• The Conversion Bureau: One Year Anniversary

    Welcome to the one year anniversary post for The Conversion Bureau!

    On the 23rd of March, 2011, the original story was posted on EqD. It was swiftly joined by several spinoffs, and just grew from there. It may not have been the best story, but what it was, was a fertile playground for writers to weave some of the most intricate and deep stories in the fandom in.

    After the break, we'll delve into some of the history and the backstory of the setting itself, along with some videos and audiobooks. We also have an updated compilation post for you where new stuff is at!
    Read more after the break.

    Sometimes a story gets written that just inspires others to create. The show itself taught us that, so it's hardly surprising that the worlds spawned from it can themselves lead to more amazing stories. The world of the Conversion Bureaus is one such.

    In this post, you'll find some of the videos, songs and audiobooks that have been produced, along with a few of the "founding fics" and the tropes they introduced. You can tl;dr and just check out the links, or read through to find out what it's all about.

    The story is simple, and I won't make too many bones about it. The story is that Equestria rises from the sea. How and why have many interpretations, but the most common is that it's an alien cosmos intruding upon our Earth of the near future.

    Of course, the future is often lacking in sunshine and kittens. Global economic collapse, global environmental collapse, and finally the last revolution - nanotechnology. All these take their toll.

    ...Even in the future, nothing works. The job market collapses, leaving the rich elite to lord it over the rest of us. Sound familiar? Into this melting pot of discontent, instead of bladerunner's replicants, come ponies.

    And they offer something... awesome, terrifying, and alluring. Give up your life as a human, and become a pony. Give up stress for carefree existence, but at what price? Earth is going to be destroyed by these seemingly friendly equines. They're happy, they get along, they live in a perfect world of plenty... but to go there, you have to give up your very humanity.

    Worse, Equestria's expansion will erase everything Human from the planet - and (in some cases) eat the planet itself. Many people won't stand for this, the very idea is repulsive (both within the story and without). Now, plenty of our authors are reluctant to make bad things happen to our little ponies, but for the most part, the Human Liberation Front are believable, as are their fanatically green Equestrian counterpoints, the Ponification for Earth's Rebirth.

    And into this realm comes you, the reader. Maybe you, the writer. For a "silly little story", this is as atavistic as it comes. It allows you to hold a mirror up to mankind, to place it in front of a bonafide fairyland of good and plenty... and Earth often doesn't come off well, especially not the more believable near-futures. It often also ends badly.

    In many cases, mankind makes way for ponykind. In most, to be honest; after all, that's what most of us want to write about. Stories that don't do this are rare, and cherished just as much as the rest.

    Humans do tend to squabble over scarce resources, our universe really is like that - it's not a place of plenty. If there's one lesson to take home, it's that this Earth of ours is the only one we've got. A sound moral lesson.

    As this interview shows, it's a multiverse that makes you think. Amazingly, a year later, Conversion Bureau stories are still being written, read and enjoyed. Funny ones, scary ones, twisted ones, adventurous ones, horriffic ones, and more. Not bad for a story that isn't itself finished.

    Some of these stories are bad, some are good, some are amazing. It's the amazing ones that really do make up some of the best sci-fi/fantasy stories out there.

    Yellowstone is a straight up adventure story set on an Earth that needs to be protected from magical creatures and similar threats, by a team of dedicated ponies and humans. Think stargate meets ponies and magical monsters. It introduced magic-as-radiation.

    Last Man Standing taught us about how the Earth would end, as we follow the story of the last human alive.

    Both were posted on EqD and are well worth your time.

    An Azure Future introduced PER. They'd been around for a while before this fic, but Krass codified them. The Ponification for Earth's Rebirth are Eco-terrorists who will forcefully ponify any stragglers, somewhat in the vein of ten rounds. They act as the foil for the Human Liberation Front, and get into plenty of shenanigans.

    AAF is a fun story about a human with a pony son. And burlap sacks. And wonderbolt pinups. And dressclubs (don't ask -Ed).

    The Humanification Bureau is a turnabout-is-fair-play fic. Written by ezn, it covers how in the dark future of Equestria, ponykind has turned its back on the ideals of friendship and love, and faces the threat of extinction. Their land is corrupted by twisted dark magic, and scarred by countless wars. When a mysterious race of aliens armed with amazing technology arrives in Equestria, ponykind is given another chance at survival. Here, humans are the saviors. This is what we'll be if we survive this century.

    Continuing in that vein, I decided to have a non-TCB story which is nevertheless close to the idea and has been somewhat influenced by it, and redresses the balance. The Glass Salvo covers a zealous Equestria that decides the answer to the bodycount by mankind's wars, is to add to that bodycount.

    Where it's going, I don't know, but ponies as the aggressors is a lot of fun.

    Ten Rounds is another interesting one. In this one, our lovely cuddly pastel ponies are brainwashed zombies sent by a tyrant princess to forcefully convert every human they can, even if they die in the process. This one is great, as it really amps up the body-horror. The converted experience bliss, and are instantly turned into cuddly zealots who just want to show you how much better the world is as a pony. Zombie apocalypse meets My Little Pony.

