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Fanfic / Pony Pals: Dirk Strider Edition

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"Once you turn this page, there's no going back. You'll have entered the world of Detective Pony. God help you."
His revision is a tough, emotionally draining read. But it's cathartic, in all the worst ways possible.
In-universe description of Dirk's edit of Pony Pals, Homestuck

Pony Pals: Dirk Strider Edition is an edited version of the Pony Pals book Detective Pony, by someone under the screen name Sonnetstuck. In Homestuck, Dirk made Jane an edited version of Detective Pony for her 13th birthday, and we get to read the first two pages of it; Sonnetstuck defictionalized that book, taking the entire book and modifying it the same way Dirk did. It follows Anna Harley, Pam Crandal, and the City of Pawnee, Indiana as they find a demonic cat named Minos who they and Anna's godly pony Acorn want to erase from the world. After a long series of events, they meet Jeanne Betancourt and Dirk Strider, and they realize they're fictional characters in a messed-up version of an innocent story that they hope to restore.

The fic project can be found here, as well as reprinted on Archive of Our Own here.

Starting in early 2020, Youtube user Naked Bee began uploading an episodic adaptation using dolls and models, stylistically editing images over the footage to represent Dirk's paste-overs.


  • A Boy and His X: Anna and her pony Acorn.
  • The Alcoholic: All the girls drink a lot, but Pawnee in particular drinks constantly, as a way of dealing with the trauma of her missing father and ontological confusion about whether she's a city or a girl. Usually sorta-Played for Laughs with the catch phrase "She had a serious problem."
  • All Girls Like Ponies
  • Animalistic Abomination: Minos is a high-level demon who merely takes the form of a fecally-incontinent cat and Acorn is immortal and at one point shapeshifts into a lion.
  • Ambiguous Ending: The side story about Brandy and Dr. Crandal ends when they try to shoot each other, but only one gun is loaded; which one is not disclosed.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    The cat weighed heavily in all their minds. Acorn was afraid of it. Pam felt a burning hatred towards it. Anna secretly hoped that it could answer her questions about what had happened to her in that twenty minutes during which she had been dead. Pawnee wanted to learn new cocktail recipes from it. She had a serious problem.
  • Author Avatar: Two of them. Jeanne Betancourt (author of the original Pony Pals) and Dirk Strider (the Homestuck character who modified it).
  • Author Filibuster: The narrative gets derailed a number of times for extensive philosophical digressions on say, the nature of memes.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Dr. Crandal doesn't seem to think very highly of his wife, to say the least.
    "Be careful!” Mrs Crandal yelled to her husband. “USSR-con is in six days, and you’re my ride!”
    But Dr. Crandal, after nineteen and a half years of marriage to this terrible woman, would not have much minded a fiery death at this point.
  • Badass Boast: Anna in Chapter 7:
    “We’re the motherfucking Pony Pals. And we’re here to fuck. Shit. Up.”
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Very much so. In the second half of the story, the Pony Pals meet the people who made the book and realize they're characters in a modified story.
  • Cats Are Mean: Minos is the antagonist of the first half of the story. He loves tormenting the Pony Pals and Acorn. At one point he kills Anna and tells Acorn that he'll bring her back if he lets him take him to hell.
  • Cats Are Snarkers:
    “I think I’m starting to understand what’s really going on here.” Minos got up, and stretched out his front legs in that way that cats do; you know the way, I’m sure. It’s really cute. But this cat wasn’t just being adorable, he was also being a straight dick. “I bow down to you, O Creator,” Minos said sarcastically.
    “Jesus Christ,” Dirk said, rubbing his temples with a thumb and forefinger. “Why did I have to make you such a smartass?”
  • Cats Are Superior: Minos, who was in the original story just a stray cat, is a high-level demon.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Parody: At one point, Dirk fantasizes about a version of the story where psychology is the chocolate factory and he is Charlie.
  • Death Is Cheap:
    • Each time the cat Minos is killed, he comes back to life. It is not known how many lives he has, other than that he has at least five.
