This is the way it’s always been, as long as there have been Ponies. All ponies have wings. All Ponies have horns. All Ponies can talk. Then all Ponies go to a cutting-out party, and they give up two of the three, because that’s what has to happen if a girl is going to fi
Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

Well that was a gruesome little read.

This is "Mean Girls" meets My Little nightmares.

Like this....:

Sunny is a beautiful pony and Barbara is her bestest friend. However, Barbara wants to be part of TheOtherGirls and as is tradition has to make a choice.

Girls are MEAN!

That cover is wonderful, gruesome and sad. (view spoiler)

Thanks, K
Jillian -always aspiring-
Feb 25, 2011 Jillian -always aspiring- rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Nobody? Anybody? I am left conflicted.
Recommended to Jillian -always aspiring- by: Lyndsey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
What was that?
It's just so... horrible. How can children be so mean? How can ponies be so mean?
The free will is not real.
Ponies makes me think of The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. Why the cruelty?

I know this story got the 2010 Nebula Award for Short story, and it's obviously well-written (therefore the 3 stars)... but I simply hate the gratuitous cruelty (of both the girls and the ponies). Can society actually breed such creatures?

If you wish to read Ponies, you can do so on
Steve Lowe
Mar 07, 2011 Steve Lowe rated it it was amazing
I can see why this is up for a Nebula. Fantastic, dark short about peer pressure, the loss of innocence, about killing the child inside so one can become a proper adult. Stephen King recently wrote an article fearing the short story was dead as a form. Examples such as this one are evidence that perhaps the short story is not dead yet.
After reading this all I can say is was it really necessary to take THREE cookies? Greedy! No wonder bad things happened...


This is a really short short story, and really disturbing. Chock full of cruel girls that I imagine look just like Bratz dolls, massive amounts of product placement for a 3 page story, sacrifice and disillusionment, this story cuts deep for being so little.

Definitely read this one - Ponies can be found here.
3.5 stars

The wing comes off easily, smooth as plastic, and the blood smells like cotton candy at the fair.

Jul 31, 2011 Lightreads rated it liked it
The story is available here. Go read, I'll wait -- it'll take you less than four minutes.

Yeah, I need someone to explain to me what's so brilliant about this. Because it's being talked about like it's this amazing, groundbreaking thing, and I'm reading a controlled and perfectly constructed but ultimately shallow parable about dreams and fitting in.

I mean, it's very well done, obviously -- the archetypal TopGirl and everyoneLikesHerGirl, the cartoonishly nauseating violence. That moment where th
Jun 10, 2011 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anybody should read this. It's like taking a step back into your childhood and the cruel things you either did or had done to you.

Conforming to fit in is clearly not what it's made out to be because once you give in to the peer pressure you're just the girl without a pony who doesn't belong.

And even more alone than you were before.

Because at least before you had a pony.
Wart Hill
Jan 14, 2016 Wart Hill rated it did not like it
Shelves: short-stories
dafuq did I just read?!
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Kij Johnson is an American writer of fantasy. She has worked extensively in publishing: managing editor for Tor Books and Wizards of the Coast/TSR, collections editor for Dark Horse Comics, project manager working on the Microsoft Reader, and managing editor of Real Networks. She is Associate Director for the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, and serves as a ...more
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