    But most stories aren't like that, plenty are pretty simple. The first published side-story (on EqD) was my own, Midnight's Tail, (the first written was "Pride"). It's whimsically shameless fun and often... well, the picture is relevant. Still, I enjoyed writing it and it created many of the tropes you'll see, including the conversion dream. You'll also find the infamous r63 cherry potion in two of my other pieces, both of which are still in motion and just as silly.

    There's more on fimfiction in the TCB Group, or of course you could brave my TCB works.
    (I'm a professional shark-jumper, don't try it at home, kids)

    So, where do we go from here? The original stories were escapism, adventure, self-discovery; nothing wrong with that. The newer stories have been very much introspective as well as ripping yarns. Whatever else they are, they make you think - and that's something to appreciate, even if you don't agree with how things play out.

    To finish off this already tl;dr post, here's some reimaginings, different ways the universe could be taken, 7 of them, followed by all of the collected complete works of the single most productive author in the TCB universe, Chatoyance.

    If you've read this far, I hope you've enjoyed. The collection below here are fun, often deep stories. They'll make you think; they may make you mad, but they're worth your time as they do so. I leave them here as a glimpse into another cosmos.

    - Midnight Shadow

    Complete Chapters: 1
    Author: Chatoyance
    DescriptionSet in the Conversion Bureau universe, two young men face the inevitable totality of the expansion of Equestria into our world, and in the decision of one to choose transformation, both must come to an understanding about what is truly important about the meaning of self.
    The first story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series

    Complete Chapters: 5
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: A young woman prepares for Conversion, but there is more she wants to change than merely her physical form. The second story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

    Complete Chapters: 5
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: A Newfoal Earth-Pony Stallion writes from Equestria to tell his still-human best friend about his education there, and how Equestrians live and work. The third story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

    Story: Teacup, Down On The Farm
    Complete Chapters: 11

    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau universe during the years after the last human is gone, Newfoal Teacup faces the fact that however much she tries to fit in, the fact of once having been human must always set her apart. This is the fourth story of the 'Lost In The Herd' series of vignettes about ordinary people caught up in the Conversion Bureau universe.

    Story: 27 Ounces
    Complete Chapters: 12
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: Set in the Conversion Bureau Universe, 27 Ounces is the story of the lives affected by a single Erlenmeyer flask of Conversion Bureau Ponification Serum. Each chapter explores some aspect of humanity lost or kept, and the impact of a reality where changing species is the most important matter ever presented to Mankind.

    Story: The Taste of Grass
    Complete Chapters: 31
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: A direct continuation of '27 Ounces: A Tale of Eight And One Half Ponies', the lives of a family of newfoals from their very first arrival in Equestria is followed. Join Caprice, Alexi, Pumpkin and Buttermilk in their day-to-day lives as they adapt not only to being humans-turned-Equestrian, but struggle to help found a new village in the ever expanding Exponential Lands. This is a story of courage, survival, and the process of bringing a new landscape under proper Equestrian dominion. Starting without weather, shelter, or understanding, these brave newfoal pioneers face daunting odds. Together, they must learn to use the magic of both Equestria and friendship to kickstart the basic functions of Nature itself. From their first attempts to manufacture rain, to the secrets of making winter, we shall follow what the average human immigrant to Equestria would face post Conversion, alone in a new and unsettled frontier.

    StoryCode: Majeste 
    Complete Chapters: 11 
    Author: Chatoyance

    Description: Earth pony, pegasus pony, unicorn; a human entering a Conversion Bureau will end up as one of these three pony forms. But there is a secret provision, to which all Bureaus must adhere utterly, should one unlikely but intolerable transformation somehow occur. The absolute monarch of Equestria fears nothing from the human world. Nothing save this. Lillian Fogarty wanted only to be a simple pony in Equestria. Sought by the combined forces of Earth's corporate government and the might of Equestria itself she finds herself an abomination in both worlds, her survival almost certainly an impossibility.

    Story: Her Last Posession
    Complete Chapters: 1
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: Melanie Zucker rides the maglev to the last Conversion Bureau. No earthly possessions may be taken to Equestria, along the way, Melanie must find a way to shed the last things that hold her to human life, a task less simple than it first appears. Part of 'The Conversion Bureau: Hoofprints On The Beach: Short visions of the last days of Earth'

    Story: PER Equitum
    Complete Chapters: 1
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: The audio transcript of the P.E.R. attack on Worldcorp Distribution Office 83745, Northamerizone, where victim Arnie Neuvo is heard describing the terrorist ponification attack by the rogue group Ponification for the Earth’s Rebirth. Part of 'The Conversion Bureau: Hoofprints On The Beach: Short visions of the last days of Earth'

    Complete Chapters: 19
    Author: Chatoyance
    Description: An ancient manuscript written in Middle English, the only surviving artifact from long lost Earth, may hold the true reason for the emergence of Equestria, the very existence of the Conversion Bureaus, and the deepest secret of Princess Celestia herself. This story is a continuation and expansion of 'The Conversion Bureau: Letters From Home', but it is not necessary to have read that story to enjoy and follow this one.