    • Anna also dies once but comes back to life a few pages later.
    • Acorn goes to hell to be judged for his sins when he realizes his time has come. He eventually escapes.
  • Deconstruction: One of the main themes of the book. Most of the whole second half is focused on deconstructing the story.
  • invokedDefictionalization: Of Dirk's edit of Detective Pony featured briefly in Homestuck.
  • Disability Superpower: Anna's dyslexia actually turns out to be super powerful, allowing her to pass through books, remember what happened in previous versions, and rearrange the text. For a fictional character, this essentially makes her a Reality Warper.
  • Dude, Not Funny!: Anna says this to Dirk about the Running Gag of Pawnee being a severe alcoholic.
  • Exact Words: The last leg of the story has Jeanne fight Dirk for control of the last page of the book. As we see when the main trio finally gets there, it's not the last page of text, no — it's the Little Apples advertisement page.
  • Garden of Eden: Invoked during the climax. The girls reach the last page, described as essentially their world's Garden of Eden. They find two apples there: the small one, representing the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, would keep things as they are, dooming everyone there. The larger one, representing fruit from the Tree of Life, would reset things to before Dirk messed with the story, but keep them ignorant. They even comment that their meta-consiousness was more like being forced to eat from the Tree of Knowledge rather than making the decision themselves, something they resolve to properly do with their final decision.
  • Genius Loci: Pawnee is simultaneously a girl and an entire city. This fact causes her much pain, and she drinks a lot to try to forget about it.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Intentionally done by Acorn. One section is presented in the form of a Platonic dialogue, where everything people say is presented as a dialogue transcript, but Acorn stubbornly refuses to play along with this format. The section ends like so:
    “Fine!” Minos huffed. “There. No more dialogue. Happy?”
    Acorn: Very.
    “You don’t have to be an asshole about it, Acorn,” Jeanne Betancourt said.
  • I Have Many Names: In the story, Acorn is the identity of many famous ponies, from real life and from mythology. Minos mentions Grani, Liath Macha, Arion, the Darley Arabian, Eclipse, Cincinnati, Traveler, and Xanthos among the names Acorn has identified as.
    • For Minos it's subverted. Acorn thinks he's about to say "I go by many names", but he was actually about to say "I go by Minos".
  • Judgement of the Dead: Minos takes Acorn into the underworld to be judged by himself, Dirk, and Jeanne Betancourt for his many crimes, and sheparded into the hereafter. Minos's name is even a reference to a judge of the dead from Classical Mythology. Of course, this quickly goes off the rails when the girls show up, and spoiler Acorn doesn't die or get a final judgement at all.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Numerous examples.
    • Minos looked solemn; he wasn’t even shitting, which is kind of his character's gimmick, so you could tell he meant business.
    • "I mean, how the fuck can someone even be simultaneously a city and a girl anyway?! It’s literally nonsensical."
    • “It’s so much better to be able to flat-out explain these things,” Jeanne said appreciatively. “No more of that opaque ‘tee-hee, do you get my obscure reference?’ nonsense.”
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Anna says to Dirk's self-insert regarding Dirk (the author of the story rather than the character within Pony Pals): "Does thinking of yourself as a character in a story make you sleep easier at night?"
  • Lemony Narrator: Very much so. Example:
    Pawnee was clutching her head, reeling in shock. Can you blame her? She just got some really fucking heavy news. I think we can all understand if she needs to sit the next few paragraphs out while she deals with this stuff.
  • Meaningful Name: Acorn says he chose his current name because it represents a powerful being who has chosen dormancy (an acorn) but has potential to spring back in even grander form (an oak tree).
  • Metafiction: The whole story is like this.
  • MST: The fic is composed of Dirk's humorous commentary and rewrites of Detective Pony, a real book by Jeanne Bettancourt. Of course, Dirk's narrative quickly overwhelms the source material.
  • Motor Mouth: Dirk's self-insert won't shut up about ancient Greek stuff.
