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Short story discussions > April 2011 Nebula Nominee - PONIES by Kij Johnson

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message 1: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (Tantara) | 1207 comments We have 3 Nebula-nominated stories on our plate for April, so I'm opening up threads for each now. Feel free to read and jump in anytime!

This thread will host discussion of our second April Nebula Nominee, ”Ponies” by Kij Johnson. It was originally published at Tor.com 1/17/10.


message 2: by Chris (new)

Chris I loved this story!


message 3: by Christine (new)

Christine | 513 comments The author most definitely knows young girls!!


message 4: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 128 comments I read this story when it came out, and it creeped me out. Poor ponies.


message 5: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 178 comments A brutal, brutal tale. And, so true.

Wonderful! I often struggle to enjoy short stories, but connected with this right away.


message 6: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 947 comments Mawgojzeta wrote: "A brutal, brutal tale. And, so true.

Wonderful! I often struggle to enjoy short stories, but connected with this right away."


I agree totally. It's like Flannery O'Connor in a cotton-candy fantasyland. Creepy.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard (ThinkingBlueCountingTwo) | 129 comments I'm afraid I just came out thinking these little girls aren't very nice and their ponies aren't very nice either. I truly hope my little girl not yet five manages to steer clear of such foul cliqueyness.
Interesting feel to the world though, very chilling and fluffy at the same time.


message 8: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (Tantara) | 1207 comments Christine wrote: "The author most definitely knows young girls!!"

You echoed my thoughts exactly.

Other thoughts this story brought to the top of my brain: Little girls are subjected to a gauntlet of the most subtle and insidious ritualized peer pressures until they either (1) break and become conformist, meek and submissive or (2) harden to become conformist, cold and cruel. (My inner cynicist thinks these are the two most common types of person.) The only way out is to instigate some form of rebellion, remove yourself from the game by making your own rules. (And that is the third - and best, and least common - sort.)

Gah. I am very glad to be grown. Wild, uh, ponies couldn't drag me back to that battleground, were I somehow given the chance.

I found this to be a great and poignant little story - horrible but excellent. I saw it as a cautionary tale against conformity, as well as a cynical commentary on what happens when one chooses to rebel. Talk about finger on a nerve!


message 9: by Candiss (new)

Candiss (Tantara) | 1207 comments Richard wrote: "...very chilling and fluffy at the same time. "

I think you just succinctly described the world of girlhood, as fashioned by our modern arbiters of Normality. Mattel or Disney or the Bratz people should snap that up as a new slogan/mission statement!

(Wow, I guess it's Cynicism Day in my world.)


message 10: by Nick (new)

Nick (doily) | 947 comments Candiss wrote: "Christine wrote: "The author most definitely knows young girls!!"

You echoed my thoughts exactly.

Other thoughts this story brought to the top of my brain...

I found this to be a great and poignant little story - horrible but excellent. I saw it as a cautionary tale against conformity, as well as a cynical commentary on what happens when one chooses to rebel. "


Nice insights Christine and Candiss. Very well articulated. I found the female aspect of the story gave it --shiver-- a Gothic feel.


message 11: by Shel, Moderator (new)

Shel (shel99) | 1549 comments Mod
Just had a chance to read this, and it rang VERY true. I teach 8th grade and my students are older than the impression I get of the girls in the story, but that same dynamic is definitely there.

It made me very glad I had a boy...


message 12: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I just (finally) read this. It was included in my Hugo voter packet. It's a chilling little story, isn't it? Did anyone here read Kij Johnson's story "Spar" (which won the 2010 Nebula for Best Short Story)? It's one of the most uncomfortable reading experiences I've ever had.


message 13: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 37 comments More disturbing than 'Ponies'? I'm not sure I want to read it. Very good, but depressing & memorable - the stuff nightmares are made out of, especially if you're a parent.


message 14: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta | 178 comments I just read "Spar" (moments ago online). Wow.

I find both the stories equally disturbing. I could also relate to both stories. I would think most of us can, which is a bit sad.

Both are very well written, but not fun to read.


message 15: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 37 comments Could you share the link for 'Spar', please?


message 16: by Mawgojzeta (last edited Jul 07, 2011 07:17AM) (new)

Mawgojzeta | 178 comments http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/johns...

Oh, and Kij Johnson's interview concerning the story is here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/johns...


message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 37 comments Thank you!


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