  • Phrase Catcher: "She had a serious problem." for Pawnee.
  • Physical God: Acorn is stated many times to be a god-like pony.
  • Plug 'n' Play Prosthetics: Anna replaces her arm by grafting on a sloth's arm, which takes about a minute and works instantly, with no recovery time.
  • Pony Tale: Played With. The Pony Pals books are prime example of the genre, and the story starts off detailing three girls and their relationship with their ponies, but quickly goes off the rails. Although, in the end, the plot is really about the love between a girl (Anna) and her pony (Acorn) and the two of them overcoming obstacles to be together, a staple of Pony Tales.
  • Postmodernism: Highly metafictional and self-aware. Characters discuss and perform Deconstruction, and attempt to literally kill the author of the story. Dirk also quotes and discusses the ideas of the postmodernist philosopher Derrida.
  • Psychopomp, Minos, who leads Acorn into the realm of the dead to face his fate.
  • Rage Against the Author: Anna despises the story she realized through dyslexia powers that she's trapped in, and berates Dirk for making it.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Acorn is thousands of years old.
  • Retconjuration: Anna uses her dyslexia powers to remove Dirk's overprinting and return the story to the original, innocent story about a girl and her pony.
  • Reversible Roboticizing: Anna loses an arm, and grafts a sloth arm onto herself to replace it, with no recovery time.
  • Robbing the Dead: At one point, Pam loots a sweatshirt from a corpse and plans on using it to smother the cat.
  • Running Gag: Many times, when a complex, uncommon word appears in the narration, a conveniently on-hand character will think "(X) is a good word" either internally or out loud. If it's said out loud, every other character in earshot will unanimously agree.
  • Self-Deprecation: The other characters in the story think of Dirk's self-insert as a pretentious rambly douche.
  • Self-Insert Fic: Dirk eventually inserts himself into the story as a judge of Acorn's fate.
  • Shout-Out: The story is filled with intentionally obscure references to works of fiction. A list of all references can be found here. Later on, these references become a plot point.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The whole story is written like this—just like how Dirk talks.
  • Squee: Dirk's self-insert has something resembling one: he says "Yessss." in the last chapter when Jeanne Betancourt decides to make it a one-on-one dialogue about the book's nature.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: After Betancourt, Minos, and Acorn cast their vote for whether to restore the book to its original form, Dirk, who had previously left the story entirely, abruptly returns to the scene.
  • Talking Animal: Both Acorn and the cat are able to speak English. In early sections of the book this is averted (Acorn was stated not to be able to speak Anna's language), but they eventually communicate just fine with both Dirk and Betancourt. It's also mentioned that Aramaic is the only language Lightning speaks. It's unknown if Lil' Sebastian can talk.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: The cat is killed only to promptly come back to life four times in the story.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!: Done quite often.
    Pawnee took a deep breath and all but shouted: “Who the fuck is my real father?”
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • At one point, Acorn turns into a lion, but Anna only tells him to turn back into a pony. We can only assume she's accustomed to Acorn doing such weird things.
    • Jeanne Betancourt is not weirded out by seeing Acorn speaking English, or seeing the Pony Pals swearing and accusing her of messing everything up.
  • Toilet Humor: Minos the cat is constantly shitting, usually in inconvenient places.
  • Vague Age: Although the Pony Pals are fifth grade students in the original book series, in the modified book they do things that suggest an older age: drinking alcohol, sexual advances, and using lots of profanity.
  • Wham Line: The very end of chapter 8.
    “But why only you?” Dirk asked. “I killed and revived Minos too. Several times. And there were even more that I killed and left dead. What’s special about you?”
    Anna grinned. “I’m dyslexic.”note 
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Nearly happens to Pam's claim of knowing who Pawnee's "real father" is. Dirk lampshades it after Pawnee asks him who her real father is, saying that he "almost forgot about this subplot."